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Treasurer request to pay for plan by cutting his salary nixed

Treasurer request to pay for plan by cutting his salary nixed

TOWN OF DIAMOND BLUFF - Tax collections in the Town of Diamond Bluff will be handled by Pierce County rather than town treasurer Mark Place, the town board decided Thursday night.

Place prepared the plan, and it was accepted in full, with one exception: Place had suggested cutting the treasurer’s salary by $500, and board members Pat Atherton and Roger Dosdall struck that provision. Town Chairman Jeff Holst was absent from the meeting. Place was also absent.

Place said that switching to the county will offer consistency.

“If the county would collect the first installment, there would be consistency and less confusion; there are a handful of taxpayers that always send the first installment to the county,” he said. “There are a handful of townships that have switched over to having the county handle all tax collections. I would also prefer to go this route, but I want it to be a board decision.”

The decision needed to be made now so the county can prepare for the transition. The move will also make it easier for the day Place is no longer town treasurer.

“I think switching all the tax collections over to the county will make the treasurer position more appealing for my replacement,” he said.

With the county handling tax collections, taxpayers could pay by credit card. The county charges an additional fee of 2.39 percent for that service.

Pierce County charges $1.25 per tax statement to handle the work. Total cost to Diamond Bluff will be $845.

Last year, the township sent out statements to 266 property owners for 676 land parcels. If taxpayers would like a receipt, they will have to include a stamped, self-addressed envelope with their payment.

If the township sends out a tax letter, that would be a separate mailing, at a cost of about $200. Dog license payments would still need to come to the town treasurer.

Place suggested cutting the treasurer salary because of the cost to change to the county. The town treasurer position pays $3,480.67 annually.

“That hasn’t been raised in quite some time. I wouldn’t go along with that,” said Atherton.

“He does a great job,” Dosdall agreed.

An audience member posed the questions: “Who else would do it?”

Elections

Town Clerk Todd Mehrkens reported on the changing scope of elections. He said that election workers for the spring will need to be appointed in December, and he’s had communication asking about party affiliations of Diamond Bluff poll workers.

“There’s a lot of chatter about the next election,” he said. “If there’s any question about the integrity of our elections at our level, at the county level, at the state level, it’s just wrong. Talk to me.”

Zoning change

Chad Stone told the board he purchased property on the bluff above Highway 35 that he intends to develop for homes for family members. He’d like to sell a 12- to 14-acre parcel below the bluff, adjacent to Paul’s Industrial Garage, and to do so it would need to be rezoned for industrial use.

The parcel is currently zoned for industrial use, and Stone has a prospective buyer who would like to put up structures for machine storage.

“We’re hoping to have it rezoned for industrial use,” he said.

Atherton explained that town zoning matters are handled by Pierce County Land Management, but that the board reviews the matter and can send a recommendation to that panel.

“We’re not in the business of zoning. We commonly go with a recommendation to the county. If the county accepts it, we’ll sign off on it,” he said. “I don’t see any reason not to on this.”

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