County may end

tax-abatement deal for residential uses

The Marion County Com??mission Monday in a public hearing following regular session appeared to be moving away from future neighborhood revitalization tax abatement for new home building, but toward continuing commercial property tax abatement.

Six people from across the county were present to comment.

The annual tax amounts now being rebated include $193,657.46 to the county, $56,777.35 to the cities, $50,416.95 to the unified school districts? general funds, and $94,593.85 to all other USD funds.

County officials have long questioned whether the program contributes enough to county growth to justify the work it causes.

Commission Chairman Dan Holub said the commissioners can only cite one incident where the county gained a resident because of the problem when a person on the Harvey County line moved across the road into Marion County to take advantage of it.

Otherwise, commissioners noted, what seems to bring residents here from other counties is that Marion County has allowed building on plots from three to five acres while neighboring counties have required 40 acres.

Commissioner Randy Dallke said, ?When we came into office 10 years ago, the previous commission had set up neighborhood revitalization. We finalized it after changing a few things.?

Dallke said the county program began as a 10-year abatement for residences and businesses, but was later changed to a five-year program when it became more apparent how much time and paperwork it took.

Marion City Administrator Roger Holter said the city retained the program as a 10-year commercial rebate for Main Street only to encourage locating more businesses there.

Hillsboro Mayor Delores Dalke said the city had never participated in the program because that would identify it as a ?blighted area.?

USD 398 Superintendent Ron Trexon said school districts want more development in the county to build the tax base available for education.

But, Trexon said, perhaps districts would favor doing away with the residential abatement for getting funds now, while allowing the commercial abatement to build county growth for future funds.

Holub said the commissioners will make some decisions soon when all are present. Commissioner Lori Laulouette was absent.

Earlier in the session the commissioners voted 2-0 to follow a suggestion from Sheriff Rob Craft to close 190th on the route from Florence to Elmdale to all but local traffic; large commercial trucks are using the route to avoid round-about construction for U.S. highways 56, 77 and 150 until that project is finished.

Acting Road and Bridge Director Jesse Hamm said the firm of Cook, Flatt and Strobel has found 19 bridges with hazardous defects that will require annual inspection at $150 each to keep them open.

The commissioners asked him to get an alternate bid for the annual inspections.

The commissioners approved a road and bridge transport fuel bid of $14,097.00 from Cooperative Grain and Supply of Hillsboro for 5,500 gallons of diesel and 2,500 gallons of unleaded gasoline over a competitive bid of $14,105.00 from Cardie Oil Inc. of Tampa.

The commissioners approved extending one week of vacation time until December for Bud Druse, Transfer Station director.

Druse reported his crew has retained tires from a transport trailer sold and delivered for salvage, and will remove its aluminum floor at the salvage yard to get more money for it.

The commissioners approved purchase of a copier for $8,520 for the Marion County Treasurer?s Office from Central Business of Abilene.

They met in executive sessions for personnel for five minutes with County Clerk Tina Spencer, for 10 minutes with Health Director Diedre Serene, and for five minutes with Acting Road and Bridge Director Jesse Hamm.

They voted 2-0 to terminate employment as a volunteer emergency management service ambulance technician for Larry Larson of Peabody.

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