Sp Board-Counsel

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 23, 2012

SP board tables hire of counsel

By Rupert Howell

South Panola trustees tabled a recommendation from attorney Colmon Mitchell to join with other entities who are hiring bankruptcy attorneys to protect their interest in property taxes due from LS Power Company which has claimed Chapter 11 reorganization bankruptcy in Delaware.

Mitchell’s firm also represents the City Batesville who is joining with Panola County and Panola Partnership — all who receive revenue in the form of taxes or other agreements from the power generating company.

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The vote was taken with Trustee board president Sandra Darby out of the room as she is employed at the power-producing company. Vice-President Jerry Cooley presided during the vote, which was unanimous.

Most vocal was trustee Buddy Gray who questioned why property taxes would not be considered similar to secured debt, similar to  bankruptcy procedures he has witnessed in his line of business.

Superintendent Shaffer questioned if the school district and county government would not have the same interest while the school district has no taxing authority, but does receive funds raised from tax dollars through county tax collections.

Local governments are owed approximately $4.5 million in past due taxes, of which $1.8 million is for the school.

Panola Partnership’s monthly payment from LS Power that totals over $300,000 per year continues to be paid with monthly payments the first of each month according to Darby.

Panola County’s share of the unpaid tax is slightly larger than the $1.8 million owed the schools.