In the year-and-a-half that Armettia Peach owned 9 Briarcliff Dr. in Granite City, she never paid a penny for property tax.
Even though she should have paid, apparently Peach did not cheat. She was spared by a loophole.
Granite City, which once owned the property and qualified for tax exempt status, bungled efforts to relieve itself of unnecessarily paying taxes on the property. And once it did achieve tax exempt status, the city failed to file the appropriate documents with the Illinois Department of Revenue to put it back on the tax rolls in time to recover taxes owed during Peach's ownership.
Since Peach no longer owns the house, the county cannot recover from her.
Five years ago the home belonged to a woman who bought it through the "$1 Buy" program of the the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
If the city would have asked for an exemption, the llinois Department of Revenue should have approved it.
The city did not inform the Illinois Department of Revenue that it no longer owned the property.
In the meantime, city's application for exemption slowly advanced through the bureaucracy.
The error was spotted in the course of Madison County's quadrennial reassessment. The STEX code came off.
Madison County Board of Review chairman Kerry Miller said reassessments turned up 20 properties that paid no tax for 2003 due to mistakes.
Granite City would qualify for a refund if it asked for one, according to Miller. He said the exemption applied to the entire time the city owned the property.
Records of the county treasurer show the city has not asked.
Peach sold the house last October to a corporation that sold it in December. New owner Laurie Selph will receive a 2004 property tax bill.