BERRYVILLE --Dennis Wells, Arkansas CAMA Technology (ACT) Project Manager, informed the Carroll County Quorum Court at its June 14 meeting that property values in Carroll County are going down. Wells said notices will go out in early July to owners whose properties have gone down as a result of the reappraisal.
State law mandates all Arkansas counties must reappraise at least every three years. The purpose is to make sure market values are fair throughout the county and state, and avoid excessive property taxes. Any changes in the 2012 real estate taxes resulting from this study will not be due until October 2013.
Wells said, in particular, the value of first year timber has gone down. He said even with adding into the formula of increased construction from last year, properties in Carroll County rate at 93.34 percent of market, a 3.74 decrease from last year.
Circuit Clerk Ramona Wilson said the ACT assessment does not mean that everyone's individual taxes will go up. She said maybe 5,000 out of 28,000 will increase. She also pointed out that these changes will affect next year's budget.
JPs then considered an ordinance which amended an ordinance which had amended another ordinance.
According to JP Dan Mumaugh, commissioners at Mundell Heights had asked for the increase because they are having significant issues with water system and roads need some attention.
The ordinance would increase each lot assessment from $50 to $100 per year and increase the annual cost of services from $12,000 to $100,000. The large increase is to get needed work done and allow room for growth so that another ordinance will not be needed for a long time.
Vote to approve the ordinance was 9-0.
JP Ronald Flake announced that the County Clerk Jamie Correia had received information from a collection agency about collecting unpaid debts to the county for a contingency fee.
Flake said Wilson and Sheriff Bob Grudek are working on this, this company can collect what the county has not been able to collect and the county will not be out anything.
Flake said he has seen this approach work very well in a county in another state. He said he will get more information and maybe add it to an agenda.
Flake also mentioned that Correia had been contacted by a company about assisting the county with getting more efficient phone contracts and ensuring that phone calls are coded correctly in the budget. He said the consultant would go through billings and contracts for cell phones and land lines and offer advice on how the county can save money.
"I truly feel we have a problem with phone bills," Correia said and added the consultant would get a percentage of what she saves the county.
JP Don McNeely said he thought it was a good idea, and they could still negotiate with service providers for better rates.
Judge Sam Barr said, "All my 800 calls are complaints, so if they want to complain, then they ought to have the pleasure of paying for it."
JP John Howerton mentioned that folks in his district have heard distressing and conflicting information about the emergency response situation, in particular the working relationships between area hospitals and helicopter transport companies Mercy and Aero-VAC.
Grudek responded that there is a lot of misinformation going around, and he has planned a meeting with county fire chiefs to sort out the confusion. He said the closest available helicopter to the scene will get the call, as it is not the county's job to keep everyone in business, but to provide the best emergency service possible.
Next meeting will be Friday, July 20, at 10 p.m.