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Morgan BOE says it’s ready to accept owed tax revenue

By Bayne Hughes · 340-2432

The Morgan County Board of Education approved an agreement Tuesday accepting unpaid casual tax revenues that the Morgan County Commission owes the system, but it will be $10,000 less than expected.

Board member Jimmy Dobbs said that Monday night he was calculating the casual tax revenues using the commission’s formula and found a mistake. He said the school system should get $509,400.57, while $10,000 will go to the city of Priceville to raise its total to $23,834.09.

“I ran the numbers several times, and then I called the county, and they confirmed the mistake,” Dobbs said.

An audit of License Commissioner Sue Baker Roan’s office showed that she submitted deposits from casual sales-tax collections to the County Commission office, which failed to disburse $656,916.76 to county schools, volunteer fire departments and the towns of Priceville, Somerville and Eva during an 18-year period.

License offices in the state levy casual tax on automobiles, motorboats, truck trailers and mobile homes bought from individuals or firms that are not licensed dealerships in the state. Also, people who buy a vehicle in another state must pay the casual tax here when registering the vehicle.

Superintendent Bob Balch said he’s glad Dobbs caught the mistake, even though the school system will get less money.

“It’s better to catch the mistake now than have to pay it back later,” Balch said.

Despite assurances from Commissioner Stacy George that the county had the money owed and was ready to pay it in full, the school board hesitated at its July 28 meeting because Dobbs wanted to consult the board attorney.

School board attorney Bob Harris gave Balch the proposed agreement Tuesday afternoon before the meeting. Balch said the commission would consider the agreement Aug. 28.

Dobbs said he wasn’t concerned with a possible conflict of interest resulting from the fact that Harris and commission attorney Bill Shinn are in the same law firm, Harris, Caddell and Shanks.

“We just wanted to get this done and do it as amicably as possible,” Dobbs said.

Dobbs said he doesn’t know how much the county school system will have to pay Harris for drafting the agreement.

Money owed

The Morgan County Commission will distribute 18 years worth of casual sales tax to the following entities:

  • Morgan County Board of Education — $509,400.57

  • Morgan County Volunteer Fire Departments — $56,600.06

  • Priceville — $23,834.09

  • Somerville — $10,128.64

  • Eva — $310.92.

    The commission itself will keep $56,642.48 because it is entitled to 10 percent of these tax collections. The total amount is $656,916.76.

    Bayne Hughes

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