Pioneer Village raises rate to offset assessment

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By The Staff

PIONEER VILLAGE - Cities throughout the county are facing a common problem - decreasing real estate values, especially when homestead exemptions are taken out for older residents.

In the city of Pioneer Village, the adjusted assessments on real estate dropped over $1.4 million for the current year.

Pioneer Village city officials opted to take the compensating rate on real property as a way to generate about the same revenue as a year ago.

Last year’s real property rate was set at 12.4 cents per $100 of assessed property. This amounts to $124 for a $100,000 home.

Under the approved tax rate, the council set the rate at 12.52 cents per $100 of assessed property. For the same $100,000 home, Pioneer Village residents would pay $125.20.

Under the provisions of House Bill 44, the city could have raised the rate to 13.02 cents without facing any ramifications by the public.

By taking the compensating rate, the city would recover $2,500 it could lose if it retained the 12.4 cent rate.

Bills paid before Nov. 1 would receive a 2 percent discount.

On the personal property tax, the rate would go to 14.4 cents. That is an increase from the current 13.4 cents.

Councilman Denver Matthews called himself fiscally conservative but also said the reality of the situation was that the city needed revenue.

The council did keep the public service tax rate steady at 17 cents per $100.

In other business:

*The council tabled any discussion about taking over maintenance of Morningside Drive.

Mayor Gary Hatcher said there were still some drainage issues to address.

The issue would be considered in September.

*Concerns over maintenance of foreclosed properties were again mentioned.

City attorney Mark Edison said once the property is sold at the courthouse, the grass could be cut and a bill sent to the mortgage company.

The current city ordinance allows citations to be written for tall grass but reimbursement won’t be possible until ownership is determined.

Hatcher said if the city is going to get into the grass mowing business, it must put money into the budget.

Edison said the foreclosure homes are a growing problem for all cities.

*Prices will be secured for an alarm system for windows and the evidence room for the police station.

Councilmember Peggy Druin said more security is needed for city hall and the police station.

Police chief David Greenwell agreed with the needed security measures, including a metal entrance door. He added there is much information and evidence that needs to be secure at all times.

Hatcher said he would get some prices for consideration in September.

*The council approved a city credit card with a maximum limit of $500. Only the mayor and city clerk would have access.

The next meeting of the Pioneer Village City Council will be on Tuesday, Sept. 22, at 7:30 p.m. at Becknell Hall.

The public is invited to attend.