The Platte County Board of Supervisors approved levy limits Tuesday for the 18 area townships, fire districts, the library and disaster fund.
However, a levy limit for the Platte County Agricultural Society was not voted on due to complications regarding the agency’s budget for the coming year.
Township levy limits were approved 6-1, with Robert Pfeifer being the only dissenter. Those limits were set at 0.045563 percent.
Fire district levy limits were approved unanimously. Those were set at 0.019449 percent.
Library and disaster fund levy limits were also approved unanimously. These were set at 0.004149 percent and 0.000456 percent, respectively.
The levies will be paid by taxpayers throughout the county through their property tax statements. There are exceptions for people renting, as landlords would pay that levy instead of the renter.
The only levy limits not to be approved Tuesday were those of the Ag Society. Supervisors Jim Scow, chairman of the finance committee, and Jerry Micek questioned the whereabouts of certain funds, implying that the organization had not painted a complete picture of its money situation beforehand.
“We want to see what money came into Ag Park and what was that money used for,” Scow said. “I don’t think we’re getting that from the documents.”
Scow noted that this was not a new phenomenon coming from the Ag Society. He said that there were similar discussions about the lack of detail regarding money usage between the Ag Society and the County Attorney’s office.
“Our county attorney made that direct to you, and to us, that that is the way that the state statues require it,” Scow said.
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Ag Park General Manager Brian Palmer defended himself, saying that he met with Micek regarding the items in the proposed Ag Society budget.
“All the items coming in are tax dollars as well as some income from the fair,” Palmer said. “All those line items are expenses directly against those line items of our accounting. We spent about 45 minutes going over those three line items, specifically.”
Micek, however, shared some of Scow's concerns, noting that they wanted to see a total budget, not one piece of paper with numbers.
“Not just your tax dollars, but the revenue that you received other than tax dollars,” Micek said. “When we got our requests from the committee, that was not even part of the budget. We have the right to know what the revenues are and what the expenses are at Ag Park and how they are spending those tax dollars of the people.”
Micek also noted that the finance committee had not approved the budget sent by the Ag Society, mostly due to the lack of information on revenues and expenses. As a result, the Ag Society levy limits were not voted on along with the other agencies.
“The reason for that is, No. 1, we have not gone over the (full) budget,” Micek said. “No. 2, there’s no way I’m going to vote to set a levy and pass the tax dollars on to the people when we haven’t even looked at it and studied it.”
In addition, Micek asked that the money from the Ag Society be placed in the general fund, meaning that claims have to be filed with the county every time the agency spends tax dollars. At the end, Micek gave Palmer a warning, implying that future budget faux pas would not be acceptable.
“We represent the taxpayers,” Micek said. “It’s time that we know how that money is being spent.”
Zach Roth is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.