QC discusses combining polling places
The Drew County Quorum Court met Monday night to discuss consolidating rural polling places, a potential $5 addition to yearly property tax to insure stray animals are spayed and neutered and an update on the county lawsuit regarding the Parkridge Apartments’ consideration for cutting their property taxes by more than 50 percent.
Election commissioner Sonya Ryburn spoke to the court about potentially consolidating some of the rural polling places in Drew County in hopes to save money.
“We need new machines at most of our polling places and we always have a hard time fi nding volunteers to work those rural stations,” Ryburn said.
The county compensates the poll workers and consolidating some of the rural stations that do not have heavy voter traffic would save the county money in the long run.
After discussion, it was the decision of the court, with recommendation from Drew County Attorney Cliff Gibson, that the QC hold a public hearing in those rural areas so the registered voters have the opportunity to voice their opinions and be educated to potential changes.
Kathy Englekes spoke on behalf of the Monticello Second Chance Fur Dogs group. She told the court that stray dogs and abandoned puppies are a constant problem in Monticello and Drew County. The Second Chance Fur Dogs group constantly gets calls from citizens requesting that they come pick up stray dogs and litters of puppies that have been abandoned, she said.
“Pulaski County just passed this $5 tax that they add to their citizens property tax each year and the money has really helped their shelter groups,” Englekes said.
The court agreed that the additional $5 tax would be a good idea to help this group take care of the long-standing problem in our area. Drew County Judge Robert Akin recommended the creation of a special committee, including court members, to guide and direct the progress of the tax and remain in communication with the county attorney and the Second Chance Fur Dogs group.
Gibson explained to the court that the tax is optional and there will be a form so citizens can opt out of paying the additional $5.
In other news, Akin asked Gibson to explain to the court the situation with the Parkridge Apartments request to have their property taxes reduced dramatically.
“The County uses CAMA (computer assisted mass appraisal) to determine the value of a property,” Gibson said. “The owners were not satisfied with the $3.4 million value that CAMA and the county assessor gave this property. They appealed to the equalization board and the board affirmed CAMA’s value.
“The owners then appealed to Judge Akin. He also affirmed the value. Now, they are appealing to Drew County Circuit Court. They have requested all kinds of documents. You don’t request all this paperwork unless you are prepared to go to war.”
These apartments were built with money from the federal government on the agreement that the owners would keep rent at acceptable rates for low income housing participants.
Members of the court had a brief discussion and it was brought to everyones attention that reducing this property’s taxes would directly impact the Monticello School District’s funding and potentially open up future cases from other property owners to dispute their properties assessed value.
The court signed an ordinance to hire Gibson to fight this case in circuit court on behalf of the county.
At this time, there is no court date set.