Commission OKs assessment change
CHARLESTON - Residential property in Mississippi County will go on and off the tax books sooner in 2003.
During their regular weekly meeting Monday, county commissioners enacted the state statute known as the Occupancy Law as requested by County Assessor W.R. "Bill" Thompson.
As Thompson explained in previous meetings, the Occupancy Law taxes newly-built residential structures beginning on the first day of the month after the home is occupied rather than Jan. 1 when ownership of other personal property is determined.
The law also reduces the value on the books of homes damaged by a disaster on the first day of the following month instead of Jan. 1.
Additionally, the Occupancy Law requires utility companies to notify the county of new construction and will divert an additional one-fifth of 1 percent of the county's collections into the assessor's fund. County Clerk Junior DeLay estimated it will work out to nearly $10,000 in additional funds.
Commissioner Martin Lucas said he only approved the change to offset the state's reduction in parcel reimbursement.
In other Mississippi County business:
* Commissioners rescinded a bid awarded for the purchase of a plotter for the assessor's office.
DeLay explained one of the published advertisements for the bids advised bids would be accepted until Dec. 31.
"From now on, we do the bidding process for offices," Presiding Commissioner Jim Blumenberg said.
* Routine year-end budget amendments were approved by commissioners following the required public hearing.
DeLay reported the law enforcement fund ended with $235,000 in expenditures over what was originally budgeted.
A lot of individual accounts went over budget, DeLay said, but he explained that a large part of the overrun is due to the sheriff's department being shorthanded and making up the difference by buying back vacation time and paying overtime.
"Next year will be a little tighter," DeLay predicted of the next budget.
"I can't see any increases (for budgets) anywhere," agreed Blumenberg.
DeLay said the county has only received non-binding health insurance quotes based on the county's census, so the cost of health insurance next year is still unknown.
Blumenberg said they will need to examine options to possibly bring down the premiums as well as lower the deductible. "This $3,000 deductible has to go," said Blumenberg.
DeLay said he was advised by one insurance agent that 25 percent of the premiums are driven by prescription card benefits.