Union voters will likely choose in April to keep or eliminate the elected city collector position.
The city’s personnel, finance and public works committee agreed to place a measure on the April 2013 ballot asking voters if they would like to eliminate that position.
In 2009, aldermen passed an ordinance that stripped the collector’s position of all duties and reduced the salary to $1 compensation, and to contract collection services with Franklin County.
The city collector is Terry Copeland. His term expires in April 2014.
By state statute, aldermen can set the salary of an elected position but cannot eliminate the position without a vote of the people.
According to Union Finance Officer Heather Keith, last year the county charged the city for collection service a $4,000 fee and about 2 percent of the total taxes collected.If all Union residents would have paid taxes last year, the county would have taken 2 percent of $1,850,033, or just over $21,000.
However not all residents paid the taxes owed.
Keith noted that the benefits and payments to the city’s insurance provider totaled $60,398 for the city collector prior to Copeland.“It is time to proceed with this,” said Alderman Bob Schmuke.
“We didn’t do this before because we wanted to make sure it benefited the city.”City Administrator Russell Rost said he contacted City Collector Terry Copeland to inform him that the committee would discuss the elimination of the collector’s position.
The county collector’s office began collecting for municipalities in 1998 when it started collecting for Washington.
Other cities began soliciting the service. In 2010, Union was the latest to have the county collect its taxes.Each of the cities the county collects for is assessed a charge for the service.
One and one-half percent of the total charge goes to the collector’s fund and one-half percent goes to the assessor’s fund.That money goes to the general revenue fund and offsets the extra costs in each office.
In addition to the collector and assessor charges, the county collector and clerk each get a $2,000 commission for their services. T
his is because both are held personally accountable for the accuracy of their offices.Berger, Gerald, Leslie, Oak Grove Village and Parkway Village do not have to pay to have the county collect their taxes for them because so little tax is collected.
Another benefit to cities is that the county is better able to collect on delinquent bills.
As long as the individual lives within the state, he or she will have to pay personal property tax to renew license plates and tags at the Missouri Department of Revenue.