Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Cell tower property tax still unpaid

Cell tower companies are continuing to show Montgomery County and the Board of Education "who's boss" by not bothering to pay thousands of dollars of property taxes for towers located on land owned by the Montgomery County Board of Education.   Even though some of the taxes are several years overdue, the Board of Education has not terminated the leases and the county government has not foreclosed on the towers.

Just a couple of the absconders are listed below.

Unpaid taxes for cell site at Wheaton High School - Clear Wireless

Unpaid taxes for cell site at Tilden Middle School - Tower Co.

Meanwhile, on June 9, the county will be selling liens against substantially all other residential and commercial properties that are just six months overdue in paying their taxes, which will eventually lead to the loss of ownership of these homes.


  1. How can we justify leaving money on the table? According to prepackaged responses, from Politicians, we can't afford anything! Well if we go after the corporations that owe us money I'd be willing to bet we can fully fund nearly every request made to MCPS, and Montgomery County.

    This is totally unacceptable. There's also other corporate violators that's not being held accountable. We can not afford to conveniently forget to ask our "friends" to pay up.

    When will the people get mad? I'm realizing that the most important endorsements will come on the last day of the election cycle. That's the endorsement of the residents.

    By the time residents are able to endorse a candidate most of the candidates have already pledged their allegiance to corporate entities.

    It's not fair, and we demand better.

    (At least we should demand better.)

    -Jeffrey O. Thames, Sr.

    What if my taxes are not paid on time?
    Annual tax bills and the first installment of semi-annual bills are due on or before September 30th and become delinquent on October 1st. The second semi-annual installment is due December 31st and becomes delinquent January 1st. Delinquent tax bills are subject to interest and penalty at the rate of 1 2/3% (1.667 per month on the unpaid balance) per month until paid in full. The total late charge is 20% annually as set by Resolution following County Council action, and which is composed of 8% interest and 12% penalty. Interest and penalty are calculated on the net amount of the bill, after any credits are applied. Delinquent taxes will result in the sale of the property tax lien through a public tax lien sale on the second Monday in June of the subsequent calendar year. Taxpayers receive a delinquency or tax lien sale notice in April. Accounts eligible for the tax lien sale are listed for four consecutive weeks preceding the tax lien sale in a Montgomery County newspaper and are subject to a $50 advertising fee. Property tax accounts taken to tax lien sale may be subject to additional legal costs that are incurred by the new tax lien certificate holder.

  3. Note: Comcast signed a lease with MCPS in 2003 and was successfully able to hide on this public school property and avoid paying ANY property taxes until Louis Wilen of the Parents' Coalition successfully lobbied the State to assign tax ids to cell towers on MCPS property. However, State law only allows the State to collect 3 years of retroactive taxes, so the property taxes from 2003 - 2008 will never be paid. Those dollars have been lost forever because of negligence by the Board of Education in allowing public school land to be used by cell tower vendors without payment of property taxes.

    Sweet deal for the cell tower vendors.

    Not so sweet for citizens.

  4. The question is, Who are "THEY?" As far as the second tax evader is concerned "Tilden Middle School - Tower Co" (BOE c/o Tower Co). This is associated with several companies all represented at 6905 Rockledge Drive, Suite 100, Bethesda, MD and appears to be a "Resident Agent" providing legal services (not the actual company). "Tower Co. goes by many names. Tower Co. is no longer a company registered to do business in the state of Maryland. The real company name is APC Realty and is associated with Sprint. I believe the reason these deadbeats don't pay their fair share of taxes is because of the way the lease agreements are being written (contracts are between Montgomery County and cell tower front companies. On the tax bill, it says BOE c/o Tower Co. If Tower/APC/Sprint don't pay, the tax bill falls back to BOE, in other words, MCPS, in other words, Montgomery County, in other words, YOU. Worse yet, if there is ever an unfortunate accident, where a student is injured or killed due to a cell tower installation, the contracts, paper trail and assigned "corporate responsibilities" would make it virtually impossible to sue. Needless to say, wireless providers, cell tower facilities companies, cell tower facilitators (like Milestone Communications) and all of their attorneys give BIG BUCKS to our elected officials and candidates (Duncan, Leggett, Floreen, etc.) to get these super sweetheart deals at taxpayer expense and citizen peril.

    1. At anonymous 11:18AM The reason these cell tower vendors weren't paying property taxes is because they were hiding on public school land. You are correct, the Board of Education didn't require them to pay property taxes and allowed them to hid for YEARS! It was only when Louis Wilen reported these towers to the State that tax ids were FINALLY issued. But, by then many years of no tax bills had passed.

      Who wants to add up the LOST property tax revenue from cell towers hiding on public school land?

      These private companies were flat out hiding on public school land with the consent of the Montgomery County Board of Education.

      Make sure to thank the BOE at election time.

    2. Here's an example of an APC Realty lease (license agreement) with Montgomery County regarding a cell tower in Damascus, MD (not on school property):


      There's nothing in it about paying property taxes in this agreement.

      And where in the world are all these "Licensing fees going?"

      Also, check out:


      Page 56: Listing of antenna sites and owners

      Page 34 listing of license payment amounts

      Page 20: 3.17 TAX SALE PROPERTY -Property acquired by the County as a result of non-payment of taxes. [Maybe the County could enforce this rule]

  5. Shocking ! Where is the press?
    When will parents wake up.

    1. Since it lacks shock and awe, it is not newsworthy for the press.
      The parents are mesmerized by the lofty goals administration.


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