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Boone County Commissioners pass on senior property tax freeze


The Boone County Commission is working with other counties across Missouri to draft a new version of a law that would provide a property tax freeze for retired residents.

A state law allowing a property tax freeze for seniors went into effect Aug. 28. The freeze has to be put into effect by county commissioners. Across the state, commissioners have been weighing their options. The Boone County Commission gave its position at a meeting Tuesday afternoon.

If put into place, the property tax for Boone County residents 62 years old and older who own their home would be frozen at the same rate, no matter the changes in tax rates or assessed property value.

U.S. Census data indicates 10%-14% of taxpayers in Boone County are home-owning seniors.

In a resolution, the Boone County Commission said it, "recognizes the value of providing tax relief for fixed-income senior citizens, while also acknowledging that aspects of the bill, as currently written, are of concern."

The commission says it determined the affect on the Boone County government's operating budget would be minimal, but other taxing jurisdictions would be negatively impacted.

Instead of approving the tax freeze, the commission is working with the Missouri Association of Counties to draft a new law to help people on a fixed income in need of a tax break without the unintended consequences of S.B. 190.

"A little bit more clarity on how the counties can administer the program, because there's no database that exists on the age of the property owners and whether or not they are claiming a primary residence in other jurisdictions as well," said Boone County Commissioner Kip Kendrick.

The commission requested all the government entities that would be affected send a fiscal analysis. Responses include: Columbia Public Schools, Southern Boone R-1 School District, Hallsville School District, Centralia School District, Harrisburg R-8 School District, Sturgeon R-5 Schools, Daniel Boone Regional Library, Boone County Family Resource Center, the Southern Boone Fire Protection District and the City of Ashland.

The school districts noted the most impact, several referencing the necessity of this money to keep up with recently increased teacher base salaries.

"If we are serious about increasing the recruitment and retention of highly qualified teachers and staff in Missouri's schools, we must carefully consider the negative impacts of any reduction in revenues," Southern Boone Superintendent Tim Roth wrote in his letter to Boone County Commissioners.

The Boone County Family Resource Center calculated a $7,900 loss in potential funding. Executive Director Laura Cravens outlined several things that money could be used for in her letter to the commissioners.

Cravens stated in the letter that $7,900 could fund any of the following:

  • 90 hours of Physical, Occupational or Speech Therapy
  • 78 hours of Vocational Transition Services
  • 87 hours of Behavior Intervention Specialist services
  • Crisis Housing Assistance for a minimum of15 persons 20 sessions of "Therapeutic Horseback Riding
  • An array of assistive technologies and home modifications that may decrease the need for government-funded supports"

"It doesn't maybe sound like a lot, but it does provide a lot of services and can provide a lot to a lot of people," Cravens told ABC 17 News.

Columbia Public Schools$3-6 million
Southern Boone R-1 School District$640,887
Hallsville School District$238,006
Harrisburg R-8 School District$783,129
Sturgeon R-5 Schools$71,751
Boone County Family Resources$7,900
City of Ashland$1,942.82

The day after S.B. 190 went into effect, State Rep. Cheri Toalson Reisch (R-Hallsville) filed an initiative petition to let voters decide whether to implement it in Boone County.

"They [the commission] may think that they're supporting  tax relief, but their actions are speaking louder than words," Toalson Reisch said.

However, Kendrick said the commission has been carefully considering how this could affect every taxing entity.

"We haven't just been sitting on our hands," Kendrick said. "We've been working on this issue for a number of months."

On Tuesday, Toalson Reisch said she's collected about half of the 4,600 signatures needed to get it on the ballot. There's no deadline for the signatures, but Toalson Reisch is aiming for the question to be on the August 2024 ballot.

Toalson Reisch said the estimated cost impacts are inflated.

"I think they're very overinflated because, again, the tax levies are always kept the same. Taxes never go down," Toalson Reisch said. "So they're not going to lose a penny. They are literally just not going to get additional funds from a few elderly people who are on fixed incomes."

Article Topic Follows: Boone

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Hannah Falcon

Hannah joined the ABC 17 News Team from Houston, Texas, in June 2021. She graduated from Texas A&M University. She was editor of her school newspaper and interned with KPRC in Houston. Hannah also spent a semester in Washington, D.C., and loves political reporting.


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