January 29, 2022

Beyond Going Long

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A big battle for land is where US Steel stands.  Real estate tax - regions - news

A big battle for land is where US Steel stands. Real estate tax – regions – news

Kosice has been arguing with the village of Sokocane for more than 24 years. These are the lands on which the former eastern Slovak ironworks were built.

At the end of last year, the Constitutional Court approved the constitutional complaint of the city of Kosice. Thus, he overturned the ruling of the Supreme Court from November 2020, according to which the disputed land under the premises of the current US company US Steel no longer belongs to Košice cadastre, but belongs to the municipality of Sokoľany in the Košice-Okolie region.

The Second Circuit of the Constitutional Court, headed by President Peter Molnar and Justices Jana Lachakova and Zubush Segetti, has also returned the entire dispute to the Supreme Court for further action. Since the administration of the administrative judiciary has been transferred to the Supreme Administrative Court as of August 1, 2021, further actions will be taken by him.

Kosice thinks

At the end of last year, the Cadastral Office, at the request of the city of Kosice and the decision of the Constitutional Court, registered this area of ​​​​700 hectares in the land registry of the city’s iron works. This has been the case since the beginning of this year until the moment a valid decision on the boundary between Kosice and the village of Sokočani was made by the property tax official.

The mayor of Kosice, Jaroslav Polachek, says the Constitutional Court has the same position as it did in 2017. “We believe that the Supreme Administrative Court will share its arguments in the future,” he continues. The city wants to use the money for more investments in projects that will improve the quality of life for the city’s residents.

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According to the legal representative of the city of Kosice, Jan Toker, the decision of the Constitutional Court gives the city a great opportunity because the land under the factory buildings definitely belongs to the land registry and does not have to rewrite the boundaries again.

“In our view, it is of paramount importance for the Constitutional Court to assess the Supreme Court’s actions as arbitrary and incorrect, giving clear reasons for the decision on how to proceed with the following proceedings,” the lawyer explains. The Supreme Administrative Court will uphold the decision in favor of the city of Kosice.

The Supreme Administrative Court’s decision will make it clear to whom US Steel and its subsidiaries, as well as other taxpayers who run their ironworks business, must pay property tax each year.

Thus Kosice will receive an additional revenue of approximately 2 million euros per year, and in the case of the municipality of Sokočani, about 700,000 euros.

Since the beginning of the dispute, US Steel has not commented on it or commented on it. However, the difference is whether they pay tax on the disputed land to the municipality or city, which is roughly three times as much.

Community lawyers say it’s premature

Sokolyan Mayor František Berigshazy did not respond to the recent decision of the Constitutional Court himself. However, we have received an opinion from the Košice Law Office Juristi, which represents the municipality in the dispute.

“The Constitutional Court ruling, which overturned the Supreme Court ruling in November 2020 and returned the case to the Supreme Administrative Court for further actions and decisions, blames the Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic for errors in its procedural procedures. However, this does not prejudge how it will decide by the Supreme Administrative Court on the merits. The office’s reaction was that the Constitutional Court of the Slovak Republic did not have the power to impose on the court how it should decide. According to the village lawyer, Kosice looks forward to it. “We still believe that from a legal point of view, The disputed land belongs to the Sokocani municipality,” they claimed.

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The law firm notes that during the more than 24 year-old dispute, a final decision valid in major proceedings has been rendered three times and upheld by the Supreme Court. And always in favor of the municipality of Sokočani, and not once in favor of the city of Kosice.

The law firm notes that “both previous decisions of the Supreme Court were invalidated by the Constitutional Court and returned for further procedures and decisions, but the Supreme Court always ruled in favor of the Sokochane municipality.”

The fatwa also stated that there was “a reasonable suspicion that the transfer of disputed land in the cadastre of real estate from the village of Sokočani to the city of Košice at the end of 2021, carried out by the Košice District Office, violated the law.” To investigate the entire text.

The “bearded” controversy

  • The decision to annex part of the cadastral lands of the former Kosice-Vidic district to the city of Kosice was made in 1979 by the former National Committee of the Kosice Vidic District, and later by the former Regional National Committee for the construction of Východoslovenské železárny. Sokočani, who were then part of the village of Hutníky, later argued that this occurred without the consent of the respective municipalities.
  • The lawsuit itself dates back to 1997, when the municipality of Sokochane, on the basis of the redemption provisions of the Survey Law, submitted a proposal to change the cadastral boundaries and requested the division of an area of ​​approximately 700 hectares. . Several decisions have already been issued in the case, both at the level of the administrative body and the courts. Initially, a total of 14 municipalities applied for land belonging to the plant, with the exception of Sokolyan, the others waived.
  • The Survey Department of the Košice-Okoli District Office transferred the land to the municipality of Sokočani, but the city of Košice challenged this decision in court. According to the judgment of the Košice Regional Court from 2019, the municipality of Hutníky agreed in 1979 to the territorial changes, so the affected area belongs to the cadastral Košice. The Sokocani municipality has appealed the decision.
  • At the beginning of November 2020, the Supreme Court suspended the land for the third time in the village of Sokochane. The mayor of the village, František Peregsze, stated at that time that all citizens and members of the municipal council were convinced that their ancestral lands, previously cultivated and on which US Steel is now located, belong to the Sokolian cadastral district. “It is difficult to understand that a city 13 kilometers away is constantly asking for constitutional complaints about rights that are not legally or morally entitled,” he said. The village wanted to use the money to complete the sewage system, repair municipal roads and sidewalks, or build a gym.
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