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Friday, Aug. 29, 2014

Fair fares

Friday, July 11, 2003

Commissioners question cost for motorcycles on Dorena-Hickman ferry

CHARLESTON - Mississippi County commissioners will send a letter to Dorena-Hickman Ferry Captain Stephen P.J. Stanionis requesting fair treatment for motorcycles.

"We have a little problem with vouchers for motorcycles," said Presiding Commissioner Jim Blumenberg during Thursday's regular meeting.

Martin Lucas, commissioner, said he doesn't understand why motorcycles can't have the same half-price return fare option offered to other ferry customers.

Commissioners first changed the toll for motorcycles themselves during their June 19 meeting, rescinding the action June 26 after deciding they had jumped the gun and circumvented the Port Authority Board.

The ferry toll schedule from S.T.A.M. Marine Enterprises of Hickman, Ky., which operates the Dorena-Hickman Ferry for the county, includes the solution offered by Stanionis - a discounted sheet of 10 vouchers for $38.00 that motorcycle riders can use to bring their cost down to $3.80 per crossing.

"Well, it's not really fair," Blumenberg said looking over the toll schedule. "When I look at that horse for $2 and that motorcycle for $5, I have a problem with that."

"And you might have to clean up after that horse," Commissioner Homer Oliver added.

Lucas said the only complaints he has received on ferry rates have been related to the motorcycle fares.

In other county news:

* Commissioners reviewed correspondence from the State Tax Commission advising the state's reimbursement on parcels for approved expenditures by the assessors office was cut from $5.50 per parcel to $5, effective for 2003.

County Clerk Junior DeLay said the net effect on the county will be about $5,000. "They cut us last year," he added, noting the rate was $6.20 before.

A lawsuit by assessors for the first cut is pending, DeLay said.

* Tony Ohmes of Charleston was reappointed to the Johnson Grass Control Board; and Wendell Choate was reappointed to the Port Authority Board.

* Oliver reported that truck tires have been dropped off at the county Highway Department shed.

Blumenberg said only passenger vehicle tires from residents are permitted there, not tires from commercial entities.

Lucas said he doesn't understand why people just don't pay the $6 to leave the old tires with the tire dealers. Oliver agreed, adding that leaving the old tires with the tire dealers should be mandatory.

* Prosecuting Attorney Jennifer Raffety is reviewing applications to replace the assistant prosecutor hired with grant funds specifically to address gun violence related crimes.

Commissioners reviewed a letter of resignation from the Gregory Spencer, who was hired to fill the job when the grant was approved. His resignation is effective Aug. 13.

"I have truly enjoyed my tenure as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Mississippi County," Spencer wrote in his resignation letter. "Furthermore, I have enjoyed serving the people of Mississippi County. The relationships that I have gained here will carry with me through the remainder of my career."

* Commissioners reluctantly approved the lease of a building near the courthouse for $650 for the first month and $700 per month thereafter to be used by the Circuit 33 Drug Court for office space.

John McMinn of Charleston, administrator for the Circuit 33 Drug Court, advised the court can not enter a contract so the county must sign the lease.

"It will be paid out of their grant money," said DeLay.

The Drug Court will also move their counseling services there which previously were off-site, according to DeLay.

* Having overpaid on personal property taxes last year, "I don't intend to overpay again this year," Howard Sarver said.

Sarver advised the Board of Adjustments, which convened following the regular county commission meeting, that the high mileage on his 1995 Mercury was not figured into his vehicle's assessment,

According to Missouri Revised Statutes, "the NADA bluebook is to be used including the high mileage deductions chart," Sarver said.

Valued at $4,225 by the assessor's office, the appraised value of one-third means paying taxes on $1,430.

Sarver said he would like the board to reduce the value to $2,400 so he would be paying taxes on $800. With over 190,000 miles on it, a car dealer wouldn't even consider taking it as a trade in, he added.

"The Missouri State Tax Commission recommends a book of values that are derived from the NADA," said Assessor W.R. "Bill" Thompson in response.

The book uses "middle of the road" values and does not account for any options, he explained.

"Mass appraisals are different from fee appraisals," Thompson said. "Mass appraisal, again, we go middle of the road. It's far from being a good appraisal because we do it in mass quantities." He said it is not his job to go around checking odometers, however.

"The average price is not what the statute says," said Sarver.

Sarver also said his 2002 Dodge truck is listed by the assessor as being worth $16,920 when the actual value is $14,575.