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Grant will cover costs for tax collection change

September 17, 2010
By BRIAN FERRY bferry@timesobserver.com
The good news is Warren County received grant money to cover costs accumulated in meeting a new state guideline. The bad news is that the money had to be spent despite very little actual change taking place locally. The state Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) required counties to establish a tax collector for the county as a Tax Collection District. The goal was to cut down on the number of tax collectors in the state. In many counties, tax collection commissions decided to to outsource tax collection services, according to Warren County Tax Collection Commission Chairman Petter Turnquist. Hiring an outside firm probably would have been more expensive for Warren County. “When we checked into it in the past it appeared as though it was going to cost more,” Turnquist said. In the county, living up to the requirements was very simple. “We had to comply with the law, which states that we had to appoint a tax collector,” Turnquist said. The Warren County School District’s Earned Income Tax office was already doing the work. No consolidations were needed, no positions were eliminated. Appointing that office as the official tax collector was a matter of approving a motion. “We’re already complying,” Turnquist said. “We have a system in place that works well and the consensus of the delegates is that they want to keep things as they are.” “The transition will be seamless since no significant change in the collection process will occur other than oversight by the tax collection commission,” he said. DCED required every county have resolutions passed by Sept. 15 and to implement tax collection districts no later than Jan. 1, 2012. “We still have to go through the motions,” Turnquist said. “The commission has costs.” DCED awarded the county a $5,000 matching grant to cover the commission’s expenses. The county’s 27 municipalities will be billed for their shares of the matching $5,000, Turnquist said. “These invoices will be sent out over the next couple of weeks.” He said most, if not all, of the municipalities’ leaders were already aware that they would be billed for commission expenses. “That was brought up at our April meeting,” Turnquist said.
 
 

 

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