116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS - Data crucial for Linn County taxing authorities to set their budgets - and figure out how much home and business owners should pay in property taxes - is running more than a week late.
Linn County Auditor Joel Miller, whose office is charged with certifying the valuation report so it can be distributed to local governments by Jan. 1, said Monday that the county's computer system has not been up to the chore - and that he couldn't say when the data might be ready for governments to act upon.
'I am sorry!” Miller said in a statement Monday. 'Unfortunately, the system purchased by the Board of Supervisors, maintained by the Board's (information technology) department, and used by my office and the Treasurer cannot produce a valuation report that I can certify.”
The county system used to generate previous reports was shut down more than a year ago, he said, 'and we are well beyond the point of being able to use a spreadsheet to perform the calculations needed to create a valuation report.”
Linn County Board of Supervisors Chairman Ben Rogers said Miller is wrong to point fingers at the county.
'It is unfair for the auditor to blame the information technology department or the board. It's an issue that is more complex than it seems.” Rogers said, 'We have been working extremely hard for this to get resolved.”
Miller and the supervisors have long traded barbs over a multitude of issues. The effect of this delay - regardless of its cause - is that it threatens to put the county's public budgets on a tighter than usual time frame - or worse if it isn't resolved soon.
Without the report that shows the certified taxable value for properties within each taxing authority, governing bodies in Linn cannot determine final tax levies or annual budgets.
In Cedar Rapids, for instance, the timetable laid out for enacting the current year's budget had the city staff presenting a budget proposal to the City Council last January, and then making the tentative budget available for public inspection last February.
Miller suggested that taxing entities use the values certified last year until updated numbers for this year are available.
He said he could issue an update on the situation as soon as Tuesday.
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