Land reimbursement rate cut for assessors

Friday, November 6, 2009

Cape Girardeau County is among the state's 114 counties scheduled to receive thousands of dollars less annually from the state in payments to county assessors.

The State Tax Commission has reduced the parcel reimbursement rate for county assessors from $5.99 to $4 for each parcel of land. The $6.117 million in payments for reassessment is part of $204 million in cuts announced Oct. 28 by Gov. Jay Nixon.

Before the cuts, the Cape Girardeau County assessor's office was receiving about $250,000 per year in reimbursements from its 34,213 parcels. The county now will receive $68,083 less.

Other Southeast Missouri counties affected include Bollinger, with a $20,839 cut; Perry, with a $27,800 reduction; and Scott, which will lose $45,408.

"It doesn't help," Cape Girardeau County Commissioner Paul Koeper said. "For them to drop us with about a $70,000 cut is tough."

Perry County Assessor Charles Triller said he hopes the cuts don't cause any reduction in staffing. Triller said less staff could mean less time to assess property.

"I'd like to see them restore at least some of the funding," Triller said. "I don't see it all being restored given our economy. Hopefully the economy will bounce back and we'll start getting back to $5.99 level."

Cape Girardeau County Assessor Jerry Reynolds said while losing almost $70,000 is a significant amount of money, he said his office will find ways to reduce costs, such as with technological expenditures.

"We'll be OK," Reynolds said. "We'll just have to not spend as much this year.

"All of us will try to get that $1.99 back, but I don't give it much of a chance this go around," Reynolds said. "The state doesn't have the money and have to cut back in certain areas."

State Sen. Jason Crowell, R-Cape Girardeau, said he hopes Nixon will consider restoring the cuts. Crowell said he plans to visit with county commissioners in his district for examples of how the reductions will affect them. He will then present that information to Nixon in hopes of restoring the funds.

"I agree that Gov. Nixon is constitutionally and duty bound to balance Missouri's budget and that withholds are necessary," Crowell said. "I just disagree with his priorities in this particular area."

bblackwell@semissourian.com

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