As a result of the August 12th tax sale, several property owners were prompted to pay back taxes. County Treasurer Susan Quick presented numbers she had tallied at today’s County Commissioners’ meeting. According to Quick, $262,104.17 was collected on tax sale properties after charges were filed in court. According to county officials, the number of properties redeemed by payment of back taxes came to a total of 16. The addition of $46,075.57 in penalties brought the total amount of revenue from back taxes to $304,317.34 before expenses were taken out. Those expenses include a $60 per parcel charge from Security 1st Title. Collected fees equaled $5,472.
“The real benefit in having these sales . . . we had some properties that were $25,000 in taxes paid up this time. We need to pursue delinquent taxes. By the time it gets to where we can sell it, taxes have not been paid for 4 years,” said Commission Chairman Allen Warren. “The 16 that were redeemed brought in a lot of money.” County Attorney Terri Johnson agreed. “A lot of properties were redeemed after the process started,” Johnson said. Warren explained that last year, the county started an “aggressive program” to deal with delinquent properties.
- After a 15 minute executive session, Commissioner Barbara Albright moved to transfer Bobby Reed to the title of Jail Administrator at a salary of $37,205 per year, and that Julie Miller step into the Director of Security position at a salary of $32,205.89. Commissioner Harold Coleman seconded the motion. Both positions are exempt from overtime, according to county officials. According to County Attorney Terri Johnson, both Reed and Miller had been doing extra duties to fill these positions even before their job titles changed at today’s meetings. The position of Program Director formerly held by Miller will remain unfilled. In addition, Reed reported that a joint effort between departments had brought the number of jail occupants and number of inmates housed out to 49 and 6, respectively. According to Assistant County Attorney Valorie LeBlanc, one of the 6 inmates currently being housed out will be released August 24th. Reed said that he thought the department was “doing very well” at preventing overcrowding.
- Hubert Thomas came to the meeting with County Road and Bridge Director Jim Harris to discuss repairs on Grand Road. “Looking at the project, it’s a big project,” said Commission Chairman Warren. “The landowner should be commended for calling it to our attention.” Warren explained that Brad Blythe, the landowner, had offered to work with the county by moving both of his fences in order to give the county room to work. The commission asked Thomas to come up with an estimate for the project. Thomas gave a preliminary rough estimate of $21-22,000 to repair the road and install a new culvert. Thomas explained that the 1,600 acres of rocky ground that drains into the current culverts sends an overwhelming amount of water toward the road. “No wonder it went over,” Warren said. The commission and Harris are looking into making the project a T-Works project, in which case the county would be reimbursed for the cost of the repair work. “That’s where we’d like to get the financing for it if possible,” Warren said. Commissioner Barbara Albright asked if the road were safe in the meantime. “It’s passable,” Thomas said, explaining that the damaged area of the road had been blocked off.
- Bids have come in on repairs to the A/C units on the courthouse. Design Mechanical put in a bid of $25,998.00, while CDL put in a bid of $37,061.80. However, after looking over the specifications for work to be done on each bid, Warren said that he would like County Custodial Supervisor David Neville to review the bids to make sure that the two bids were comparable in scope of work. Warren said that he wanted to make sure the commission would be “comparing apples to apples.”
- Richard Perry brought a road concern to the meeting. “We had so much rain that it tried to take [a culvert] out,” Perry said. “It wouldn’t take too much to fix it.” Perry said that lots of gravel had been washed out around the culvert, and that he would have semis hauling his corn harvest through the area around 160th soon.
- Public Works Director Jim Harris brought an update on road work done in the past week. “We did a lot of rock hauling this week,” Harris said. Harris said that the plan for work on paving roads was to start paving the second lane on 18th Street/Kansas Road on Monday. Harris expected that the job would be finished in as little as 2 days. Commissioners also discussed with Harris the reclamation work to be done at the Blake Quarry. The project will include the construction of a 5-wire fence.