Transfer station payment still topic for county commission

Delinquent taxes, a lease-purchase idea to pay for transfer station renovations, and buying furniture were the focus of the Sept. 23 commission meeting.

In an effort not to deplete the county’s cash reserves in renovating the transfer station, Commissioner Randy Dallke said he wants clarification on the sales tax from the state legislature.

Commissioner Dianne Novak said her mission between now and the next time the county reviews its annual budget, is to know how to read and comprehend what it all means.

“It’s a complex budget,” she said. “But regarding the transfer station, there is about $500,000 in his capital outlay and in the risk management line item there is another $500,000.”

Novak said she thinks there’s enough money to pay for the transfer station because it’s being done in sections meaning the money is being paid in smaller chunks.

Novak asked Dallke how much more is needed to pay for the renovations, and he said between $1.5 and $2 million.

“I just think we should look at this option first,” Novak said. “And, just because the interest rates are low, we just shouldn’t spend. I wasn’t raised or grew up going ‘charge, charge, charge.’”

Novak said the commission needs to consider this option before taking out a loan.

“I think we should try,” she said. “By 2020, we have about $6 million in cash reserves.”

Remember we have security coming up, too, Commission chairman Kent Becker said.

“We were able to handle $100,000 loan payments for a 10-year period,” Dallke said.

Going back to the lease-purchase scenario, Dallke said that using 10 to 15 years, without touching cash reserves, the county was able to handle those payments.

“And, if we can’t get back to handling it again, then we better check out and see where are problem is,” Dallke said.

Dallke said he believes the transfer station budget could handle the $100,000 payments on a lease-purchase arrangement.

“But, if we keep expanding the recycling, and spending money there, we won’t be able to (make those payments). And since the loan was cut, that’s where recycling money has come from,” he said.

Dallke said he does believe that if the county keeps expanding recycling and spends money there, the county won’t be able to handle a large payment.

In answering Novak’s question about the $100,000 payment, Dallke said that’s where the recycling money came from.

“It was after we cut that payment out,” he said.

Agreeing with Dallke, Becker said he thinks the transfer station should be able to stand on its own.

The commission directed Tina Spencer, county clerk, to have the county’s bond counsel, what banks in and around the county would have regarding interest in 10 to 15-year lease-purchase agreements.

Jeannine Bateman, county treasurer, discussed delinquency facts from the 2017 and 2018 tax years.

The uncollected tax in 2017 was $640,417, and in 2018 it was $683,067.

“That is very sad,” Novak said. “We need better laws in place (to deal with delinquent taxes).

However, Bateman said she hasn’t checked how many of those that were delinquent have paid.

Novak also inquired about showing how many years a particular person is delinquent, adding some people might not pay until the fourth year comes up.

Dallke, saying he wanted to further expound on Novak’s statement, asked how many taxpayers are in their fourth year, and only pay one year, so they are always behind three years?

“There are quite a few,” she said.

“People looking at the list might think what’s published is only what is owed,” Becker said.

“Several people have asked me about this,” Novak said, adding it’s not fair to other taxpayers.

If those who are delinquent paid their taxes, Novak said, the county might not have a problem in finding money to fix the transfer station.

The commissioners would like to know what other options are available regarding laws that could penalize delinquent taxpayers more than what’s being done currently.

Spencer visited with the commission about furniture when the other two seats are voted in. After hearing the two options Spencer came up with, the vote was 3-0 in favor of the first option costing $2,650 and an additional four chairs at $391 each.