Ris­ing Sun to vote on debt ser­vice ex­emp­tions in Sept.

Cecil Whig - - & - By JANE BELLMYER


— Cer­tain town prop­er­ties with no pos­si­bil­ity of fu­ture de­vel­op­ment could be ex­empt from the debt ser­vice as­sess­ment un­der a res­o­lu­tion in­tro­duced Tues­day night by the town board of com­mis­sion­ers.

In June, with the as­sessed value of prop­erty in de­cline, town of­fi­cials raised the prop­erty tax rate from 40.6 to 48 cents per $100. To soften the blow, the town an­nounced that about half of the monthly util­ity bill prop­erty own­ers were re­ceiv­ing would be re-clas­si­fied as debt ser­vice tax and moved to the prop­erty tax bill, along with the cost of trash pickup. On av­er­age, that would raise the prop­erty tax bill about $384. The monthly bill would then only cover the cost of ac­tual wa­ter and sewer us­age.

The mayor and com­mis-


sion­ers had orig­i­nally de­cided to roll the debt ser­vice onto the prop­erty tax bill so prop­erty own­ers would be able to deduct that amount from the in­come tax obli­ga­tion. But not long af­ter pass­ing the res­o­lu­tion, the board heard from own­ers of un­de­vel­oped prop­er­ties, which are not hooked up to util­i­ties and do not place trash at the curb.

The res­o­lu­tion in­tro­duced Tues­day spells out which prop­er­ties inside Ris­ing Sun town lim­its would not have to pay the $384 flat tax.

Com­mis­sioner Dave War­nick spent sev­eral weeks re­search­ing the town tax rolls and dis­cov­ered nu­mer­ous prop­er­ties that should be ex­empt from the tax. Mostly in the cen­ter of town, or ad­joined to farm­land at the edge of town, War­nick said these “legacy lot lines” were odd-shaped plots or plots that are so small or nar­row that they’re use­less for de- vel­op­ment.

The res­o­lu­tion de­fines a vi­able lot as one which can hold a pri­mary struc­ture. Those which are, or can be de­vel­oped, pay the flat tax. Others would be ex­empt if the res­o­lu­tion gets passed in Septem­ber.

The res­o­lu­tion of­fers this def­i­ni­tion: “Any unim­proved tax­able prop­erty that in it­self is not large enough to sup­port the con­struc­tion of a pri­mary struc­ture; or does not meet the min­i­mum set back or build­ing en­ve­lope re­quire­ments for a struc­ture in ac­cor­dance to the stan­dards and codes set forth within the zon­ing district that the prop­erty is lo­cated, shall be ex­empt and not sub­ject to the as­sess­ment.”

War­nick said el­i­gi­ble prop­erty own­ers who have al­ready paid the flat tax would get a re­bate.

The board ex­pects to vote on the res­o­lu­tion at the Sept. 27 town meet­ing.

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