Collector Addresses Commission About Proposed Tax Credit

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

A bill which should revise Missouri Senate Bill 190 is expected to go to the governor’s desk sometime next month, and if signed, the county will need to make decisions about how to address it.

As Ripley County Commissioners met June 26, Collector Marcia Tackett shared an update on SB190, rather the revised version, SB756, which she said will answer many questions that were not made clear in the verbiage of SB190.

Both bills are in regard to allowing a property tax credit for senior citizens who are eligible for retirement benefits.

“If the governor signs SB756, it should clarify which tax levies are subject to the credit...whether it applies to the county levies, or if it applies to all taxing entities...things of that nature,” said Tackett.

Tackett said there are parts of SB756 that the county will need to address, for which she feels she will need input from other county officials.

She suggested that a committee may need to be formed to discuss and interpret certain details of the bill.

“I know the bill hasn’t yet been signed, but I am just bringing this to you now, so that you can be thinking about it,” said Tackett.

She added, “This bill is really detailed. For one thing, I am supposed to back out the blind pension fund, which is a state levy. There are also portions of the school tax that are supposed to be backed out, such as the teacher’s fund.”

She said the process is likely to be very “cumbersome,” and it will be left up to each county to decide how to proceed.

“We need to decide on a cut off time for applications, too. My opinion is that we need to be consistent with the tax cut-off time, which is June 30.

Tackett said, “Most of the counties are not putting this in place until next year.”

She said, “I have already had two gentlemen come in wanting applications, thinking we are dragging our feet about getting this put into place. At that time I didn’t realize that we had this other bill (SB757) that had to get approved, too.”

Commissioner Jesse Roy stated, “SB190 in its current form is already in effect here. That’s the county’s portion of the tax. If the governor signs this new bill in July, and it takes affect in August, we would be looking at 2025 taxes.”

Tackett said, “I feel we need to form a committee to discuss this to make sure there are appropriate checks and balances in how we address it. I don’t think auditors are going to want me to be solely in charge.”

She said a committee is needed to “look at the law and make sure we are interpreting it the same way.”

Tackett says a worksheet must be created that can be used to determine eligibility.

Another point to be decided is in regard to how a “homestead” will be defined, whether it will encompass the house (residential) and land (agricultural) it sits on, or just the house.

The county has in place an application it has been using for SB190. Commissioner Roy said the county’s attorney will probably just update it.

Tackett said her office will continue to accept applications, but, “There is no way we can implement this yet. Even the ordinance we have in place will have to be changed if SB756 is signed.”

Software will also be a concern. There is not currently available a program designed to calculate the tax credit, and without it, she predicted, “this will be a programming nightmare.”

That being said, at some point there is the likelihood that her office will be required to have software upgrades and possibly also hire extra help, which will be expensive.

“There is going to be a lot of extra work and expense involved in this, and the state is not paying for any of it,” said Roy.

“There should be something out there for people [senior citizens] who are eligible. But I just think there would have been a better way to go about it,” said Tackett.

She said she has a recording of an online Zoom meeting she attended on the subject.

“An attorney hosted the meeting and broke this all down for us,” she said.

She said she found the discussion to be very helpful and offered to share the recording with the commission.

County Clerk Michael Williams reported that absentee voting for the August 6 primary has begun, and his office has been sending out applications.

“Absentee voters have to sign an affidavit stating their excuse, and we have a list we have to go by that determines whether or not we can accept it,” said Williams.

Commissioners discussed that it is coming time to renew auto liability and employee health insurance policies, and they would like to explore the possibility of finding a broker who might offer both.

“That way we would have everything on the same schedule. But we need to have this settled by August, so we have to advertise for bids,” said Roy.

County Road Crew Foreman Dale Beston said the crew hasn’t yet had a “rainy day” to put a transmission in the idle grader yet, and there is also a need to repair a back hoe that is down.

Beston said the crew is in need of new uniforms. He presented a quote for $800 for five shirts apiece for his eight crew members.

Beston said the crews are requesting a lighter color because the black polyester shirts they now wear are not as comfortable in the summer heat. The shirts must also either come with yellow safety reflector stripes, or the stripes have to be sewed on.

Gray shirts are favored, as they should be cooler and also are less likely to show dirt.

July meetings of the commission were set for July 3, 10, 17, 24 and 31.

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