Board abates taxes for church
Jefferson County Board of Supervisors approved the Schaefer Subdivision, abated property taxes for a church and set a time and date for bid letting of county cropland cash rental at today’s board meeting.
First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) had appeared before the supervisors twice in 2012 after selling a historic church building at Third Street and Burlington Avenue and purchasing another building on South Main Street.
One year ago, representatives from the church asked the supervisors for property tax abatement.
“We sold our former church building at Third and Burlington in April,” Rich Schaub had said at a 2012 supervisors meeting. “It had tax-exempt status. We purchased the old Christian school on South Main that has sat empty except for a short time it operated as a bar.
“As soon as we purchased the new building, we filed for a tax-exempt status, but missed the Feb. 1 deadline,” said Schaub. “We knew we were tax exempt in the old church. We didn’t realize we’d be responsible for property taxes on our new purchase for the next two years.”
The property taxes on the purchased building across from the Jefferson County Health Center, has an annual tax bill of $9,100.
The seller provided $7,300 to pay the first year’s property taxes. A year ago, the supervisors approved abating the balance of $1,800 in property taxes for 2011 tax assessment.
Buildings are assessed in January and it’s 18 months later those property taxes are due. The $7,300 paid by the seller was part of the 2011 assessed taxes, before First Christian Church purchased the property.
The 2012 tax abatement approved today by the supervisors was the full year amount. First Christian Church will have a legal tax-exempt status by the 2013 tax year collections.
“The building you sold went back on the tax rolls for next year,” said Supervisor Dick Reed today.
Jefferson County has 103 acres it cash rents for row crops, and the three-year lease is due for renewal.
“We make money on renting it and we pay taxes on it,” said Reed. “I think we should let it for lease again.”
He said Steve Greiner has had the lease on the land for a while, but he’d received another call from someone also interested in leasing it.
Rental bids will be due at 4 p.m. Sept. 27. The bid will be awarded at the regular supervisors meeting at 9 a.m. Sept. 30.
County Engineer Scott Cline said secondary roads crews had been replacing culverts, blading roads and mowing the past week.
“The contractor working on Brookville Roads’ double boxed culvert finished pouring concrete and that needs a week before dirt can be back filled around,” he said. “They’ll probably start back-filling later this week, continue shaping the road, place rip-rap for channel protection and seed the area.”
Cline said the Department of Transportation has concurred with the project to re-deck a bridge on Brookville Road that crosses Mitchell Creek.
“The contractor would like to start that right after Labor Day,” he said.
Cline estimated the project would take a month to a month and a half to complete.
“It will require another detour,” he said. “People can take whatever gravel shortcuts they know, but we need to provide a paved alternate and place signs.”
Remarks for the engineer relayed by supervisors or the public attending the meeting today included:
• Mowing had not been done at all in front of five to six houses on 155th Street off Highway 1 East, a hard surface road. Cline made a note about it.
• Reed said he’d gotten requests for dust proofing on a gravel road on the west side of a church.
“We don’t dust-proof everything,” he said. “A lack of rain has made everything dusty.
“On our road tour a week ago, things were looking good,” he said.
• Supervisor Becky Schmitz heard from a resident about getting on the list for seal-coating next year.
“Highway 1 turns to 160th Street to Packwood, it’s been seal coated before and there’s still some remnants of seal coating,” she said. “It’s his understanding it’s supposed to be seal coated a few more times, so he would like it on the list for next year.”
Schmitz said the state auditor had found 11 issues in an audit for fiscal year ended June 2011.
“In fiscal year 2012, it was down to five problems,” she said. “Only one of those five remain to correct, the other four were corrected since February. It has to do with Southern Iowa Economic Development Association invoices.
“It’s been great having Pathfinders as fiscal agent.”
Reed reported Maasdam Barns is getting ready to form a third committee, an events committee to plan and organize events at the barns.
“We’re getting ready to add a clothesline on the property and hang a permanent quilt on the line,” he said. “The quilt was made at Prison Industries.
“And we have 15 chickens out there, friendly chickens, the 14 hens should be laying eggs by Christmas.”
Reed said anyone wanting to volunteer is welcome to become involved with Maasdam Barns.
“We have a lot of work to do yet, we have a great caretaker, and we have plans for more events,” he said.