Commissioners oppose decision to suspend homestead exemption

At its May 29 meeting, the Board of Phillips County Commissioners reviewed action taken throughout the month. Much of which was centered on COVID-19. Commissioner Harlan Stern commended chairman Terry Hofmeister for the countless hours he’s put in during the pandemic, resulting in such things as the variance allowing Phillips County businesses to reopen ahead of the state schedule.

Among the County business related to the coronavirus conducted last month was Resolution No. 2020-05-19-05. In it, commissioners opposed the State Joint Budget Committee’s recommendation to suspend the senior citizens’ and veterans’ real property tax homestead exemption. Suspending the exemption for three years is one of several major cuts made by the committee in order to balance the 2020-21 budget.

One of the local areas impacted by the County’s variance is the Phillips County Raceway, which successfully opened its season May 29-30. Prior to the races, commissioners met with raceway promoter Joe Bellm, Holyoke Mayor Orville Tonsing and Ed Glennemeier of the road and bridge department to discuss logistics of racing events in light of the coronavirus. Commissioners also gave Bellm permission to livestream the races for those people who couldn’t attend in person.

Fair board president Kayla Kafka also met with commissioners to discuss coronavirus  contingency plans for the 2020 Phillips County Fair.

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