Urban renewal agency adjusts budget in wake of revenue dept. denial

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KEIZERTIMES/File Photo

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

Conflicting information from bond attorneys and the Marion County Tax Assessors office yielded a special meeting of the Keizer Urban Renewal Agency Friday, June 29.

The agency, comprised of the Keizer City Council who were all in attendance, met to clean up budget paperwork submitted to state officials in early June after extending the life of the city’s Urban Renewal District.

Because of the change, prompted by the need to make debt service payments due to shortfalls from one developer’s default in the Keizer Station local improvement district, the city reduced the amount of taxes it collected from that of previous years. Other local agencies had to agree to this change because their  revenues would fall short of expectations by agreeing to the extension. The city has agreed to pay back the revenue collected to the other agencies within the next ten years.

City staff, led by Susan Gahlsdorf, the city’s finance director, asked Marion County officials how to fill out the resulting tax forms correctly and were given copies of a tax form from an agency with a similar predicament and suggested following that lead.

“At the same time, I was talking to our bond attorney who suggested completing the form in a different way,” Gahlsdorf told the members of the agency.

Part of the difficulty was determining the value of the property to be assessed, she said.

“The (Keizer Urban Renewal) Agency gets that information from the county, and the county does not know the value of the property until late September,” Gahlsdorf said.

City staff determined how much money the city needed to collect and put that number on the tax form with a footnote, suggested by the bond attorney, regarding the estimated land value.

The Oregon Department of Revenue rejected the form on June 21, claiming that the numbers that needed to be filed were not the amount of taxes to be collected, but the assessed value of the property  on which it was collected.

The Keizer Urban Renewal Agency unanimously approved the change, which will now be forwarded to the Oregon Department of Revenue.

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