County commissioner proposes tax break for elderly
It’s just an idea now, but if Leavenworth County Commissioner J.C. Tellefson can do it, he would like the other commissioners to consider giving a tax break to some county residents.
At a recent meeting, commissioners John Flower and Clyde Graeber listened to Tellefson’s request to give disabled or elderly residents a tax rebate on any increases to their property taxes.
“The way I envision it to be, if a household is on disability, then that person’s tax bill will not be increased other than improvements to their property,” Tellefson said. “If nothing has changed then your tax bill would not change.”
The tax rebate will be solely on the county’s portion of property taxes and will not go toward any tax increase from any other taxing entity. Tellefson wants the property to be appraised as normal and he wants the property owner to pay their taxes in full, including any increases, but a rebate check would be issued for the county’s portion of the taxes if there were increases.
While he didn’t have any exact numbers on hand, he roughly calculated that it would have cost the county less than $300,000 between 2004 and 2009.
Graeber said he was willing to support Tellefson’s request for a work session to determine the feasibility and constitutionality of the proposal, but from his experience he doesn’t think it will be possible.
“From all my years on the legislature and having served on the tax committee for a number of years, I’m not sure if you can do this,” Graeber said.
Tellefson acknowledged that this may be an exercise in futility, but he is willing to give it a shot.
“I believe this is a way I can give (county tax payers) piece of mind on that portion (of their taxes),” he said.
The work session is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Sept. 16 at the Leavenworth County Courthouse.
In other business Monday, commissioners:
• Unanimously approved the community corrections carryover funds document.
• Unanimously approved the expenditure of funds as requested by the Basehor Historical Museum.
• Unanimously approved the authorization to sign paperwork related to the ST-48 bridge replacement.
In other business Thursday, commissioners:
• Unanimously voted to accept the bid and enter into a contract with The Branch Manager for $6,370. The bid was to trim 44 trees and remove three trees on the Leavenworth County Courthouse and Leavenworth County Justice Center properties.
• Unanimously voted to once again accept the Emergency Management 911 Telephone Tariff of $.75 per hardwire telephone users per year.
• Unanimously voted to have dumping cease and desist until a special use permit or temporary use permit is obtained for the dumpsites at 30119 171st St., and 18352 Shawnee Rd.
• Unanimously approved the replatting of Rocking “C” Estates.
• Unanimously approved the special use permit for Jim and Terri Kerby to operate a pumpkin patch on their property.
• Unanimously voted to limit the number of special use permits to one parcel to two permits.
In other business Aug. 24, the commissioners:
• Discussed the three options given to them by Gossen Livingstone Architecture for the new Leavenworth County EMS headquarters. Option A, at an approximate $1.8 million, would be a stand-alone building east of the Leavenworth County Health Department. Option B, at an approximate $1.4 million, would have a smaller stand-alone building for crew space, storage and vehicles, but would require EMS administration to move into the space occupied by the Leavenworth County Extension Office. Option C, approximately $1.4 million, would move the extension office to another location, and the vacant space would be modified to house the station. The commissioners wanted more time to look at design plans and drawings before making a decision and tabled the decision.
• Unanimously accepted a bid from Qwest Communications to provide long-distance service for county offices.
In other business Aug. 21, the commissioners:
Entered into executive session with Heather Morgan, county administrator, for a total of 17 minutes to discuss non-elected personnel.
• Listened to quarterly reports from the county human resources department.
• Unanimously voted to adjust the personnel policy handbook section regarding eligibility on benefits based on hours worked per pay period.
• Voted 2-1 to table any decision on an access management policy on County Road 1 until the planning and zoning department reviews the policy further. Flower had the dissenting vote. Tellefson wanted to see access points every half-mile along CR1 with quarter-mile access between Cantrell and Linwood roads. Flower wanted to be able to have right-in right-out access on the road.
• Listened to a monthly report form the public works department.
• Unanimously voted to set the speed along CR1 at 55 mph.
• Unanimously voted to accept the bid from Independent Salt Co., for road salt. Independent’s price was $54.83 per ton versus Dale Brother’s bid price of $76.50 per ton.