AZ - Mingus High tax bills wrong; Residents face discount this year, but increase next : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Mingus High tax bills wrong; Residents face discount this year, but increase next By JOANNA DODDER The Daily Courier COTTONWOOD  Taxpayers in the Mingus Union High School District will have a lower tax rate than they should this year  but they will have to make up for it next year.

The Arizona Department of Revenue made a mistake on the districts tax bills for the 2000-2001 budget year that began July 1, and left off the levy for a 12-year-old bond issue the district is trying to pay off, county officials said.

The bond repayment tax rate is 28 cents per $100 of valuation, and would have produced $448,225 for the district this year.

It would be too confusing to re-bill the approximately 21,000 property owners in the district, county Treasurer Ross Jacobs said. Some would pay the wrong bill, or pay both, resulting in the need for delinquent tax notices or refunds.

The government cost to re-bill also would be much greater than just adding the tax to next years bill, he noted.

So taxpayers in the district will pay two years of debt next year, although the probability of new properties likely will keep each bill from doubling, Jacobs said.

The district includes most of the Verde Valley: Cottonwood, Clarkdale, Verde Village and Jerome. And since the Sedona area was part of the district when it issued the bonds 12 years ago, property owners in that area also will see the tax increase next year, Jacobs said.

Money from the override budget that voters approved recently, plus possibly a temporary loan, should cover the $448,225 payment this year, Jacobs said. That method worked several years ago when the same thing happened to the Cottonwood elementary school district, he said.

They never even went in the hole that year, Jacobs said. It worked out fine.

If the district does experience a shortfall, the county will cover the deficit with its general fund money, then probably seek reimbursement from the state, Jacobs said.

I really dont think the costs associated with this will be bad at all, Jacobs added.

The county Board of Super-visors will vote Monday on whether to seek reimbursement from the state if necessary.

The supervisors meet in Cottonwood at 9 a.m., and the item is one of the first things on the agenda.

The district may ask the county to send letters that explain the mistake with taxpayers bills next year, district Superintendent John Christensen said.

The district board members will talk about the problem at their next regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 2, at 1 N. Willard St. in Cottonwood, he said.

I dont feel comfortable (with the solution), but its the lesser of evils, Christensen said.

The county contracts with the state to mail all the property tax bills for all the taxing entities in this county.

The state is working on updating its system, County Admin-istrator Jim Holst noted. Twelve counties contract with the state to bill taxpayers.

The Board of Supervisors will be back in their old Cottonwood digs at 6th and Mingus Monday, after several months of remodeling forced them to meet in Clarkdale.

-- Doris (reaper@pacifier.comq), October 15, 2000

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