I read with interest a little story in the Springfield News-Leader (N-L) this morning.
It seems that Christian County has been noncompliant in collecting property taxes since 2002, after a 2001 election in which a ballot initiative with a erroneously placed decimal point got voter approval.
One gathers that every year since 2001, the State Auditor's office has notified the Attorney General's office of this noncompliance, which in turn sends out a letter advising the county of their noncompliance.
Christian County Clerk Kay Brown indicated in the N-L article that the Commissioners think it is up to "the board" (the N-L article doesn't identify what "board") to put a new initiative before voters and the board thinks it's up to the Commissioners to do so. So, nothing gets done. Since 2001, nothing has gotten done and Christian County continues to collect more in property taxes than what, technically, the voters approved. To be exact, so far, $2.3 million more.
According to the N-L's article Alice Fast, the State Auditor Office's local government director, said this sort of thing happens in many counties. Fast said it isn't a case of Christian county "scamming" their residents because they "intended" to collect 5 cents per $100 of assessed property value but, the amount actually approved by voters was 5/100th of a cent per $100 of assessed property value and the N-L article doesn't point out what they are "noncompliant" with, other than to say they are "noncompliant in collecting property taxes," perhaps the News-Leader feared using the strong language they might have used, Christian County has been noncompliant with State law in collecting property taxes from their residents and have failed to correct it by putting the issue back on the ballot for 7 years. My goodness, that's a lot of years to be made aware of noncompliance with State law and yet, not take action to correct it.
While the board kicks it to the Commissioners and the Commissioners kick it to the board, the N-L quoted the Attorney General Office's Scott Holste:
"If action was to be taken by our (Attorney General's) office, our authority would be to ask for an injunction to stop an improper tax from being collected," Holste said. "That could happen one or two ways: The taxing authority would lower the voter tax or hold a new election in the spring to have the voters approve the tax rate that the taxing authorities are collecting."
I have to wonder how many years a county has to be in noncompliance of State law in collecting property taxes before the State Attorney General's office deems it worthy of action. Clearly, 7 years hasn't been long enough.
(And just an aside to the N-L, who's "Fox?")