Webster County Supervisors discuss land tax refunds

By Daniel Brunty

The Webster Progress-Times

The Webster County Board of Supervisors on Monday discussed how to resolve the error caused by destroyed documents from the courthouse fire that affected land tax records.

The board as well as the tax assessor’s office previously sent letters and placed public announcements in the Progress-Times urging county residents who paid taxes, including garbage fees and car tags, or filed homestead exemptions during the three days preceding the Jan. 17 fire to bring in the receipts.

Both the board and the tax assessor’s office have been requesting the information because of the loss of three days of records (Jan 14-16) in the courthouse fire. Because of this loss, the office had no proof that some residents had paid their land taxes. This led to their names being added by error to the delinquent tax list, in which their land was sold during the July land tax sale. The land is then sold to a tax buyer, which is usually a mortgage company.

The supervisors discussed with Tax Assessor-Collector Barbara Gore how they were seeing signs of progress, with a few residents already bringing their proof of payments to the tax assessor’s office. Once the information is received, each resident’s proof will be presented to the board and a motion will be considered to refund the tax buyer in each case the amount paid in the tax sale, which will allow the landowner to be in satisfactory status regarding land tax payments.

The supervisors want to resolve this issue in a timely manner, so they will work closely with the tax assessor and chancery clerk’s offices to bring all residents who were affected by this error into satisfactory status.

Supervisors voted Monday to approve refunds for a few residents who had submitted their proof of payment already. As more residents bring in their proof, they will be presented to the board and handled accordingly.

Other Business

In other news, the board voted to:

• designate the Mantee water tower at Scott and Second streets as a school bus turnaround for the 2013-14 school year.

• place an ad in the Progress-Times’ upcoming At Home magazine.

• budget for Data Systems Inc. off-site backup. This is to allow the saving of county data to a remote location.

• amend the transfer line in the budget to allow each supervisor to contribute $1,000 for the blacktop fund.

• give Receiving Clerk Steve Hodges permission to set up 911 addresses.

• authorize Emergency Management Agency Director Barry Rushing and board President Pat Cummings to sign a grant agreement for equipment that includes two iPads with OtterBox cases and Mophie Juice Pak rechargeable battery. The Board of Supervisors recessed until Sept. 30.