- Associated Press - Thursday, August 10, 2017

CAVE SPRINGS, Ark. (AP) - Cave Springs is planning to refund about $242,000 to property owners after local officials decided not to appeal a judge’s decision that barred the northwest Arkansas city from collecting money from 2016 property taxes.

The City Council voted Tuesday night to accept the recent ruling by Benton County Judge Barry Moehring. The decision means the city has lost almost $400,000. City attorney Justin Eichmann said that’s almost a quarter of the city’s annual budget.

Eichmann and county attorney George Spence said the next step for the refund will be getting a formal order outlining the process.

Eichmann said all of the money collected as property taxes by the city will be returned to residents. He said the order should take about a week to process, but the refund could take months.

The Benton County assessor discovered in March that Cave Springs had issued a millage tax rate from 2015 instead of one from 2016. Moehring said the city isn’t allowed to get its portion of property taxes because it didn’t certify the 2016 rate.

Benton County sent the city more than $10,900 in 2016 payments before the error was found. According to the collector’s office, a total of $242,143 was obtained through July 31.

City Councilman Randall Noblett said the city has already made budget cuts in response to the loss of money.

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