Revenue Commissioner Jeff Arnold presented a local law to the Jackson County Commission during a work session.

The law was passed several years ago in Jackson County. It allows the county to charge $2 per day, per parcel, on any property owner who is late paying their property taxes.  According to Arnold, he previously asked the Commission to remove the law because  he feels that this law penalizes the poorest people of Jackson County, the people who don’t have the money to pay their taxes on time. He then stated that it generates from $130,000 to $160,000 per year of revenue for the county. Arnold explained he understood the situation of the county and right now the county can’t really afford to do without that. Arnold stated that looking at it further, he did not feel that the law was being implemented correctly because it allows for an administrative fee to be kept by the department collecting the late fees. However, he is depositing 100 percent of it into the general fund of Jackson County. Arnold further explained that he contacted the Attorney General and questioned how much of an administrative fee his office should keep, how the fee should be used and where  the fee should be deposited. The conclusion of the Attorney General states, “The Jackson County Revenue Commissioner is entitled to the “costs of administration” associated with the imposition of any penalty under section 45-36-242 of the Code of Alabama. The amount should be assessed in a factual determination to be made by the Revenue Commissioner and the County Commission. Any monies collected should be deposited with the operational funds for and used for the operational expenses of the Revenue Commissioner’s Office.”  Arnold went on to state that he would like to use a portion of the funds to upgrade hardware in his office. He then stated that he feels his office should receive ten percent this year, since it has not received any of the funds in approximately twenty years, and five percent per year after this year.  Arnold also explained that Jackson and Dekalb counties are the only two counties in the state who charge a late fee. Dekalb currently charges $1 per day and the funds are used to assist with public water. Commissioner Mike Sisk stated,  “There are some on that list that are unable to pay, but there are some that are able. You have to have something out there to make them realize.”  Commissioner Jason Venable stated he felt a cap on the late fees should be in place.
Commissioners also discussed the county insurance quote from ACCA  including auto and worker’s compensation. County Administrator Bob Manning discussed the safety bonuses and longevity  received through the insurance company. Last year’s longevity bonus was $23,000.
At the previous Jackson County Commission meeting Commissioners voted to hire Felix Jackson as the Emergency Management Agency Director. The position has been vacant since Mike Ashburn was appointed as the Jackson County Commission Chairman. Jackson has served as Assistant EMA director in Jackson County for several years.
Commission Chairman Mike Ashburn spoke regarding the change to the Assist EMA job description. Ashburn explained that he would like to see it changed from Assistant Director to Deputy EMA, so that the person in the position will be able to perform the duties of the EMA in the Director’s absence.  Ashburn also spoke regarding the point of contact for Homeland Security and the safety coordinator resolution. Ashburn explained that each need to be passed to current Director Felix Jackson.
Commissioners also declared two trucks as surplus for the Parks Department; approved the county engineer’s recommendation for the 2018 dump truck rotation program; accepted the resignation of Michael Thomas from the Mountain Lakes Behavioral Healthcare Board; and appointed Tim Skipper to the Mountain Lakes Behavioral Healthcare Board. 

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