MASON CITY, Iowa - New obstacles are standing in the way of completing the River City Renaissance Project after those with the Cerro Gordo County Treasurer’s Office say Southbridge Mall owner Mike Kohan owes $218,637 in back taxes.
“I want him to get it together and get it accomplished,” said Carol Iverson of Mason City.
Iverson understands that Southbridge Mall is a key component to the project as the city planned on using the taxes to pay off some of the debt on the project once it is completed.
Those with the Treasurer’s Office say Kohan has verbally stated that he is going to pay $30,224 of those overdue taxes. They say that is the minimum he could pay to stop penalties from adding up. They also clarified that they don’t count the taxes as paid for unless they have the money in their office. Kohan would still need to pay another $24, 577 to keep the parcels of land from going to a tax sale in June.
In a brief phone conversation with Kohan on Wednesday, he said the reason he isn’t paying the taxes is because “the mail is failing." Clayton Rye, of Hanlontown, says he understands Kohan’s position.
“We’re selling corn for three dollars so expenses are way up and the income is way down,” he said.
Despite the potential setbacks in the project because of the back taxes, those in the community are still in favor of the project.
“I'd like to see it be a thriving mall, you know, with restaurants and recreation,” said Iverson.
Those with the city say they do have reason to be concerned over the unpaid taxes, but are confident they can work through the issues and complete the project.