Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Clay council approves tax rate hike

J-E News Editor
Clay council members approved the first reading of a measure last week that will increase the city’s tax rate by four percent. Such an increase is not a four percent per resident increase, it means the overall revenue generated will go up by about four percent. The four percent raise will require a pubic hearing.

City Clerk Julie Rhye said that on a $100,000 home, the four percent increase would amount to an increase of about $11.00.
The increase would generate about $2,890.19 extra to the city, if all residents were to pay their tax bills.
During the city’s annual audit of finances, CPA Mike Overby told the council that they needed to seriously consider such an increase. Several council members voiced their opinions that they needed to do as their accountant suggested.
“I think we have to go with what Mike said,” council member Patti Dennis said. “We pay him to take care of us.”
For years the city has struggled getting residents to pay their taxes. Last fall they started a process of sending delinquent taxes to the city attorney, who then began sending them to collection.
This has become a fairly regular process, one that can generate late fees, penalties and even tax liens against the property owners who don’t pay their taxes. It’s also the only means by which a city can get their much needed tax revenue.
“You’re never close to bringing in the full amount because you always have the same people who don’t pay,” Rhye said last year. “It’s been that way for years and years and years.”
Council member Todd Vanover credits Rhye for staying on top of this issue.
“There were two properties that recently came up for foreclosure that had delinquent taxes against them, so Julie went ahead and filed the lien against them,” he said. “That at least got us $1,700-1,800.”
In other business, the council voted to look into moving their quarterly random drug testing from Baptist Health in Madisonville to Community Family Health in Dixon.

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