Back in June, it was decided that the Mohegan Sun Pocono would be paying more than $223,000 in additional funds for annual taxes after the casino property was reappraised with a value at more than $150 million. The previous appraisal value from a 2007 assessment had the property at $113,714,860 while the new estimate has the property at a value of $152,529,300.
The Mohegan Sun Pocono filed paperwork last week with district paperwork to be filed by Ray Wendolowski, the Wilkes-Barre Area School District Solicitor, on Monday. The outcome of the filings would be a non-jury trial, where a judge would assess the property value. According to information from Wendolowski, appeals such as these are usually settled without a trial.
The issue is the assessed value of the gaming venue and buildings related to the business. This would include the new addition of a hotel and convention center. In the past, Downs Racing LP was able to reach a deal with the tax regulators; the casino would pay a flat fee every year, an amount that was unconnected to property improvements.
The gaming venue paid a total of $2.9 million to three bodies involved in property taxing; the school district, the county and Plains Township. The majority of the money, $2.01 million, went to the school district. However, this deal would expire by the end of 2015 and a new assessmed value was calculated by Luzerne County which came in at $152.5 million. This would push the property taxes up to $3.71 million.
Both the casino owners and the district filed an appeal against the decision, with the owners saying the amount is too high and the district claiming the amount is too low. By October, the appeal had come before the Luzerne County Board of Tax Assessment Appeals. Both sides of the matter would ask the board to deny the appeals, which would send the case to court rather than being discussed by the board.
Once paperwork is filed, each side will need to hire an appraiser and have a market value prepared on the property. The Mohegan Sun has already done so but the appraised value has not been made public. The district plans on hiring an appraiser soon.