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home : news : news Friday, April 29, 2016

10/16/2013 Email this articlePrint this article 
Questions linger over commercial property tax reduction
Four months after the legislature passed a bill to reduce commercial property taxes, many questions remain about how the measure will be implemented, according to Clinton County auditor Eric Van Lancker.

Van Lancker told the Clinton County Board of Supervisors Oct. 7 he expected to have more questions than answers after attending a meeting this week with county auditors, treasurers and officials with the Iowa Department of Revenue to discuss how the state will deal with the new commercial property tax credit.

The tax credit is just one portion of a major reform of Iowa's tax code designed to significantly lower the tax burden on commercial property. When it is fully phased in, the credit will reduce the taxable valuation on the first $145,000 of the assessed value of commercial property to the same rate as residential property, according to an analysis by the Nyemaster Good law firm.

Van Lancker said not enough time has been allowed to implement the change and described it as "another mess given to us by the state."

Commercial property owners can begin filing applications for the tax credit with the county assessor's office Jan. 15 that will affect the 2013 property valuations. Property owners will receive that tax bill in the fall of 2014.

Despite the approaching deadline, the legislation doesn't include any administrative rules on how the tax credit process will work, and state officials still haven't answered the question, Van Lancker said.

Implementing the tax credit will have a "huge impact" on the software Clinton and other counties use to manage the tax system, including requiring vendors to re-write programs, he said.

"There was no regard to how this was going to work," Van Lancker said.

County officials would have preferred having another year to implement the change, he said.

"I'm sure there will be some hiccups, but we'll figure it out and make it work," Van Lancker said.

Other business

In other business Oct. 7, the supervisors:

•Approved the appointment of Ray Tieso to the case management/mental health advisory board.

•Approved the final payment to Mannatt's Inc. for resurfacing of 220th Avenue (old Hwy. 61) from Hwy. 136 to the Maquoketa city limits.

•Approved an agreement with the Iowa Governor's Traffic Safety Bureau to provide overtime and equipment for the purpose of enforcing traffic safety laws.

•Accepted the resignation of Lisa Jewel as a full-time clerk II in the county recorder's office.

•Accepted the resignation of Dennis Sander as a part-time transport officer with the Clinton County sheriff's office.

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