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County reimbursed some funds lost due to conservation use
by Chuck Thompson
Apr 18, 2013 | 1134 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jones County has received more than $250,000 from the state in recent weeks as 2010 and 2011 reimbursement payments for lost property tax revenue due to tracts placed in forest land protection status, chief appraiser Linda Sibley told the Board of Tax Assessors at their monthly meeting on April 11.

When the state legislature passed a bill to allow large timberland owners to secure property tax breaks on large tracts, it promised to reimburse counties hit hard by the revenue loss (those losing 3 to 5 percent of their tax digest) with reimbursements to offset some of the loss.

But due to the poor economy and tight state budgets, the state has been slow to pay those reimbursements, Sibley said. So she and board members had talked to state officials to prod them to begin catching up on back payments, and the state came through with $24,513 for 2010 and $234,226 for 2011, Sibley said.

“The big jump was from Plum Creek putting a lot of its land in forestland protection in 2011,” Sibley said.

She said the county should receive a similar amount for 2012 but she wasn’t sure when that money would come.

Sibley also reported that her staff is working to complete tax assessment notices to send to county property owners.

“We’re hoping to be done in time to get them in the mail May 3. We’ve still got 30 to 40 field checks to make, but I think we’re on target to get them out,” she said.

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