Pinellas commissioners to staff: Pay back taxes owed to Pasco Co.

Clearwater, Florida ---Pinellas County commissioners are forcing the county to pay the back taxes that 10 Investigates discovered it owes to Pasco County.

The taxes are owed on the Cross Bar Ranch, which has well fields that help supply water to the area. The ranch is owned by Pinellas County, but it is located in North Pasco County, and that's where the problem arose.

Last week, we explained that Pinellas pays one man more than a half a million dollars a year to run the ranch, but wouldn't pay its property tax last year or this year to Pasco. It owes about $100,000.

The issue blew up when Pinellas sent a letter saying it doesn't have to pay the taxes, even though it has for years. After receiving the letter, Pasco tax collector Mike Fasano said if the bill wasn't paid he would eventually foreclose and have the property sold on the court house steps.

Fasano, who called the situation 'wild,' told us, " All of a sudden, Pinellas said it was immune from paying its taxes, which isn't true."

"One way or another, the citizens of Pasco are going to get their money that's due them and owed them," he added.

Late Tuesday, the commissioners acting on a motion by Commissioner Norm Roche all said they wanted the issue resolved immediately and voted unanimously to pay the back taxes to stop any potential foreclosure. The commission also told the county attorney to contact the Pasco County attorney and work out the differences to end this government squabble.


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