County denies abatement request

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Amycel Inc. sought some relief for penalties and interest on its 2018 tax bill, but Madison County Commissioners offered none at its meeting on Monday.

The company, which operates Amycel, Monterey Mushrooms and Spawn Mate in Madison County, owed an unspecified amount in late fees because of an error, and sought to have a balance of just more than $80,000 abated.

David Nesselrode, area general manager, told commissioners that the companies in the county employ about 700 people and has a tax note to the county of about $500,000.

The base tax payment has been made, although late, but penalties and interest have not, he said.

In exchange, the company offered to pay its property taxes three months early for the coming fiscal year.

County Judge C.E. McDaniel said that while Monterey and Amycel are valued members of the community, he had reservations about granting the requested relief.

“This would set a precedent that might not be advantageous to the county,” he said. “Other companies would expect this as well.”

Commissioner Thomas Collard moved that the companies pay the fines and fees, and the county approved the measure unanimously.

In a separate matter, the county held a public hearing for the proposed tax rate for the coming year, one that had no comment from any member of the public.

“We’ve got a unique situation we haven’t had in several years,” McDaniel said. “For the first time in a long time our effective tax rate is lower than our current and proposed tax rate. This is because of state-mandated raises in property values.”

McDaniel said that the proposed tax rate is 55 cents per $100 valuation; the effective tax rate, which is the rate that would generate the same funds as the previous year, is 53.8 cents per $100.

On a home worth $100,000, the increase to the tax bill would be about $11.20.

A second hearing will be held Thursday at 9:30 a.m. at the Madison County Annex.

In other business, the county:

•approved a transfer of $60,000 out of the county’s contingency fund in order to ensure Road Precinct 4 will be able to meet its financial obligations;

•declared Sept. 17-23 as Constitution Week in Madison County;

•approved a service agreement with Net Data for the coming year on the county’s Net Data IBM server;

•approved a vending agreement with Huntsville Vending Services for the courthouse and annex, and appointed Lynn Jeffries as the point of contact;

•reappointed Sandra Guice to a three-year term on the Brazos Valley Council of Governments board of directors; and

•approved a seven-year non-financial child welfare services contract with the Department of Family and Protective Services.

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