Taxes protested over school closure
Published: Thursday, May 16th, 2013
A landowner in the Spring Creek area is protesting the taxes he just paid to Custer County over his disgust with a local branch of government. However, it’s not the county he has the beef with.
Richard Rausch came before the Custer County Commission at its regular meeting May 8 to say he was protesting his taxes due to the closing of Spring Creek School.
“That’s all we have down there,” he said. “That’s our community.”
Rausch said the school has never been a burden on county taxpayers and pays for itself. He said he felt his only recourse was to protest his taxes and tie them up, hoping to send a message while possibly costing the county and Custer School District some money, while acknowledging the county commission has no control over what the school board does.
“It’s my way of making a statement,” he said.
When Rausch paid his taxes, a note was made that he was doing it under protest. Eventually, he will have to file formal action, which will require him to get an attorney. The action will then go to the courts, at which time the county will have to enter the fray with its own lawyer, Tracy Kelley, to defend the county.
“Why spend our tax dollars on something like this? It’s a shame it has to be this way,” Rausch said.
Commissioner Jim Lintz said he, too, has a problem with the situation, saying the people of Spring Creek get taxed but get no service, and that he resents that the school board—on which his son Brian has a seat—won’t even revisit the subject.
“They believe it’s a dead issue,” he said.
If it goes that far, the court will decide whether or not Rausch was properly taxed. The courts could decide that since there is no school in the area, Rausch has been overtaxed and rule in his favor. Kelley said she knows of no case law for this type of circumstance.
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