Officials still working to resolve surtax error

Cole County Collector Larry Vincent said work continues to find a resolution on surtax distribution.

“Nothing has been finalized, but agreements have either been sent or will be sent this week for review and approval by the governing bodies,” Vincent said. “I have asked all of the parties involved to come to some agreement with the County Commission and collector by the end of November.

“This would allow for the 2007, 2008 and 2009 surtax redistribution to start with the first distribution of 2010 taxes that will be collected in November.”

He added that, “at present, all of the taxing jurisdictions have indicated a willingness to work together to resolve this issue.”

The jurisdictions involved include Jefferson City’s municipal government, which had the biggest shortfall in the last few years, around $751,000, and the Blair Oaks R-2 School District, which saw the biggest gain, at $656,000.

Lawmakers in 1984 replaced the merchants and manufacturing tax with a surtax on commercial property, as part of each county’s distribution to local governments, including school districts, towns and cities.

In 1989, Cole County apparently adjusted the formula that is used for calculating how much of the annual surtax should go to each of the county’s 13 taxing entities. That change created an inequity that only recently was discovered.

Even though the payments apparently were wrong for the past 20 years, state law allows the districts and county to go back only three years to correct the error.

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