KINGMAN — Mohave County supervisors will get an update Monday on the ongoing tax case regarding the Aria litigation.
The supervisors will meet in executive session to get an update on the 2016 case involving property owners in a triangle-shaped area of land east of the Colorado River near Fort Mojave tribal land.
The 130-acre parcel of land became known as the Disputed Triangle. Before Hoover and Davis dams were built, the Colorado River often would change course, shifting the boundaries of the land.
The U.S. vs Aria federal lawsuit, filed in 1994 on behalf of the Fort Mojave tribe, which asserted ownership, demanded eviction and sought $13.8 million. The land owners could not use or sell their land until the lawsuit was settled, claiming that those restrictions made the land essentially worthless.
The property owners won the lawsuit in 2009 and the county requested back taxes from 1994 to 2009. The property owners asked the state legislature for tax relief, which resulted in a state House bill HB-2178 that passed in 2012. The legislation required the county to forgive taxes or refund more than $450,000 in property taxes to qualified property owners in the triangle.
Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne issued an opinion in July 2013 that HB 2178 was unconstitutional and invalid. The AG’s office found HB 2178 to be an “unconstitutional special law and thus invalid because it arbitrarily confers tax benefits on a handful of landowners while depriving similar benefits to past, present and future landowners thrust into identical circumstances.”
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Dean M. Fink upheld that ruling in May 2014. Several property owners went back to the state legislature for tax relief for the years the federal lawsuit was litigated.
The board of supervisors will meet at 9:30 a.m. Monday at the county administration building at 700 W. Beale St. in Kingman.