Road conditions lead to tax protest
Cattleman Merle Schlehuber paid his property taxes under protest because of the condition of county roads running by his land.
So did Chasen Gann and James Enns. All told, county appraiser Lisa Reeder said Monday, annual property taxes on 37 parcels are scheduled for tax protests because of the conditions of county roads.
Their exact reasons are unclear, as are the prospects for successfully protesting their taxes due. When this newspaper reached out to Gann and Schlehuber, Schlehuber declined to grant an interview unless he was allowed to preview and edit any article written, which would be a violation of journalistic ethics.
Clearly, there is dissatisfaction with county roads. At Monday’s county commission meeting, rural Marion resident Chuck Seifert gave commissioners a piece of his mind about consultant fees about road and other projects.
Seifert said he’d reviewed records of what the county spent for project engineers over the last year and that the county should hire its own engineer.
“You’re paying out way too much on consulting fees,” Seifert said. “Get an in-house engineer and you can save that.”
He contended the county spent “well over $100,000” in consultant fees, more than half of that amount on planning for a transfer station.
Seifert added that a county engineer could manage the road and bridge department and the transfer station.
“I would run for county commissioner if I could come to a meeting once a month,” Seifert said. “I don’t want to come to a meeting every Monday morning.”
Seifert said he didn’t support hiring a county administrator because he didn’t know what an administrator would do, but said he didn’t see that two additional commissioners will help.
Seifert said he knew from working in construction that getting an engineer’s stamp on each item costs 10 percent of the project, but he has calculated the cost of engineering on the transfer station at 20 percent.
In other business, commissioners:
- Signed a contract for the next step of design of a new transfer station.
- Held department head reviews in executive session with Bud Druse, Jesse Hamm, Isaac Hett, Reeder, and Gayla Ratzlaff.