Should cities promote county property tax rebate program?

Staff reporter

It came to the attention of Marion County Commission Monday that some people still are not aware of the countywide Neighborhood Revitalization Program.

County appraiser Cindy Magill brought two applications that were filed after the new structures were built, asking to participate in the tax rebate program.

One of the applications was for a structure in Peabody. When the person had completed a building permit for the City of Peabody, he/she was not informed of the tax rebate program because the City of Peabody has a similar program.

The property owner found out about the county program after the fact and filed an application.

That particular application was filed May 12 but the project was started in February with a city building permit being obtained March 10. In addition, the property owner did not file the necessary paperwork when the work was completed because he/she had said the project was to be completed June 1.

Magill said county zoning administrator and compliance officer Bobbi Strait did a "good job" of informing people of the rebate program when county building permits are issued but she wasn't sure about the cities.

"If we allow these to quality, then we'll have to allow other people to do the same thing," Magill said. "If we do it for this one, then we're violating our own plan."

Commissioner Randy Dallke, whose district includes Peabody, asked Magill to contact the City of Peabody for details related to the building permit.

Later in the meeting, Magill returned and reported that Peabody City Administrator Jeff Benbrook told her that the individual was not informed of either the city's or county's rebate plan because the applicant has to request the information.

Benbrook said the Peabody City Council then determined if the applicant for the city's neighborhood revitalization plan qualified.

Dallke said he didn't want to override the city's plan and suggested the county applicant be referred back to the City of Peabody. After that the county can re-consider the application.

The other application was for a barn that was finished in October 2007 but the application wasn't filed until just recently.

The property owner now has filed for a tax rebate for an addition to the new barn which would qualify. Magill said the late filing of the tax rebate application for the new barn structure should not be considered and the commission agreed.

In other department business:

— Like it or not, the county appraiser's office will be converting to a new computer system in 2009. Magill expressed concerns about the conversion process with the number of current employees.

Unknown costs will make it tough come budget time in determining what will be needed in the coming years to help offset additional costs.

Magill said she knows that in Osage County, a $10,000 printer had to be purchased to accommodate the new equipment. The appraiser department's computers can handle the new system but there will be expenses associated with the transition, which could be a large amount.

Information will be downloaded from the old system to the new but some data won't convert which will require manual data entry. There are 12,000 parcels.