Long-held property taxes to be released

Long-held property taxes to be released

MONTICELLO — The dollars that local entities will receive once decades-old protested monies are released will vary widely, but all seem pleased with the effort that will present them with unexpected revenue.

Piatt County Judge Roger Webber signed an order releasing $370,234.17 in real-estate taxes, which were paid in protest from 1964 to 1995. It will be divided among 53 county taxing bodies based on their 2012 tax rates. Treasurer Tim Pankau said checks will probably be sent out the week of Sept. 10.

It was all the brainchild of Piatt County Board member Randy Keith, who first ran across the funds that remained stagnant in a county treasurer account. That led to research by several county departments and to getting every one of the taxing bodies to approve resolutions promoting the release of the funds.

"We had to get 53 to say yes," Keith said. "We had to get the county clerk to help, the state's attorney to help, the treasurer to help. I'm proud of everyone."

The taxing bodies — which will receive dollars ranging from just under $5 for the village of Ivesdale to the high-water mark of $90,000 for the Monticello school district — are thankful to Keith and the county.

"For us, it's an unexpected windfall, like finding money in your pants, and like for anyone else, it's a good thing," said Monticello school Superintendent Vic Zimmerman.

The city of Monticello will net about $18,000, and Superintendent of City Services Floyd Allsop said "the city is grateful for county board member Randy Keith's efforts."

The tax protests had reached their statute of limitations, making the effort "kind of a no-brainer," according to State's Attorney Dana Rhoades, "but there were still a lot of steps."

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