It is refreshing to read Commissioner Hoelscher's perspective on the current surtax dilemma as presented in the News Tribune, April 5 edition.
I, too, see other ways to handle the surtax mess. Some regard the three-year statute of limitations as the time frame within which we must work.
As I see it, there is another way to settle this and it seems to be the most fair and equitable way. Using the correct formula, let's go back 20 years to the beginning of the error, calculate what each party is to receive, and divvy it up accordingly. I am certain that when the good people of Cole County come together with this as the common goal, everyone comes out a winner.
It is not illegal to do this. We know it is likely the courts will follow the three-year statute of limitations if we rely on the courts. However, Cole County is like a community and, as a community, we are free to settle this however we would like. I am certain any settlement we agree upon is worthy of the court's honor. It carries as much weight as the law.
To settle as the law intended, everyone receives the money the Legislature intended. In some ways, to do anything less is unlawful. Besides, why would we want to make a point to follow the second part of the law when we didn't follow the first part? Why settle the error by following the second part of the law when we can settle it by following the first part? We can just as easily do things as the law intended - with the correct calculations, come up with a plan to get it where it belongs. This honors the law and the good intentions of the legislators who created it.
Another thing. Can this be viewed as a delinquency by the county? Is the law time specific? Shall the money only be given out within a specified period of time dependent upon date due? Delinquent taxes are always accepted from the taxpayer when paid. No one says, "Because your taxes were due ten years ago, we can only accept taxes for the past three years."
So, when shall we begin? Actually, we already have. We know how much everyone is to receive. We need only determine the best way to divvy up the moneys. Let's just do this - with the correct formula - and be done. Amen!