By: Tammy Curtis, Managing Editor
A second lawsuit has been filed in Sharp County Circuit Court against Ozark Acres Suburban Improvement District. This time, the suit also includes other parties in the “Petition for Writ of Mandamus” which means an order requesting a court to an inferior government official ordering the government official to properly fulfill their official duties or correct an abuse of discretion. In this case to prevent the named parties from illegally exacting taxes through further levies after the assessment of benefits have been exhausted. The case further states “to prevent the misappropriation of public funds and for the recovery of an illegal funds exaction, wrongly paid to public officials for law enforcement services and to compel various government officials to perform an act or omit to do an act where such performance or omission is enjoined by law.”
The case, filed on Oct. 3 by Heidi and Joseph Hall is a class action suit and names Ozark Acres Road And Street, Recreational, Fire And Ambulance Service, Suburban Improvement District No. 1, Board Of Commissioners, Sharp County Judge Gene Moore, Sharp County Collector Charlotte Ratllff, Sharp County Clerk Alisa Black, Sharp County Sheriff Mark Counts and Arkansas Department of Transportation.
The Hall’s waited until after the first suit was filed to ensure the SID was planning to further exact the taxes despite other lawsuits against SIDs having already been won in regard to the exaction.
Based on a public notice published in The Villager, a Fulton County Arkansas newspaper having general circulation in the district, on Sept. 28, 2022 Ozark Acres Road and Street, Recreational, Fire and Ambulance Service, Suburban Improvement District No. 1 entered an order levying an annual operation and maintenance tax to be collected in 2023 and levied in the amount of $351,959.52; noting total assessed benefits to all parcels of real property in the District amount to $4,399,494.00; this levy of tax is for eight percent of the assessed benefits to be levied in a single year; the amount of assessed benefits increased $3,960,916.97 without notice by certified letter to each owner and no notice was published in newspaper published and having a general circulation in the county and the reassessment was never heard by the commissioners and the assessor of the district, leaving property owners no due process to contest the reassessments of benefits; and the Board Of Commissioners knew full well the Assessment of Benefits had been exhausted. The suit goes on to allege all entities involved were fully aware of the exactions by virtue or publication.
The Halls also reference the first case in the 343 page document and its difference in regard to when the filer was aware the illegal exaction was made.
This suit also has much more information regarding the entities named within the suit but overall requests the tax to cease to be collected.