County property value increases

Staff writer

Property valuation in Marion County is up about $4.8 million from November 2009, County Clerk Carol Maggard said Monday.

About $3 million of the increase is in assessments of utilities and infrastructure, such as gas and oil pipelines, power lines, and railroads. Those values are determined by the state, Maggard said.

Severed mineral rights values have increased. Real estate values are up some, but personal property values have gone down.

The newest valuation is $107,033,134, Maggard said.

TransCanada, the parent company of the Keystone Pipeline, has not yet appealed to the Court of Tax Appeals for a property tax exemption, Commissioner Dan Holub said. The company has until Dec. 31, or it will have to pay property taxes on the pipeline in 2011.

Early budget requests remain level

One county department and three outside agencies presented 2011 budget requests that were similar to 2010 requests.

Marion County Department on Aging Coordinator Gayla Ratzlaff proposed a budget of $115,607, a reduction of $2,647 from 2010. The lower proposal is due to a decrease in contract services.

Elizabeth Schmidt of Harvey-Marion County Community Developmental Disability Organization requested $62,000 for 2011, which is the same amount the group received in 2010. The state cut $55,000 in grants to the organization, but Schmidt said she realizes now isn’t a good time to ask the county for more money.

Marion County Extension Agent Rickey Roberts requested $127,000. That would return extension funding to 2009 levels. Marion County cut appropriations to extension by 3 percent for 2010.

Marion County Fair Association President Chuck McLinden asked commissioners to appropriate $14,700 for the fair. The association is making progress after a couple of rough years, and sponsorships are improving, McLinden said.

The 2010 fair might feature a carnival, but McLinden said he hadn’t heard a final decision.

Department budget proposals are due July 15. Commissioners will meet with accountant Scot Loyd July 23 to work on the budget. The budget will be published Aug. 11, and commissioners will have a public hearing on the budget Aug. 23.

In other business:

  • County employees are receiving more benefits from health insurance than the county is paying in premiums so far in 2010, Maggard said. That means premiums will likely increase.
  • Cooperative Grain and Supply of Hillsboro will provide 3,600 gallons of fuel to Marion County Road and Bridge Department for $8,183. Cardie Oil Company of Tampa will provide 2,950 gallons for $6,714.
  • Road and Bridge Superintendent Jim Herzet met with commissioners in closed session for five minutes to discuss personnel. No action was taken.
  • Marion County Planning and Zoning Department will purchase a desktop computer from CDW-G for $1,691. The computer will replace a 4-year-old computer and be paid for with grant funds that were set to expire.
  • Communications and Emergency Management Director Michele Abbott met with commissioners in closed session for five minutes to discuss personnel. The commission accepted the resignation of dispatcher Amanda Weigart.
  • A cable broke on a crane at Marion County Transfer Station, but nobody was hurt, Transfer Station Director Rollin Schmidt said.
  • Marion County Noxious Weed Department has received 39 complaints about musk thistle. The department has sent 24 notices and referred three cases to the county attorney.
  • Schmidt will draft a job description for a full-time worker to do secretarial and other duties for the Noxious Weed, Household Hazardous Waste, and Transfer Station departments before advertising for applicants. The position will replace a part-time secretary position.

The commission meets today for payday. The next commission meeting will be July 12.

 

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