Supervisors abate taxes on city property

By Xiomara Levsen, The JOURNAL


Property taxes were abated on a property in the City of Washington by the supervisors Tuesday morning.

Washington County Treasurer Jeff Garrett said the property was located at 521 North Avenue D. The individual who owned that property qualified for property tax suspension for the past six years.

?The City of Washington now has acquired ownership of that property,? Garrett said. ?Iowa requires that when a property with suspended taxes changes ownership the new owner is sent a letter and saying all the taxes are due.?

There is also a section of Iowa code that says if the city gains owership of a property with taxes due before the city bought it ? the city can request the taxes to be abated and per Iowa code ?they will be abated,? he added.

?The city?s response to me after the letter advising them of the $2,362 that?s due was that they had incurred quite a bit of remediation and legal costs to get ownership of the property and they asked that the taxes be abated,? Garrett said.

The city also told Garrett it planned to use this property as an entrance to the new YMCA, he added. He recommended the supervisors approve abating the taxes for this property.

Supervisor Stan Stoops asked Washington County attorney John Gish if this is what he recommended.

Gish said the reason why the code is written this way is to give cities incentive to go after abandoned properties in the community.

?So it does serve a purpose,? Gish added, ?although at a cost to some taxpayers.?

Gish also said he didn?t have a chance to review that section of the Iowa code yet. Garrett handed him a copy of the Iowa code for him to review. Meanwhile supervisor Jack Seward Jr. made the motion to approve the resolution abating the taxes on this property.

After reading the copy of the Iowa code Garrett handed him, Gish recommended the supervisors move forward with abating the taxes on this property. The supervisors did so unanimously.

The supervisors also approved the Washington County engineer?s request to apply for a grant from the Iowa Department of Transportation for sign replacement in the county. Washington County engineer Jacob Thorius said they were approved in the past for the grant and could receive up to $10,000. The supervisors also approved a resolution to move forward in the process to levy taxes for the purchase of emergency service communication equipment; and awarded a bid to Cornerstone Engineering, of Washington, in the amount of $251,849.05 for a grading project on Maple Avenue and 105th Street.