The Beauregard Parish School Board voted unanimously on Thursday to settle its portion of lawsuits with Boise Packaging and Newsprint LLC and OfficeMax Inc. regarding a decade's worth of alleged overpayment of tax money.
The board met in a special meeting to discuss the currently unofficial settlement; Wesley Taylor, Kathy Bruner and Russell Havens were absent for the vote.
The lawsuits in question were filed in 2011 for Boise and OfficeMax against Ricky Moses, who as Beauregard Parish Sheriff is ex-officio tax collector for the parish.
According to filed petitions, OfficeMax and Boise claimed they were entitled to a refund of respective payments on sales or use taxes over a time period spanning 1998 to 2009, with the first refund request allegedly being made in 2001.
OfficeMax, formerly known as Boise Cascade Corporation, claimed to have overpaid around $1 million with no refund, while Boise Packaging claims it requested refunds for more than $3 million.
The vote to settle came after a closed discussion in executive session with those present including Beauregard Parish District Attorney David Burton, Moses and representatives from Boise.
The amount is not official, but board member Randy Brown said the school board budgeted at least $1.5 million in general funds in anticipation of a possible settlement.
"The agreement will spell out that it's going to be a one-time payment," Brown said.
The board approved the settlement while reserving the right to have legal counsel review the agreement.
"We'll begin to review the final documents and make sure that they are in accordance with the agreement, and then everyone will begin to sign them and at that point they will become public documents," Burton said. "It's been approved in principle, but it's not really a done deal until the documents are signed."
Also included in the case is the Beauregard Parish Police Jury, who said at its last regular meeting that it would continue to work with the litigants toward a resolution.