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Locked gates a problem for W.Va. county assessor

October 08, 2004|by TRISH RUDDER/Staff Writer

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - Morgan County Assessor John Allen Swaim said Thursday he recently discovered a house in the county that received a building permit in 1996, but was never assessed.

Swaim asked the Morgan County Commission at its Thursday morning meeting if he should charge the property owners back taxes from 1996 to the present.

Swaim said the property was behind a locked gate and a No Trespassing sign prevented personnel from getting in previously. He said when he went there recently, the gate was open and a neighbor let him on to the property.

The house is in Sideling Heights Subdivision in the Cacapon District near Paw Paw, W.Va., Swaim said. He said he also discovered another house there that is being built without a building permit.

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Swaim said the commission needs to address "these locked gates because they are a problem."

Morgan County Commission President Glen Stotler said the assessor needs to have the right to enter such gated communities.

Stotler said the commission will ask the Morgan County Planning Commission to adopt an ordinance to provide access for the tax assessors and submit it to the county commission for approval.

Stotler said that the Morgan County Assessor should charge the property owner back taxes from 1996.

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