Board for Developmentally Disabled lowers tax rate

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Half-cent drop is first change to rate in years

The Board for the Developmentally Disabled recently set its property tax rate at .065 percent, half a percent lower than it has been for the past many years.

The state sets a maximum tax rate for the board, which is 0.0706 percent, and board members voted in favor of the reduction on the condition that finances be reevaluated next year.

State Sen. David Sater, R-Cassville, has been pushing for a reduction for the past couple years, as the board has about $1 million in reserves and he believes that number should be more around $350,000, which would amount to a one-year reserve.

"I've been listening to [the tax rate discussions] year after year," he said. "We should average about $350,000 for reserves, based on other boards that do a one-year reserve. We can lower the rate and raise it if needed, but a lower rate would let us eat into the reserves and get them down to a reasonable amount."

Jim LeCompte, president of the board, worried about lowering the rate too much, as he said the board now breaks even annually after about a decade of surpluses.

"The board's philosophy is to have enough money available for the disabled to provide for needs as they are brought to our attention," he said. "We need to maintain some reserves because we are the last resort for services, and we turn very few away. I don't think the reserves should grow, but I think they should be maintained."

LeCompte asked for a motion to keep the rate at .07 percent. Board Member Barbara White made a motion to set the rate at .065 percent, asking to see more information about finances when the rate is reevaluated again in 2016.

In 2015, Sater made a motion to set the rate at .067 percent, which he said would have amounted to a $15,000 dip in tax revenues. If the board receives about $350,000 in revenues annually, the drop to a .065-percent rate would amount to a nearly 8-percent drop, about $25,000.

Sater has been a member of the Barry County Board for the Developmentally Disabled for about 10 years, and LeCompte has been president since its inception, more than 30 years ago. Board members are appointed by the Barry County Commission.

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