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Boone Co. Lowers Tax Rate, Offers Incentives to Jail Employees

The Boone County fiscal court voted last week to lower its property tax rate.

The newly approved rate is 9.8 cents per $100 valuation, down from 10.1 cents per $100.

Even with the lower rate, the county is expected to bring in slightly more money than last year due to property values.

Last year, the court collected $13,301,125 from property taxes and this year anticipates collecting $13,774,591.

The personal property would stay at 11 cents per $100 valuation, and the motor vehicle tax will stay at 14.2.

From all of those taxes, the county expects around $616,000 in increased revenue that the county hopes to apply to sidewalk and rural road repairs.

Judge/Executive Gary Moore explained that some of the rural roads cannot support two cars, and the Verona fire trucks are as wide as some of the lanes, so Moore said he believed they could dedicate the money to the dual purpose of roads and sidewalks.

In other business, the fiscal court listened to comments about short-term rentals through enterprises like Airbnb.

County Administrator Jeff Earlywine explained that the county modeled its short-term rental ordinance after the one adopted in Florence, with only a couple of differences. The county wanted a local emergency contact in case a short-term rental owner lived out of town, and the cost of a permit to operate a short-term rental was set at $300, lower than the $500 permit in Florence.

Some members of the public had complaints about Grove Point Drive in Oakbrook. Mary and Jim Hoffmeister live next door to a home listed on Airbnb and they say that it has played host to loud parties, and lots of garbage.

Mary Hoffmeister said that the issue prevents them from enjoying their screened-in porch.

Jim Hoffmeister said that the owner took a great four-bedroom property and turned it into a eyesore. He said the weeds are taller than some of the trees.

Judy Forbes asked why the price for the original application was $300 instead of $500 and Assistant County Administrator Matthew Webster said they didn't want it to be cost-prohibitive to start a business.

The Board of Adjustments can add conditions about keeping the property clean, and can also limit the number of bookings if needed.

Someone suggested that maybe there could be a district for short-term rentals, but Webster said the county looked into that, and it didn't seem viable.

A resolution passed authorizing a recruitment and retention incentive pay policy for personnel at the Boone County Jail. Since the jail has a high turnover of employees, a plan was devised to try and keep them. The plan is to offer a $500 incentive upon hiring, another $500 at  six months, and a third $500 at a year's employment, topping out at $1500. 

The program is temporary, and the fiscal court was asked to approve the policy for 24 months to see if it will have any effect on the staffing challenges. This will be for full- time and part-time workers.

A resolution passed awarding the bid for replacing the roof at the jail to Eskola for the amount of $780,267.

-Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor