Board OKs tax compromise

November 10, 2016 GMT

KINGMAN — The county supervisors on Monday approved a compromise for taxes affected by the Aria litigation.

Following a meeting in closed session, the supervisors approved a compromise in the property tax case involving about 10 property owners in a triangular area of land east of the Colorado River near Fort Mojave tribal land. Details of the compromise were not given since the issue is still being resolved.

The 130-acre parcel of land became known as the Disputed Triangle. Before the dams on the Colorado River were built, the river would often change course, shifting the boundaries of the land.

The U.S. v. Aria federal lawsuit was filed in 1994 on behalf of the Fort Mohave tribe, which asserted ownership. The tribe demanded eviction and sought $13.8 million. The land owners could not use or sell their land until the lawsuit was settled.

The property owners won the federal lawsuit in 2009 and the county requested back taxes from 1994 to 2009. The property owners asked the state legislature for tax relief, which resulted in a bill that passed in 2012. The legislation required the county to forgive taxes or refund more than $450,000 in property taxes to qualified property owners in the triangle.

However, a Maricopa County Superior Court judge ruled in May 2014, and former Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne issued an opinion in July 2013, that the legislation, HB2178, was unconstitutional and invalid.