October 14, 2010

One more chance to protest special assessment taxes

By Michael Johnson, Editor

Given the task of taxing the residents of Washburn for street, sewer and water projects is not one many would jump into. Brent Barnick’s second meeting on the tax assessment board happened to be one of the most educational he would ever experience. He, along with chairman Luke Retterath and Mike Blevins, faced about 40 residents on Oct. 4 at the tax assessment meeting where residents were given the chance to voice their protests one by one to the three board members along with city auditor Milissa Price, city attorney David Lindell and city engineer Dave Thompson of Toman Engineering. They endured the protests for nearly four-and-one-half hours. The assessments covered four improvement projects in the city, three for streets and one for water and sewer. The majority of the publics’ protests centered around how their property wouldn’t benefit from the improvement project, how their property wasn’t worth the special assessments against it, how many didn’t have the income to pay for the taxes, how platted and unplatted land was assessed differently and how the board decided on dividing the costs. Special assessment board members reminded the crowd that they were not responsible for setting the boundaries, that was up to city commissioners. What all protestors had to show was whether the tax assessed was equal to the benefit received by having the improvement.

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