Pacific, County May Fix Tax Collection Problems - The Missourian: Local News

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Pacific, County May Fix Tax Collection Problems

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Posted: Saturday, March 30, 2013 4:00 pm

A week after Franklin County commissioners terminated the contract to collect the city of Pacific’s taxes, officials now say that the agreement could be renewed.

Pacific Mayor Herb Adams told The Missourian Thursday that Pacific officials are working with Franklin County representatives to work out a solution.

The county terminated the contract last week because of differences between the two entities in terms of how to go about collecting taxes.

County Collector of Revenue Linda Emmons said a Pacific ordinance regarding tax collections was causing problems for her office.

Pacific officials refused to change the ordinance to Emmons’ liking, and therefore the county terminated the contract to collect the  city’s taxes.

But now a new deal between the city and the county could be reached to allow the county to collect Pacific’s taxes again. The aldermen may consider approval of the deal at their Tuesday meeting.

Adams said the deal could involve the city of Pacific changing its ordinance regarding tax collections to mirror the city of Washington’s. The county collects Washington’s taxes.

Strained Relations

County Commissioner Tim Brinker said he is hopeful that Pacific and the county can reach an agreement.

“We’re all in this together,” Brinker said.

In recent weeks, the relationship between Pacific and Franklin County has been strained. This is not only because of the tax contract but also the fact that Pacific sued the Brush Creek Sewer District, which is overseen by the three county commissioners.

However, Brinker said he thinks the relationship between the two entities could be improving.

Brinker added that one of his goals when he became a county commissioner was to put a stop to the political animosity.

It is easy for personalities to get involved, Brinker said. But he noted that everyone needs to get along to some degree to reach a common goal.

Brinker said he and Emmons met with Pacific City Administrator Harold Selby last week to come to an agreement.

“By no means is there anything set in stone,” Brinker said.

In terms of the relationship between the county and Pacific, Adams said there can be disagreements between friends. The goal is to get past the differences, he said.

Contract Renewal

Adams said the cost of the agreement would remain the same as the old one at $2,000 a year for Emmons and $2,000 for the county clerk.

When the contract was terminated a week ago, talks between the county and Pacific were still ongoing, Adams said.

After the contract was terminated, it appeared that Pacific was going to start collecting its own taxes again. But Adams said it is in the best interest of Pacific residents that the county collect the taxes. This way, the residents get one tax bill as opposed to one bill for city taxes and another bill from the county for various other taxing entities.

It is unclear how Pacific’s ordinance may be changed to meet the needs of Emmons’ office. Emmons declined comment on the issue, and other officials did not know the specifics of what may be done.

Emmons said the ordinance needs to be changed because the way it is set up now was causing people to come to her office asking that their city taxes be separated from other taxes on their bill.

Some Pacific property owners apparently only wanted to pay their municipal taxes and not taxes due to other entities so they could get city utility connections, businesses licenses and permits.

Emmons said she did not want to split out taxes from the bill and no longer wanted to be caught in the middle of the problem.

/local_news

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