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By MARK EVANS
STE. GENEVIEVE HERALD
Reductions in state income tax and a removal of all state income tax on social security benefits are now being felt by Missouri counties.
Ste. Genevieve County is one of those counties.
The topic came up during last Thursday’s county commission meeting.
It was noted that there is expected to be a $370,000 shortfall in tax revenues for the county this year.
An October 2022 tax cut lowered the maximum state tax rate fro 5.2% to 4.95%. This year, bills have passed that remove all state income tax from social security recipients – despite their income levels. Under the previous state law, single tax filers who made $85,000 or more and joint filers making more than $100,000 were the only ones who owed any state income tax on social security benefits.
Now, Senate Bill 190 would reduce senior citizens’ real estate taxes, lowering it to the amount owed each person’s first year eligible for social security.
“People have to understand that if there’s a reduction in taxes, there’s a reduction in services,” Second District Commissioner Mark Marberry said.
He and Presiding Commissioner Randy Ruzicka both stressed that they like the idea of lower taxes in concept, but that the lost revenue needs to be taken into account.
The removal of the social security income cap is expected to cost the state some $318 million a year in revenue.
Added to this picture is the end of COVID-19 relief money from the 2020-21 pandemic. The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and American Relief Plan Act (ARPA) funds are coming to an end.
Ruzicka noted that, ‘the bubble we were in,” of getting CARES and ARPA money to help the budget stretch farther, has popped.
HOMELESS CAMP RAISES CONCERN
Concern has been expressed about an apparently homeless family living near the Ste. Genevieve-Modoc Ferry landing on North Little Rock Road. They had been in a camper, which at some point caught fire and burned.
Before anything can be done, it must be clarified whose property they are on. The commissioners suspect they are probably on Union Pacific Railroad property, but were not sure.
Sheriff Gary Stolzer has said he is powerless to do anything unless the property owner in question complains.
This is the same area where the Ste. Genevieve Rotary Club hopes to work with the city to refurbish the area, making it less of an eyesore for visitors.
Scott Schmieder, road and bridge foreman, reported that backfilling was being done around the new box culverts on Ditch and Misply roads.
He said his crew was crack filling on Thursday and hoped to get pipes replaced on Brushy Creek Road and Bodine Road.
He said that all equipment was functioning properly.
He and the commissioners agreed that it was time to look at the 2019 John Deere grader however.
When the county got it from Erb Equipment in July 2019, the purchase price was $248,138, with a guaranteed buyback price of $117,000 in July 2024.
Presiding Commissioner Garry Nelson noted at that time that the buyback option could be taken advantage of “if those commissioners want,” since the terms of all three commissioners would have expired by that time.
They will give it some serious considerations in the coming months, as work begins on the 2024 budget.
TRAPPER JOE’S AT WORK
Trapper Joe’s Nuisance Wildlife Control continued its work on downtown county buildings. The firm was hired to rid the courthouse and other buildings of unwanted nocturnal visitors. The attic cleanup was expected to be completed by the end of the week.
Thursday, the commissioners voted to approve the firm’s request to have a second payment of $19,860 made.
• A tax sale update was received on a parcel of land going into county custodianship.
• During the Monday, Oct. 16 meeting, Sheriff Gary Stolzer presented a purchase requisition for a 2023 Dodge Charger from Lou Fusz Ford for $38,554. The money comes from the LEST fund.
• On Monday, accounts payable totaling $458,501 were reviewed and approved.