Commissioners revise rules for late tax listings

Parks, Smith retain positions on board
Dec. 03, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

The Lee County Board of Commissioners approved a series of guidelines concerning late listings of taxable properties and retroactively lessened a penalty for one business Monday.

Commissioners also re-elected Charlie Parks and Kirk Smith as chairman and vice chairman, respectively.

Commissioners, in a split vote, issued a $25,176.54 penalty to Magneti Marelli for listing its taxable property late during the board's Nov. 18 meeting. During Monday's meeting, Commissioners Parks, Andre Knecht, Robert Reives and Jim Womack voted to reduce that penalty to $5,000 — in compliance with the board's new guidelines that were also approved during the meeting. Commissioners Smith and Ricky Frazier voted against the motion.

A 10 percent penalty is added to any property that is not properly listed during the correct listing period, according to Lee County Tax Administrator Mary Yow.

"It's an insult to the taxpayers they didn't have the decency to file in a timely matter," Smith said. "They received $40,000 of taxpayer money (in the form of economic grants)."

Parks, who originally voted in favor of the $25,000 penalty, said "he was not sure what [commissioners] were doing last time" and thought the company was not paying their taxes on time.

Womack, who made the motion to lessen the penalty, said it was appropriate for the board to merciful and not burden the company or force the business to lay someone off. 

Under the approved guidelines, commissioners may reduce the penalty by 90 percent if the listing is received within five days of the listing deadline or reduce the penalty by 50 percent if the listing is received within 30 days of the deadline. The penalty may not exceed $5,000, and the companies may be ineligible for a compromise if they've received economic development grants or have filed late within the last five years.  

In other matters, commissioners:

  • Kept the board's meeting time, 6 p.m., the same for the upcoming year.
  • Approved three grant applications, the 2014 Seniors Health Insurance Information Outreach Grant, the 2014 Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Grant and the 2013 Homeland Security Grant Program.
  • Permanently closed a portion of Bruce Coggins Road.