Rentmeister is the contractor who has built one home in the new
Rolling Prairie development on North Union Street.
While the home
has been completed for quite some time now, Rentmeister said that
potential buyers are being driven away by the approximately $7,400
annual property tax fees being charged by the county.
Rentmeister said he was coming to the city to ask them to do
something to lower the taxes so the new construction homes in
Rolling Prairie would be more marketable.
During discussion Tom O'Donohue said he was unclear on what it
was Rentmeister wanted the city to do. He said the share of property
tax that the city levies is really a very small amount of the whole
picture and that it is the county that assesses the tax.
Rentmeister said for one thing, he knows there are relationships
between government officials, and he is hoping that members of the
city council will have discussions with others about this problem.
He also said that he had to start somewhere in stating his case
about the taxes, and he felt the city was as good a place as any to
Mayor Keith Snyder entered the discussion, wondering if the
problem is actually the tax rate or the value assessment on the
property. He noted that other communities don't have this type of
problem. Melody Anderson added that perhaps there needed to be a
discussion at the assessor's office on how they assess the value of
Rentmeister also said that the assessments in the county vary
from location to location. He noted the assessed value of the new
construction home in Rolling Prairie is $228,120 and the taxes are
In Chautauqua Commons on the city's southwest side, a comparably
valued home had a tax assessment of only $4,800. In the Country
Place subdivision near Mount Pulaski, the comparable home has a tax
assessment of $5,300.
O'Donohue said he would be all for finding a way to reduce the
tax assessment for everyone, but he still wasn't sure what the city
could do about it.
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Anderson suggested that perhaps the tax assessor's office
should be encouraged to re-evaluate the process in which they
assess the tax.
Snyder also told Rentmeister that the city has not been unaware
of this problem. He said the city has been trying to conduct
research into this issue to try to determine what the problem is.
The mayor also noted that an action that could be taken would be
to give tax abatements on new construction homes. He also noted this
could be a topic to discuss when the city does its strategic
planning workshops later this spring.
Rentmeister told the city that for now, the subdivision is on
hold. He said he wasn't going to invest in building any more new
homes there until someone can come up with a solution to the tax
Rolling Prairie is being developed by Patrick and April Doolin of
Lincoln. The original proposal for the subdivision included new
mid-income-level homes facing Union Street on its east side, with
three larger lots farther to the east.
The Doolins are also planning on building their own homestead on
the far east edge of the property. In the last two months, they have
gone through the process of getting approval to establish a private
horse farm on that property. At the Tuesday night meeting, the city
council voted unanimously without discussion to allow the Doolins to
move forward with that plan.
[By NILA SMITH]