Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Milestone Won't Pay Property Taxes on Cell Towers - Board Responds to Parents' Coalition

Why should Milestone Communications cell towers pay property taxes in Maryland?  
(Remember, this is the Doug Duncan "no brainer" deal.)

Well, it's only a Maryland regulation! 
But, who needs tax regulations?  Apparently not the Anne Arundel County Board of Education. 

Today, the Anne Arundel County Board of Education discussed the placement of a Milestone Communications cell tower on the Magothy River and Severn River Middle Schools site.  Listen to the discussion in the video below.
  • First, you will hear a Anne Arundel Board member state that there is a federal "obligation" that cell towers be built on public school playgrounds (minute 6 of video).  Really? Exactly what federal law says that?
  • Second, you will hear the Anne Arundel Board members discuss an e-mail from the Parents' Coalition of Montgomery County, MD (minute 9 of video, Parents' Coalition mentioned at 11:30 of video) alerting them to the fact that the one cell tower already in operation in their county at Broadneck High School does not have a tax account id number and is not paying property taxes.  A Milestone Communications representative is sitting right at the table in front of the Board while they discuss this issue.  Listen as the school administrators and Milestone Communications representative waive away any responsibility for paying property taxes on cell towers located on public school land.  It's only property taxes.  Who cares if Milestone Communications doesn't pay the property taxes on their for-profit cell towers?  


  1. It is the Koolaide.

  2. "requires' or "encourages" that public landholders participate in this national communication system. what a flip flop. What a mess.

  3. How magnanimous (and stupid) of Deborah Ritchie to on behalf of the BOE state that the schools as landowners would pay the property taxes on the towers. Hope that's not what's in the lease(s) signed.

  4. As far as property taxes for the tower land, their response makes sense to me: why would the renter of land be charged property tax? What is an example of such taxation occurring?

    1. An example? Cell towers built on public school land.

      Do you pay your taxes based on what makes sense to you or what the law requires?

      Cell towers on Montgomery County Board of Education land pay property taxes. They have been assigned tax accounts and are assessed under the State regulations.

      Cell towers are commercial, for-profit companies building on tax-exempt public school land. You think that the cell tower companies should get to skip out on their property taxes just because they are hiding on public school land? The State of Maryland doesn't agree with that position and has covered this situation in the Maryland tax regulations.

      Cell tower companies have accomplished this dodge in the past by using the tax account id of the public school on their permitting applications. Public schools have tax exempt account ids.

    2. Imagine this:
      A cell tower is on the playground of your neighborhood school. The Board of Education is billed for the property taxes. They don't pay. Your neighborhood school is sold at a tax auction.
      Does that make sense?

  5. Definition of 'Triple Net Lease'

    A lease agreement that designates the lessee (the tenant) as being solely responsible for all of the costs relating to the asset being leased in addition to the rent fee applied under the lease. The structure of this type of lease requires the lessee to pay for net real estate taxes on the leased asset, net building insurance and net common area maintenance. The lessee has to pay the net amount of three types of costs, which how this term got its name.

    1. But, if they pay all those costs in this case it's less revenue for the Board of Education, right? So there is no incentive for the BOE to make sure they are paying their property taxes.


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