County could take steps to recoup assessor funds from townships

Published 10:17 am Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The county board could take steps to make Lodi and LeRoy townships pay for appraisal services after Assessor Joy Kanne’s office had to fix errors in the appraisals for six townships.

The issue stems from appraisals township assessors submitted to Kanne’s office, but the work completed didn’t meet requirements outlined by state statutes. Since the appraisals were turned in late, Kanne’s office had to complete the work rather than return the appraisals for completion.

The county then billed the townships for Kanne and her office’s staff time. Three of the townships — Adams, Nevada and Bennington — paid right away. But three others — Lodi, LeRoy and Racine — didn’t initially pay.

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Racine has since agreed to pay after reaching a one-time deal with the county to pay 50 percent of the initial cost, which Commissioner Jerry Reinartz said covers staff time but not benefits and other additional costs. The board also reimbursed Adams, Nevada and Bennington, so they’re also paying half.

Still, Lodi and LeRoy have not yet agreed to pay.

In some instances, County Coordinator Craig Oscarson said it was an awareness issue, as township officials didn’t know what was required.

Commissioners said they didn’t want to feud with township boards, but they urged township leaders to make sure the work is being completed correctly and meets statute.

“In the township, they have to watch over their employees,” Commissioner Tim Gabrielson said.

Should the issue not be resolved, the county board could switch its assessor system and have Kanne’s office handle township appraisals.

“We won’t tolerate this happening again,” Reinartz said.

Despite the issues with the six townships, assessments for other townships were completed without issue.