Possible solution reached in surtax mix up

A couple of board votes are all that is needed to end a dispute over misdirected tax money.

The deal essentially has the Cole County commission fronting a tax repayment on behalf of the Blair oaks school district.

Because of a formula mistake two decades ago at the Cole County collector's office, some taxing entities now owe millions of dollars to other entities. The statute of limitations renders most of the money unrecoverable. But the Blair Oaks School District is still on the hook for hundreds of thousands of dollars, most of that owed to Jefferson City.

"The proposal as it sits is that there would be no interest and that the payback period would be 15 years, Jefferson City Mayor John Landwehr said.

The new plan has the county commission covering the debt to the city up front. A separate agreement with Blair Oaks would allow the school district to pay what it owes to the county over a longer period of time about 23 years.

"It's fair to both of them and I feel it's fair to us, as a county, Cole County Commissioner Jeff Hoelscher said.

Hoelscher said the impact on the county budget should be minimal. The collector's office likely will absorb the biggest piece.

The calculation on the tax has gone back to its original formula and this shouldn TMt happen again said Cole County Collector Larry Vincent.

We TMve had it researched by a tax specialty law firm, Vincent said. We've had the county's outside auditors go through everything back to 1984 and verify those amounts. And everything appears to be correct now.

The city council is expected to vote on the repayment agreement with the county at Monday TMs meeting.

The Blair Oaks School District also must vote on its own arrangement with the county.

Hoelscher said the two are not contingent upon one another.