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Published: Wednesday, 10/20/2004

Bedford Township, schools to repay tax funds

TEMPERANCE - Bedford Township likely will have to return about $23,000 in overcharged taxes, and Bedford Public Schools about $170,000 to natural gas utility Aquila as the result of a state settlement involving the Michigan Tax Tribunal and scores of municipalities across the state.

The refunds cover small portions of the last six years of property taxes paid by the utility.

The amounts reflect a settlement agreement between the state and the utility that is likely to force a number of cash-strapped school districts and local governments to issue refund checks in coming months.

Township board members last night agreed in principle to participate in the joint settlement agreement rather than defend a potential lawsuit from Aquila on its own over incorrect depreciation tables for the utility's assets that Michigan officials formulated years ago.

A final vote on the settlement was delayed until board members could determine whether Bedford Public Schools wanted to mount its own defense or pay the $170,000 refund.

Still, the notion of having to pay a settlement in a case they didn't actively participate in irritated some township board members..

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