November 12, 2012 Rotogram: 19

HEALTH AND DIET

Nutrition and a healthy diet will be discussed by David Allen, local chiropractor.

NEXT WEEK: THANKFUL THOUGHTS

Reflections on Thanksgiving will be led by several Rotarians at our next meeting.

CHRISTMAS FLOAT

It’s time to prepare Santa’s ride for the Starkville Christmas parade on November 26. Rotarians who have joined the Club in the past two years comprise the float prep committee. If you don’t already have an assignment, check with chief elf Marc McGee.

BELL RINGING TIME

We ring the Salvation Army Christmas bells at WalMart on Wednesday, November 28, and Fri- day, December 14. Ringers will be needed from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Sign the volunteer sheet on the secretary’s check-in table.

BETWEEN THE LIONS

Volunteers are needed to read to pre-schoolers each week. The commitment takes about one hour.

We read to two classes at the Emerson Family Resource Center at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, and at Brickfire and First Presbyterian at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday.  Let Hal Rowland know when you can help.

BANK DRAFT INCENTIVE ENDS THIS WEEK

You have two more days to take advantage of the board’s offer to add a $50 Rotary Foundation credit for any Rotarian who converts his/her dues payment to bank draft. Until November 15, all new drafts will be rewarded with an additional half year’s Paul Harris contribution. Contact President Debra, Secretary Nellah Taylor, or Treasurer Clay Richardson.

MEETING NOTES

  • President Debra expressed the Club’s concern for Rotarian Marshall Molen who is recovering from serious injuries sustained in a fall through his house ceiling.
  • Program Committee member  Bob  Daniels explained that over the next six months, we will have briefings from all elected city and county officials.

 BOARD MEETS TOMORROW

The monthly board of directors meeting is at Harvey’s Boardroom at 11:45 a.m. tomorrow.

FOR THE RECORD—NOVEMBER 5

Invocation and Pledge:        Grant Arinder

Attendance:                                           50%

Present — 90 (28 exempt, 1 honorary)

Absent — 88 (17 exempt, 10 honorary)

Guests:   Visiting   Rotarian   was Jimmy McCluskey from Waco, Tex. Guest of the Club was Giulia Martinoli, Rotary Youth Exchange student.

MORGAN HIGHLIGHTS NEW SERVICES IN COUNTY TAX OFFICE

Nov. 5 — Allen Morgan, Oktibbeha County tax assessor/collector, recounted his efforts to re-order his department since taking office in December, 2011.

The assessor is responsible for the discovery and valuation of all taxable property in the county. So, Morgan has spent his first year updating the taxpayer roll and identifying delinquents.

He explained that two areas needed quite a bit of improvement.

“Mobile home tax delinquencies were a terrible mess,” said the 29-year veteran of the state tax commission. “Some were 15 years behind.”

The concerted collection effort has reaped more than 100,000 additional dollars of county revenue. More than 1,000 letters were sent trying to identify people who haven’t paid in years and years.

The assessor’s staff found a lot of the homes on record were no longer in Oktibbeha County. They had been repossessed, were destroyed by fire, tornadoes or high wind, or were not livable and sold for scrap.

The annual mobile home tax is due at the first of the year. State law says Morgan’s office is supposed to sell them to collect back tax. However, owners on limited incomes pose a challenge to find ways to get them caught up.

Many local business and personal taxes have not been paid in years, some since the late 90s. Morgan reported that this past summer a drive collected more than $300,000 in just 90 days.

State law requires an annual land sale to recoup delinquent real estate taxes. The sale on the last Monday in August recovered nearly $1.2 million in back taxes.

Delinquent properties are sold to the highest and best bidder. State regulation allows the tax collector to sell to anyone who overbids the tax bill for the particular piece of land. This year, more than $33,000 in overbids went into the county’s general fund. The buyer pays the county the past three years’ delinquent taxes.

The core of the challenge to tax management is data collection, storage and access. One deputy does all the data entry. Everything has to be recorded by June. The assessor then must present the new tax roll to supervisors on the first Monday of July.

Information is gathered by several contract appraisers who ride the county roads looking for new construction, building additions, or buildings that have been torn down or burned down.

In  the  past  year,  the  assessor’s  office  has been bolstered by a part-time contractor with 25 years experience in another county.

“What I’m real proud of is that you can now go on line and pay your real property tax,” said Morgan. “And, you can renew your car tag.”

The office also now can take credit or debit cards. The only drawback is the credit card companies’ transaction fee that is passed on to the customer.

The assessor’s section of the new county Web site links to Tri-State Consulting Services, Inc. which provides county maps and data that enable users to access and analyze information.  It features a complete range of mapping and aerial photography services.

Morgan reminded Rotarians to be sure that their homestead exemptions are up-to-date. Any change in deed requires the exemption to be re-filed.

~ Visit the new county Web site at oktibbehacountyms.org. Find the Tax Office link on the Department panel. ~

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