WINFIELD, W.Va. -- After West Virginia Steel Corp. paid thousands of dollars in back taxes, Putnam County commissioners agreed Tuesday to give the company -- which promises to expand -- another tax break.
Decades ago, commissioners approved a pilot agreement with the Poca business, allowing a 25-year tax break on real property, according to County Attorney Jennifer Scragg Karr. The county owned the land during that time.
When the deal ended in 2006, the land was given back to the company, which was supposed to begin paying taxes.
However, the Putnam sheriff's tax office was mailing the company's tax invoices to an incorrect post office box in Winfield, and getting back the unopened mail.
Karr said West Virginia Steel also never received the deed returning the property to the company.
She said the sheriff's tax office gets addresses from the county assessor's office. "There's an obligation to pay taxes whether you get a tax ticket or not," she said.
Karr said she realized the error when another company's attorney, who had purchased the lien on West Virginia Steel, called her.
"They asked if we were interested in redeeming the property," Karr said.
After the error was discovered, she said, West Virginia Steel "was hit with a three-year tax bill at once."
On Tuesday, commissioners agreed to extend the company's tax break on real property for two years after Andrew Ellis, the company's attorney, told them the company planned to expand and eventually add 40 more jobs.