We thank the lobbyist that made us aware of the Lake County Auditor’s ‘glitch’ that impacted Kirtland schools. It is important to note that the correct amount of taxes were collected from the taxpayers, but a human error had the tax collected posted on the wrong line on a worksheet.
Here are the minutes from the school’s finance committee meeting: Finance Committee Meeting 9-17-18
Here is the excerpt dealing with the error.
“Mr. Galante further reported that in the process of preparing the district’s five-year forecast, he discovered an accounting error made by the Lake County Auditor’s Office since the March collection in 2017 which resulted in money being misdirected from the general revenue fund to the bond levy fund.
The error resulted in our general revenue fund being underfunded by about 2 percent to 3 percent per tax payment, with an overall impact over the 2-year period of approximately $700,000.
The county initially incorrectly informed the district that the dip in revenues was the result of increased delinquencies in tax payments. The error also was missed during a state audit of district finances last year. The Committee asked Mr. Galante to ask the county auditor for a written explanation of what went wrong, and why, and to provide assurances that the error will not recur.
The Committee also asked Mr. Galante to institute an internal check and balance system to make sure that any errors by the county are identified as soon as practical in the future.
The Committee also discussed recent property reappraisal notices from the Lake County Auditor which generated a great deal of discussion and debate in the community. Mr. Galante reported that a community total valuation increase of 10 percent would result in a 1 percent increase in revenues for the schools. The Committee noted that, until appeals and final values are determined, the schools are unable to determine the final impact.”
(LFC Comment: We are huge fans of the employees of the Lake County Auditor’s office, and they continue to do a remarkable job overall. With the level of detail, the complexity of our property tax system, and the relatively small staff that they have, they do an outstanding job. In reality, Kirtland schools did not LOSE the money, it merely had to be transferred from one account to another.
If you think that the property tax system is complicated, wait until we write about a T.I.F. We spent some time today with the ever helpful, and very knowledgeable Barb Hogya, and Scott Yamamoto learning about T.I.F.’s.
What is a T.I.F. you may ask? “Tax increment financing (TIF) is a public financing method that is used as a subsidy for redevelopment, infrastructure, and other community-improvement projects.” Instead of the property taxes distributed to the normal political sub-divisions, they pay of debt incurred for community projects. We will write an article in the near future about them, and how they impact the taxpayers.)