The issue stems from the school district’s ability to collect taxes on the property at 14740 Lakewood Heights Boulevard.
The city owns the property, but leases it for $75,000 per year to Ice Land USA. Once the city relinquished control of the property in 2008, it became taxable by the school district.
However, going back to 2009, there has been some disagreement about the fair-market value of the land. The Cuyahoga County Fiscal Office had the property valued at $3.7 million from 2009 to 2011.
Complaints were filed with the county’s board of revision to lower the value to around $1 million per year.
Then, the school board filed a counter-complaint.
In the end, the city, the schools and Ice Land USA agreed to establish the fair-market value of the property at $1.35 million from 2009 through 2014.
The board of education was expected to OK the agreement at its meeting on Monday night.
School officials did not immediately return calls seeking comment on the story.
Also included in the settlement agreement, Ice Land USA will also provide Lakewood High School’s hockey team with free ice time “at the average number of hours that the hockey team used during the 2010-11 school year” through the 2014-15 school year.
The facility will also provide the school district with four separate “parent/student/school board employee events” of two- to three-hour skating parties at “reasonably mutually acceptable dates.”
Kevin Butler, the city’s law director, said that Ice Land USA is responsible for paying the property taxes — not the city.
“Whatever the schools and the tenant agree with, we’re OK with it,” he said. “Winterhurst is such a unique property that it’s got to be difficult to put a value on the property. You’ve also got to take into account the structure, the land, the location and the fact that it’s an ice rink.”
Lakewood City Council OK’d the agreement at its last meeting.
The school district, which used to own the facility, turned it over to the city in June 1996.
The city lost money in the venture — to the tune of about $1.55 million from 2004 to 2007 — and used money from the city’s general fund to balance the budget.
Ice Land USA took over the property in 2009, and the company immediately invested $1 million in improvements in the property.