Many revitalization program participants not completing paperwork, officials report

Too many taxpayers in the Marion County neighborhood revitalization tax-abatement program never get the paperwork done in time, and then come to the county trying to make excuses like slothful school children trying to explain why homework wasn?t turned in, officials reported.

Department heads joined the Marion County Commission Monday to try to work out the resulting entanglements in their workloads?or at least try to clarify what?s happening.

County Attorney Susan Robson said the agreement with a taxpayer to receive tax credit is a contract that the taxpayer and the county both are expected to perform on.

Appraiser Cindy Magill showed how taxpayers in the program are clearly instructed to notify the county of their progress on construction but they fail to follow through.

She said the program gets extended to where a taxpayer on one Jan. 1 fails to report as required whether construction is complete or not, and then goes a year later to repeat not getting a progress report in within the required 15 days.

?They?re supposed to get it all completed and into us in a timely manner, and they?re just not doing it,? Magill said.

?Sometimes they come in to get an application, but they?ve already started on their plan without telling us. Often they haven?t gone to the trouble of getting a building permit which is replied.?

Treasurer Jeannine Bateman said confusion can build when valuation figures for the new construction starts at one level, and then changes two or three times before the homeowner gets it done.

Magill said confusion sometimes is multiplied when a taxpayer is completing one project, and comes in to add a second project in the program. This happens for instance with farmers building storage sheds, she said.

Magill and Bateman said their paperwork is multiplied by the program to start with and by non-compliance of participants on top of that.

The commissioners said the program is designed to encourage new construction and remodeling that leaves a ?footprint? of valuation gain in the county. They want that to continue, but they also want compliance.

Commissioners Randy Dallke and Dan Holub decided a taxpayer can receive one certified letter notifying of non-compliance, with one year to comply, but after that, their participation should be ended.

The commissioners reviewed seven neighborhood revitalization tax rebate applicants who are redundant in their reporting with Magill to consider granting continuance in the program.

Commissioner Bob Hein was still absent because of illness, although Clerk Carol Maggard said he is feeling well enough to request his commission work packets be sent to him in the hospital.

Dallke said commissioners need to think about what they might want in a new county building, including storage space, health department offices, and what other departments and employees might be located there.

Maggard said she has been able to run a comparison to the $31,036 in bank interest received by March for the first quarter by the county.

The results, said Holub, showed you could have seen the recession coming.

The interest received by March in 2009 was $44,731, in 2008 was $80,251, and in 2007 was $67,577.

The commissioners approved a compromise with a landowner at 1333 Kanza to allow cleanup of an illegal trash dump by September so the owner doesn?t have to do it during wheat harvest.

Magill and the commissioners announced appointment of Farbara Edmonds as a new personal property coordinator at a salary of $1,901 monthly.

Transfer Station Director Rollin Schmidt said commercial and demolition waste has increased considerably to 90.05 tons in April due to normal spring activity increases and the city of Marion disposing of condemned houses.

The county also disposed of 645.73 tons of municipal solid waste for the month in 36 hauls at an average cost per ton of $37.40 for fuel, driver and tipping fees at the Butler County Landfill.

The station also disposed of 1.31 tons of tires, he said.

Schmidt, who also is noxious weed director, said musk thistle complaints are increasing rapidly with the season.

The commissioners gave Sheriff Rob Craft permission to try recruiting a jailer from a list of applicants compiled in September to cut down on time required for background check.

Craft said his officers are elgible to receive overtime pay from Kansas Department of Trans?portation funds during specific times for holidays such as Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving and Labor Day. It is part of a state effort to increase the presence of law patrols, he said.

Emergency Medical Services Director Steve Smith said Hillsboro will be helped greatly in ambulance service by 10 new EMTs likely to pass final tests in the current class. Peabody also will have a new volunteer from the class, he said.

Smith reported 70 ambulance runs for April including nine from Peabody, six from Florence, 27 from Marion, 22 from Hillsboro and six from Tampa.

They included 18 transfers, two cardiac, 26 medical emergency, five standby, four motor vehicle accidents, nine falls, four no transport, one 10-22, and one other.

There were also three first response runs from Goessel and two from Lincolnville.

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