• Last modified 445 days ago (July 2, 2020)


Angry about taxes, repairs?

Staff writer

Taxes too high? Responsibility for home repairs got you down? You’re not alone, as county commissioners learned Tuesday when they heard from a Florence business owner and a Marion bait shop owner who dropped by to vent their unhappiness.

Robert Schmidt of Florence, who spoke animatedly and loudly, said he bought a house at public auction 10 years ago, paying $16,000.

His property, now valued at $24,300, is overtaxed, he said, telling commissioners he was paying taxes under protest. Two years ago he went to the county treasurer’s office and was told not to return.

“The other day I got a letter from the state saying if I don’t pay my taxes and the arrears, they will sell my house on the steps of the county courthouse,” Schmidt said.

Commissioner Randy Dallke asked whether Schmidt had requested a hearing at which he could present evidence that he has not done anything to improve the property. Schmidt said yes.

Dallke and chairman Jonah Gehring told Schmidt they understood his concern.

Schmidt said that between state taxes, county taxes, city taxes, and sales taxes, he spent 40% of his income on taxes.

“It’s more than just farmers who need a hand,” he said.

He told Dallke that when he was angry, he quickly devised a way to cripple Florence by sabotaging an Atmos Energy gas line.

“There are gas lines all over the state,” Schmidt said.

Dallke, who works for Atmos, urged him to be mindful of what he was saying.

Although Schmidt thanked commissioners for allowing him to speak, he loudly said, “I give up!” when he went into the hall.

Janice Davis, who owns Last Chance Bait Shop on Pawnee Rd., also spoke to commissioners. She alleges that the road and bridge department damaged piping, causing a sewer backup in the basement of her house.

Davis’ hands shook as she handed out papers to commissioners and held up her own papers as she spoke.

Davis said the road department hit a pipe while working 90 feet from the centerline of Pawnee Rd. on May 1.

She said black mold developed in her basement and repairs will cost $17,000

“My stress level is so high; it’s affecting my health,” Davis said.

Commissioner David Crofoot suggested her insurance might cover the costs.

Commissioner Dianne Novak said the county ought to reimburse Davis.

“There are a whole lot of different viewpoints here,” Dallke said. He recommended the matter be turned over the county’s liability insurance company for a decision.

Last modified July 2, 2020