Crawford Man Says Lived-In Sheds Should Be Taxed as Homes

7:05 PM, Mar 18, 2013   |    comments
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One Crawford County man believes some of his neighbors aren't paying their fair share of taxes.

Eddie Still says they are avoiding paying the full amount of property taxes by living in storage buildings.

Pointing to pictures taken by the tax assessor's office, Still said, "These are just the ones they found currently. There could be more out there."

Still said right now, he knows of six storage buildings he believes the owner's call home.

He said, "They have all the amenities of home. They have air conditioning and everything else."

The pictures show a fancy front porch and carport on one, heating and air on most, plumbing on some and upgrades on others.

Pointing to one picture, Still said, "It has a dish, and this one also has an outdoor shower."

He says property records show they're being taxed as cabanas or guest houses.

If they're being used as primary residences, they should be taxed at the higher rate on homes.

Still said, "I know the economy is bad and everything, but it's not fair to the rest of the taxpayers in the county."

Crawford County manager Pat Kelly says they are aware of the issue. They've looked into it, but the question for him is: "What can they do about it?"

Kelly said, "We have gone to the property owners and asked whether they are living in it. The individuals say they are not. We're kind of stuck there."

He said it's not a violation to attach plumbing or electricity to them with permits. It's only a problem if people live in them full-time, and proving that would be difficult.

Kelly said, "That's a tough job for a small county with limited resources."

According to his calculations, it would not be cost effective. He says if the county labeled them homes instead of sheds, the net gain would be less than $200 each.

Kelly said, "It would be difficult to explain why were spending thousands to collect hundreds."

Still plans to take his complaints to the county commissioners meeting Tuesday nigh at 7 p.m.

Kelly said when people apply for storage building permits, the county already requires them to certify that the building will not be used as a primary residence. He said they put that measure in place last year, when complaints about this issue started coming in.

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