County property tax levy to remain at 6 cents

With discussions of a possible public safety sales tax still on the horizon, the Platte County property tax levy will remain at 6 cents per $100 assessed valuation this year.

Commissioners said at the administrative session held Tuesday, Sept. 4 that while they don’t relish the idea of keeping the levy at this level while potentially asking for an additional tax, their long-range plan includes eventual reduction of the property tax levy.

Additionally, this year marks the last year the county should need to make special arrangements to re-establish its legal tax levy ceiling. As he has done for the last few years, county attorney Bob Shaw explained Platte County’s unique situation.

In 2014, 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 Auditor’s Office.

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

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 had to recoup 52 cents worth of taxation lost over those years.

The county was told to recoup reductions within the next four to six years and Shaw said it has stayed on track. Platte County was expected to take at least 10 cents off the recoupment amount each year. By keeping the levy at 6 cents for another year, Shaw said the county could probably retire the recoupment within the next year.

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.

Levies for the county road and bridge district and drainage district were also approved. Although the ceiling for the road and bridge levy went up slightly, the approved levy remains at 32 cents. The drainage ditch levy also remains at around 7 cents.

Also at the meeting, the commissioners proclaimed September as Senior Citizen Month. The Platte County Senior Fairs will be held Sept. 20 at the Riverside Community Center and Sept. 27 at the Platte County Community Center North in Platte City. Committee chair Carolyn Horseman said the fairs draw an ever-increasing number of seniors. The free event includes health screenings such as blood pressure and blood sugar checks, entertainment, lunch and information on healthy living.