Clearfield clarifies tax error situation|
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
By Wendy Lynn Brion Staff Writer
Commissioner Chairwoman Joan Robinson McMillen read a statement to the press and others at the Clearfield County Commissioners meeting yesterday regarding an error by the county assessment office and efforts to correct the problem.
"Last week in The Progress and in Sunday's Courier Express press reports suggested that an error by the Clearfield County Assessment Office resulted in a lost of $500,000 in local taxes to the DuBois Area School District for the 2012-2013 school year. The board of Commissioners wishes to clarify the situation and make this statement," Robinson read.
"First of all, the statement made last week was disingenuous.
"In February of last year, a data entry error increased the tax assessment of the buildings and acreage of one property at the Commons $10,000,000, which was an obvious mistake. One could argue that this obvious error should have triggered scrutiny, but in addition two days later the assessment office sent a notice of correction to the Sandy (Township) Tax Collector and DuBois Area School District. We do not know why this notice didn't result in appropriate action by the former district business manager. The assessment office and the board of commissioners regret the initial error but cannot explain the district's lack of reaction to an unexplainable five percent increase in its tax base or failure to react to the notice of correction.
"We are certainly sympathetic to the taxpayers of DuBois Area School District if they are affected by this chain of events, but we feel it is necessary to clarify the record."
In other business:
• the commissioners heard from Sergeant Thomas E. Josephson, patrol section supervisor for the Pennsylvania State Police Troop C Punxsutawney who said he wanted to touch base with the commissioners and present reports of events in the area of the county Troop C covers, which includes Bell, Burnside and Chest townships as well as Mahaffey, Burnside, Newburg, New Washington and Westover boroughs.
• the commissioners proclaimed May 10 as Childcare Provider Appreciation Day, noting that over 12 million children in the nation are in some form of childcare which allows their parents to work during the day and ultimately contributes to the economy.
• April 21-27 was proclaimed Administrative Professionals Week and the commissioners noted that administrative professionals keep an office running and are often the first person encountered by the public to answer questions, provide information, etc.
• Solicitor Kim Kesner presented some resolutions and agreements concerning the Keystone Opportunity Enterprise Zone in Sandy Township. The first was to rescind a previous resolution to change wording for the Department of Community and Economic Development. The second was an agreement between the county, the DuBois Area School District, Sandy Township, the property owner (First Commonwealth Bank) and one of the proposed businesses (Marcellus CNG LLC) for the tenant to pay 110 percent of the real estate loss during the existence of the KOEZ. This is a pilot agreement for the KOEZ and a second pilot agreement with a second tenant, known only as Project Patty by the governor's action committee, due to the company's with to remain anonymous at this time, was also approved.
The commissioners also approved Resolution 2013-3, which provides for the dissolution of the KOEZ should the two tenants either not locate there or not meet the requirements for KOEZ. An agreement to permit decertification was also approved.
• the commissioners approved grant agreements for Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness, which is 100 percent reimbursable for equipment and training, and Hazardous Materials Response Fund for meters, calibration, etc.
• the commissioners approved a Health Services Coordination Agreement between the county and Gateway Health Plan for Juvenile Probation Services, which is mandated by the Department of Public Welfare.
• resolution 2013-4 was approved regarding the lease purchase agreement for the purpose of financing 911 dispatch workstations software and hardware. The commissioners already approved the agreement but also needed a resolution.
• a purchase service agreement with Adelophoi Village Inc and Children's Center for Treatment and Education doing business as Beacon Light Behavioral Health Systems was approved.
• the following liquid fuels allocations were approved: Brisbin Borough $3,300, Troutville Borough $1,500, Bell Township $4,995.37, Covington Township, $3,996.08, Girard Township, $4,315.98, Graham Township $3,881.03, Goshen Township $3,759.98, Knox Township $3,753.04, Lawrence Township $11,021.13, Pike Township $5,805.91. Commissioner John Sobel abstained from the votes on Girard, Goshen, Knox and Covington townships.