Sups make payments, sell tax certificate

The Webster County Board of Supervisors sold some unused property and approved payments related to the county’s ag industrial park at its regular meeting Tuesday morning. The board also heard reports from the county Library Association and the Agricultural Association.

The supervisors voted unanimously to assign a tax sale certificate for some unused land to the adjacent property owner.

“It was a former railroad right of way in the middle of a field,” said Supervisor Mark Campbell. “This is part of the county’s process to clean out the county-held tax certificates.”

The adjacent owner, Frank Green, agreed to buy the certificate by paying the accrued delinquent tax amount of $417.20, and the supervisors agreed to waive the the interests and costs. Campbell said interest had added up to around $900.

When a property owner quits paying taxes on a property, it eventually is sold off by the county at a tax sale. Properties which are not sold after 2 1/2 years become the county’s, Campbell said.

He said some of these properties have belonged to the county for years.

“Ultimately I think we’re going to have another tax sale,” he said. “We’re putting them up for sale to get them back on the tax roles.”

Anyone can buy these certificates, Campbell said, if they pay the delinquent tax amount plus interest and fees. But in order to get the properties back onto the tax roles, he said the county will consider waiving fees.

“We’re willing to work with people if somebody wants to make an offer,” he said.

The county has been getting consulting services from Ruan Securities regarding financial analysis of activities out at the ag park known as Iowa’s Crossroads of Global Innovation, said Supervisor Clark Fletcher.

Tuesday the board authorized payment of $7,000 to Ruan for various consultations over the past three years.

Normally Ruan is paid upon sale of bonds. Now the county has worked out an agreement CJ BioAmerica to go to tax rebates in lieu of issuing bonds, so Ruan is “out of the picture,” Fletcher said.

Fletcher and Supervisor Keith Dencklau said the charge was reasonable.

“If they charged us for everything they did, it would be a lot more,” Dencklau said.

The board heard from the Webster County Library Association regarding its budget. Representatives asked the supervisors to keep the budget the same as it was last year.

“We serve quite a few rural patrons,” said Rita Schmidt, assistant director of the Fort Dodge Public Library.

She said the money helps support popular programs like summer reading, “Zinio” online magazine access, and circulation of Kindles.

Webster County contracts with the libraries at a rate of 27 cents per $1,000, said Webster County Auditor Carol Messerly. This year valuation of the unincorporated county area is slightly lowered, which would lead to a decrease of $1,302 in the $213,832 library budget.

Messerly said the supervisors have kept the budget the same during similar situations in the past. The board took no action, and will discuss it during budget meetings beginning next week.

Karen Anderson, vice president of the county Fair Board, reported on some uses of funding at the fairgrounds.

“We had a wonderful fair compared to years before. Much more attendance,” Anderson said. “We’ve added more events compared to years before.”

More events will be added in the future.

Money was spent this year to rebuild the figure-8 track, she said. An air conditioner broke and was replaced, old tables and chairs were replaced, as was a fence on the west side of the track. There was dust control for the fair and car show, and padlocks were added to the campsites so all campers would pay for electricity.

Today is the last day to apply for the Iowa Business Property Tax Credit, said supervisor Merrill Leffler. Applications must be hand-delivered to the County Assessor’s office, he said.

The tax credit will apply to certain types of commercial property. The amount of the credit depends in part on the total value of all property units statewide.