Court ruling could save $234K in taxpayer money

Published: Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 1:38 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 1:38 p.m.

A seven-year battle between the city of Gainesville and Property Appraiser Ed Crapo was resolved Tuesday, when the property appraiser’s office filed notice it would not appeal a ruling made in favor of the city.

Every year since 2001, the city of Gainesville has challenged taxes the property appraiser levied on a fiber optic network and various Internet equipment owned by the city.

A memo from the City Attorney’s Office estimates the victory will save $234,000 a year in taxpayer money.

But aside from the money, the trial sets a precedent that a municipality entering into the telecommunications field serves a “valid public purpose that should be exempt from taxation,” according to the memo from City Attorney Marion Radson.

In 2005, the same case went before the Florida Supreme Court and in December of that year the justices ruled against the city.

That had been a broad based challenge on the constitutionality of the law allowing taxation on publicly owned telecommunications infrastructure.

However, justices left open the possibility of exemptions to the law.

The city of Gainesville continued to battle and Tuesday won a specific case before Alachua County Circuit Court Judge Robert E. Roundtree, Jr., who ruled that the city’s decision to enter into the telecommunications market served a public purpose, Radson said in his memo.

Contact Megan Rolland at 338-3104 or

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