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About those additional levied funds

Guest Opinion

Guest Opinion

Guest Opinion

It is with frustration that I find a need to clear up wild, confusing statements and irrational questions made by a former Idaho County Commissioner in a recent letter.


Skip Brandt

It is now obvious that someone has no clue about the realities of what takes place in the trenches of the county government he oversaw for six years. Perhaps someone should have taken in one of those annual “Budget and Levy” workshops that the Idaho State Tax Commission puts on for elected officials. Or just maybe during those years in county government, someone should have taken some time to visit with and understand what the county assessor, treasurer and auditor and their employees really do. But then, as long as someone else was there to deal with those petty little details…why bother?

All jousting aside, here is the reality. The Board of County Commissioners has no jurisdictional authority over other taxing districts, such as schools. The taxing districts have not received any SRS funds yet and if we do, it probably will not until after our budgeting process. If we could just hit one button on a computer and return all the additional levied funds with no cost, there would not be an issue. However, that is not the case and here are some of those petty little details — there are 9,750 parcels of land in the affected Idaho County Road and Bridge District. Every one of those parcels would need to be touched numerous times by someone (auditing and treasurer’s staff who do not work for free).

Why is that?

Some of the owners of those properties will have paid their property tax bill in full. Some will have only paid the first half (as allowed by state statutes). Some will have paid nothing and are being charged late fees and interest. Some may have sold their property after paying the taxes and thus, they should get a refund instead of the current deed holder. Some will have met the ‘Circuit Breaker’ requirements and the State will have paid the taxes. And, of course, there is the fact that a tax bill is made up of a bunch of different amounts from different taxing entities. This is no small detail. Some may believe that they are owed interest on their money. Where would that extra money come from? Shall we charge it to the next guy and take it from those not paying their taxes like the rest of us? In reality, some of those delinquent taxes will never be paid and the property may go to a tax deed sale three years down the road. If that is the case, should we hold that interest portion and pay when the county receives it from those parcels? And the final reality—the cost expanding our accounts payable system with an additional 9,000 vendors so we can produce the checks. Oh, and of course, there is the issue of providing IRS paperwork to complete the package.

Just to clear the record, this Idaho County Commissioner “leader” is not confused at all “about what to do with” the levied monies for the Idaho County Road Department. As a true conservative, I do not see a need to frivolously spend taxpayers’ money just to make a statement, nor will I ever knowingly break the law or waste taxpayer money. Again, if someone had taken the time to pay attention and understood the complexities/realities of what it takes behind the scenes to get stuff done, they might have a different perspective.


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