Košice has been arguing with the village of Sokoľany for more than 24 years. These are lands on which the former East Slovak Ironworks were built.
At the end of last year, the Constitutional Court granted the constitutional complaint of the city of Košice. He thus annulled the judgment of the Supreme Court from November 2020, according to which the disputed land under the premises of the now American company US Steel no longer belongs to the Košice cadastre, but to the municipality of Sokoľany in the Košice-okolie district.
The Second Chamber of the Constitutional Court, headed by President Petr Molnár and Judges Jana Laššáková and Ľuboš Szigeti, also returned the entire dispute to the Supreme Court for further proceedings. As the administration of the administrative judiciary was transferred to the Supreme Administrative Court with effect from 1 August 2021, further proceedings will be conducted by him.
At the end of last year, the cadastral office, at the request of the city of Košice and the decision of the Constitutional Court, registered this area with an area of 700 hectares in the cadastre of the Ironworks, which belongs to the city. This is the case from the beginning of this year until the moment of a valid decision on the border between Košice and the village of Sokoľany by the property tax administrator.
The Mayor of Košice, Jaroslav Polaček, says that the Constitutional Court has the same position as in 2017. “We believe that the Supreme Administrative Court will share its arguments in the future,” he continues. The city wants to use the money for further investments in projects that will improve the quality of life for the city’s inhabitants.
According to the legal representative of the city of Košice, Ján Tokár, the decision of the Constitutional Court gives the city a great chance that the land under the factory premises definitely belongs to its cadastre and does not have to rewrite the borders again.
“From our point of view, it is crucial that the Constitutional Court assessed the Supreme Court’s procedure as arbitrary and incorrect, while giving clear reasons for the decision on how to proceed in the next proceedings,” explains the lawyer. The Supreme Administrative Court will uphold the decision in favor of the city of Košice.
The decision of the Supreme Administrative Court will make it clear to whom US Steel and its subsidiaries, as well as other taxpayers operating their business at the ironworks, are to pay property tax each year.
Košice would thus receive additional revenues of almost 2 million euros per year, in the case of the municipality of Sokoľany it is about 700,000 euros.
Since the beginning of the dispute, US Steel has not commented on it or commented on it. However, the difference is whether they pay a tax for the disputed land to the municipality or city, which is almost threefold.
It’s premature, say community lawyers
Sokolian Mayor František Beregszászi did not want to comment on the latest decision of the Constitutional Court himself. However, we received an opinion from the Košice Law Office Juristi, which represents the municipality in the dispute.
“The ruling of the Constitutional Court, which annulled the judgment of the Supreme Court of November 2020 and returned the case to the Supreme Administrative Court for further proceedings and decisions, blames the Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic for errors in its procedural procedure. However, this does not prejudge how the Supreme Administrative Court will decide on the merits. The Constitutional Court of the Slovak Republic does not have the power to impose on the court how they should decide, the office reacted. According to the village’s lawyers, Košice is looking forward to it. “We still believe that from the legal point of view, the disputed land belongs to the municipality of Sokoľany,” they claim.
The law firm points out that during the dispute, which has lasted for more than 24 years, a final valid decision in the main proceedings has been issued three times and upheld by the Supreme Court. And always in favor of the municipality of Sokoľany, not once in favor of the city of Košice.
“Both earlier decisions of the Supreme Court were annulled by the Constitutional Court and returned for further proceedings and decisions, but the Supreme Court has always ruled in favor of the municipality of Sokoľany,” the law firm notes.
The opinion also states that there is a “reasonable suspicion that the transfer of disputed land in the real estate cadastre from the village of Sokoľany to the city of Košice at the end of 2021, carried out by the Košice District Office, violated the law.” to investigate the entire transcript.
- The annexation of a part of the cadastral territory of the former Košice-vidiek district to the city of Košice was decided in 1979 by the former Košice-vidiek District National Committee and subsequently by the former Regional National Committee for the Construction of Východoslovenské železárny. The Sokoľany, who were then part of the village of Hutníky, later argued that this had happened without the consent of the municipalities concerned.
- The lawsuit itself dates back to 1997, when the municipality of Sokoľany, on the basis of the restitution provisions of the Cadastral Act, submitted a proposal to change the boundaries of the cadastral territory and requested the subdivision of an area of approximately 700 hectares. Several decisions have already been issued in the case, either at the level of the administrative body or the courts. At the beginning, a total of 14 municipalities applied for land under the factory, except for Sokolian, the others gave up.
- The cadastral department of the Košice-okolie District Office transferred the land to the municipality of Sokoľany, but the city of Košice challenged this decision in court. According to the verdict of the Košice Regional Court from 2019, the municipality of Hutníky agreed in 1979 to the territorial changes, and therefore the affected area belongs to the Košice cadastre. The municipality of Sokoľany appealed against the decision.
- At the beginning of November 2020, the Supreme Court knocked off the land for the third time in the village of Sokoľany. The mayor of the village, František Beregszászi, stated at that time that all citizens and members of the municipal council are convinced that the lands of their ancestors, which were previously cultivated and on which US Steel now stands, belong to the Sokolian cadastral area. “It is difficult to understand that a city 13 kilometers away is constantly demanding constitutional complaints about rights to which it is not legally or morally entitled,” he said. The village wanted to use the money to complete the sewerage system, repair municipal roads and sidewalks or build a gym.
Source: Pravda – Správy by spravy.pravda.sk.
*The article has been translated based on the content of Pravda – Správy by spravy.pravda.sk. If there is any problem regarding the content, copyright, please leave a report below the article. We will try to process as quickly as possible to protect the rights of the author. Thank you very much!
*We just want readers to access information more quickly and easily with other multilingual content, instead of information only available in a certain language.
*We always respect the copyright of the content of the author and always include the original link of the source article.If the author disagrees, just leave the report below the article, the article will be edited or deleted at the request of the author. Thanks very much! Best regards!