Officials Agree To Change Ballot Verbiage - The Missourian: Local News

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Officials Agree To Change Ballot Verbiage

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Posted: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 2:30 pm | Updated: 9:17 pm, Sat Jun 22, 2013.

Aldermen Monday added a phrase to make the ballot language of a proposition more clear.

Last week, Alderman Jim Albrecht Monday said the language for the proposition to change the elected position of the city collector to an appointed position does not specifically state that is the purpose of the measure.

Officials agreed to place a measure on the April municipal ballot asking if voters would like to eliminate the elected collector position, and instead make the position appointed.

Albrecht asked that it specifically be stated on the ballot that the voters are being asked to change an elected position to one that is appointed.

“It needs to ask if (the collector) should be appointed, not elected,” Albrecht said last week. “It’s not clear to me at all and I know what’s going on — I’m thinking of the average senior citizen.”

Following a recommendation to add a sentence to the ballot language, it was approved Monday to read:

“Shall the Board of Aldermen of the City of Union, Missouri, appoint by city ordinance a person to the position of Collector to serve at the Board’s discretion as provided for in Section 79.050 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri (2007). Instead of the current elected position.”

In 2009, aldermen passed an ordinance that stripped the collector’s position of all duties and reduced the salary to $1 compensation.

By state statute, aldermen can set the salary of an elected position but cannot eliminate the position without a vote of the people.

Now, the city contracts collection services with Franklin County. The city collector is Terry Copeland. His term expires in April 2014.

According to Union Finance Officer Heather Keith, last year the county charged the city a $4,000 fee for collection services 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.

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 most recent 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.

This 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.

/local_news

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