Letter to the Editor

To Dickinson County Taxpayers

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

It isn't very often that taxpayers are provided the opportunity to reduce their property taxes. This is one of those rare opportunities you can impact your taxes. As you know, the Taxpayers Association has for some time been supportive of making Dickinson County government services more efficient and potentially save tax dollars.

Effective June 30 the County Recorder has resigned her position after 22 years of service. Because of the timing of this resignation the current County Auditor, Nancy Reiman, has taken over the supervision of the Recorders office as required by state law until a successor is elected or it is determined the county can operate without a person being elected to that position.

Iowa law 331.323 provides a procedure for combining the duties of specific county offices including the recorder and auditor. Marshall County and Woodbury County have already combined these two offices with very good results. The procedure for Dickinson County to combine these functions would to be to obtain 1,508 signatures of Dickinson County registered or eligible voters by Aug. 24. With those signatures the County Board of Supervisors could place the question of combining the recorder and auditor duties on the November 6 General Election ballot.

With an average of 100 employees, the major Dickinson County expense is the cost of personnel. Their salaries and health insurance costs represent about 60 percent of the County General Fund expenses. At the present time, the Recorder's office has three employees without the recorder and the auditor's office has four employees plus the auditor for a total of five employees. The vision for this combining of duties would be for the currently elected auditor to supervise both offices. With the possibility of the next legislative session making major changes to how Iowa's property taxes are collected the improvement in government efficiency has taken on a new importance.

At the July 12 Taxpayer Association Board of Directors meeting, County Supervisors Mardi Allen and Pam Jordan presented the combining of county duties option. The DCTA Board of Directors reviewed the combining efforts in Marshall County and Woodbury County and how the combining of duties in Dickinson County would be accomplished. After considerable discussion the Taxpayers Association Board adopted a motion supporting the obtaining of voter signatures on a petition, so the Dickinson County voters could vote on the question of combining the recorder and auditor office duties.

Obtaining the 1,508 signatures by Aug. 24 represents a considerable challenge. Your help is needed to insure Dickinson County voters have the opportunity to vote if they would like to combine these two County offices. If you would like to help gather these signatures please send your contact information to Mardi Allen at recorderspetition@yahoo.com or call telephone 712-332-2066.

A copy of the blank petition can be found on the Taxpayers Association website www.dctaxpayers.org. Petitions with signatures need to reach the Taxpayers Association at PO Box 598, Spirit Lake prior to Aug. 24, 2012.

If you would like to sign the petition and are a Dickinson County resident there is a petition for you to sign at one of the following locations:

* Dickinson County Farm Bureau, 605 18th Street, Spirit Lake (Hwy 9 - 2 blocks east of the courthouse)

* Home Resource Center, 3004 Highway 9 West, Spirit Lake (located between Dickinson County News & KUOO, but closer to DCN)

* AH Romma's Coffee House, 1017 23rd Street (West of Milford Subway), Milford (closes at 3 p.m.)

Thank you for your attention to this unique opportunity to reduce the County tax burden.

Yours truly,

Phil Petersen

President Dickinson County Taxpayers Association