Platte County property tax rate remains level

Platte County property taxes will remain at 6 cents this year in the continuing effort to reverse a funding gap for the federally-mandated emergency radio update and to help address a past error made in paperwork. In a unanimous vote, the Platte County Commission upheld the 6-cent property tax rate set last year when the commissioners raised the levy from 1 cent to 6 cents per $100 of assessed valuation with a 2-1 vote. Levies for the county road and bridge district and drainage district were also approved with the road and bridge levy remaining at 32 cents and the drainage ditch levy decreasing slightly by a fraction of a cent from last year.

The drainage ditch levy remains at 7 cents.

Five cents of the 6-cent general fund levy are dedicated to pay off the county’s lease agreement on the narrow-band police radio system. The payments will continue for the next six years on the current lease agreement.

Additionally, the commission continued its efforts to recoup its proper levy ceiling. Last year, the county was forced to reset its levy ceiling at the level approved by voters in 1980 — at 35 cents per $100 assessed valuation — due to an error discovered in the Missouri State Auditor’s Office.

After an investigation, it was discovered due to clerical errors the property tax levy ceiling was lowered from approximately 19 cents in 2012 to 1 cent in 2013. This figure matches the actual assessed levy set by the Platte County Commission for 2013. The levy paperwork was submitted incorrectly in 2011, 2012 and 2013 with the error only discovered by the state in 2013.

Platte County attorney Bob Shaw explained the situation last year and noted at the Sept. 8 tax hearing that the county was still working toward recouping its levy.

Last year, the commission also approved a resolution setting forth the procedure for recoupment of sales tax reductions previously omitted from property tax levy rate calculations. Tax levy calculations are complex and generally mandated by state and local statutes and guidelines, but due to the miscalculations made in 2011-13, Platte County must recoup 52 cents worth of taxation lost.

Shaw said during discussions with the Missouri State Auditor’s Office, the county must make a good faith effort to recoup those reductions, preferably within the next four to six years. Platte County is expected to take at least 10 cents off the recoupment amount each year, Shaw said.

Last year, the county recouped nearly 11 cents worth and set the general fund levy at 6 cents. This year, another 10 cents will be recouped with the levy ceiling set at 16 cents, after required deductions due to the county sales tax.

Also at the meeting, the commissioners approved three rezoning orders to rezone tracts from agricultural use to various residential uses. Approved were changes to 10 acres off Baker Road for Vincent and LaDonna Benne; 27.5 acres off Highway H for the Owen R. Hull Trust; and 10 acres off Wellman Road for Robin Gifford and Gail Berkowitz Gifford.