Property assessments slightly lower again

Continuing a recent trend, overall assessments of residential and commercial property in Monroe County for 2013 are slightly lower on average than last year.

A complete list of assessed property in Monroe County appears in this week’s print edition of the Republic-Times.

Property has been assessed at $850,740,067 for 2013.  That is a slight decrease, as real estate values have continued to coast down. That will be further reduced by an estimated $89 million when exemptions to assessed valuations, for owner occupancy, senior freezes and for disabled military veterans, are deducted.

An as yet undetermined reduction may occur when persons go to the board of review with individual requests.

Any person who feels their tax assessment is unfair or in error has 30 days to appeal with the board of review on the first floor of the courthouse. After that, a final multiplier will be applied by the state to create tax bills.

County board meets

In related news, the Monroe County Board met Monday in its final regular public session of 2013.

Treasurer Kevin Koenigstein reported that the new Oak Hill bonds closed successfully on Dec. 10.

“First payments on the new bonds will be made March 1,” he said. “Those bond payments will be made through UMB Bank of St. Louis.”

County Zoning and Planning Director Mike Fausz noted a slight uptick in new construction this year, with permits going from 28 to 33.  He also said there has been a slight increase in permits for additions and improvements.

Palmier Cemetery trustee Vern Ritter told commissioners that the cemetery added 36 grave locations this year, to bring the total number of available graves to 50. Ritter also noted the cemetery is placing new concrete foundations to firmly support future grave markers.

In her report, Oak Hill director Kim Keckritz listed top objectives for the facility in 2014, including completion of a new quarter-mile walking trail to promote exercise and wellness and implementing a new electronic system for managing medications.

Ambulance Director Carla Heise showed the board a possible solution to the challenge of safely moving heavier patients while simultaneously minimizing possible injury to ambulance crews.  The solution discussed was the possible acquisition of a power lift stretcher capable of moving patients up to 700 pounds.

She also said the new ambulance should be delivered in late March or early April.

Mechicko White, Executive Director of Court Appointed Special Advocates of Southwestern Illinois, requested the consideration of an added fee to the costs of persons and firms convicted of certain types of misdemeanors and felonies to be used to support the CASA program.

CASA is a non-profit organization that serves to represent the best interests of children in abuse or neglect cases.  The fee system, which would assess varying fees associated with different classes of misdemeanors and felonies, was approved by the state in House Bill 2690, which permits amounts from $10 to $30 to be added to court fees for this purpose.

The board took the matter under advisement and will answer the request in a future session.

The following appointments were approved: Mike Kovarik and Barbara Pace were reappointed to the Western Egyptian Economic Board of Directors; James Agne and Daniel Davis were reappointed to the Monroe County Regional Planning Commission; Janet McCarthy was reappointed to the Monroe County Nursing Home Endowment Association; Mike Pate, Carla Heise, Vicki Koerber, John Conrad and Dan Cocos were reappointed to the Monroe County Local Emergency Planning Committee.

Property tax sale

The current property tax cycle came to an end Tuesday morning with the annual property tax lien sale at the courthouse.

Koenigstein conducted the sale, comprised of some 200 parcels with tax liens totaling nearly $500,000. There are 17,000 property parcels in Monroe County, and the unpaid taxes totaled about one percent of the total bills.

Koenigstein said both the numbers of liens and amounts of taxes overdue are in keeping with recent years. He noted several persons or businesses whose property had been cited in the Dec. 4 edition of the Republic-Times had paid their taxes in recent days, including two just before the sale.

In the sale, 18 individuals or firms who had pre-registered sat at tables in the old courtroom and bid on parcels. Bids were in the form of interest rates to be paid by owners to redeem their properties.  In return, bidders paid the taxes and could either be repaid at the winning interest rate or claim the property after three years.

Interest is subject to compounding every six months.

Early bids generally ran in the middle to low single digit range – two to five percent.

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Alan Dooley

Alan is a photojournalist -- he both shoots pictures and writes for the R-T. A 31-year Navy vet, he has lived worldwide, but with his wife Sherry, calls a rambling house south of Waterloo home. Alan counts astronomy as a hobby and is fascinated by just about everything scientific.
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