"Mowers hide a lot of Johnson Grass. But it's still there." - Homer Oliver
CHARLESTON - Road and bridge and general revenue tax rates will remain the same in Mississippi County, but the Johnson Grass levy will go up.
Mississippi County commissioners set tax rates for 2002 during Thursday's county commission meeting. The public hearing was attended only by the county clerk, commissioners and members of the press.
County Clerk Junior DeLay reported the county's preliminary assessment valuation is "a little bit down from last year" at $900,000 but predicted the final total assessment will end up being a big higher than last year when pending Board of Adjustments cases are resolved.
The general revenue levy has a ceiling of 46.37 cents per $100 assessed value and a mandatory rollback of 16.95 cents, DeLay said. Commissioners included a voluntary rollback of 2.42 cents as recommended by DeLay to keep the rate at 27 cents.
The road and bridge levy will also remain the same as commissioners followed DeLay's recommendation, voluntarily rolling back the rate 3 cents from the 35-cent ceiling to 32 cents.
DeLay also recommended keeping the Johnson Grass tax at last year's rate of 3 cents with a voluntary rollback of 2 cents from the 5-cent ceiling, but commissioners decided the fund needs more money and set the rate at 5 cents per $100 assessed value.
"There's a (Johnson Grass) problem in Mississippi County that needs to be addressed," said Jim Blumenberg, presiding commissioner.
DeLay predicted the 5-cent levy will raise a little over $50,000 for the year. "With last year's 3-cent levy, it ran really, really close," he said.
Commissioner Homer Oliver said the Johnson Grass problem is probably even worse than it appears. "Mowers hide a lot of Johnson Grass," he said. "But it's still there."
Commissioners agreed they had seen little if any Johnson Grass spraying activity by the state.
In other Mississippi County business, DeLay updated commissioners on the status of the failed health insurance coverage providers that formerly insured county officials and employees.
Paperwork has been completed but must be audited, DeLay said. Following the audit, smaller claims will then begin to be paid. TRG, which holds nearly all the county's outstanding claims, has close to $300,000 in unpaid medical bills from the county.
"Hopefully that will all be resolved before it ever hits the courts," said DeLay.