In its first in-person meeting since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Manchester City Council has agreed to a sit-down with the Delaware County Supervisors to discuss a disputed $63,000 tax bill related to the new jail.
The council and supervisors have tentatively agreed to hold a meeting June 29 at the Manchester Fire Station, where the supervisors are likely to ask the council to find some common ground in regard to the deferred taxes that were attached to the property the supervisors purchased to build the new jail.
City Manager Tim Vick said from his recent conversations, he believes the supervisors will ask the council for some sort of financial compensation for the unpaid taxes, but Vick told the supervisors he did not have the authority to speak on the council’s behalf.
At a previous meeting, city officials stated they wanted to hear from the Iowa Attorney General on the matter before making any sort of decision.
City Attorney Jim Peters told the council that the Attorney General won’t give an opinion on a single dispute, but Peters added that doesn’t necessarily mean there won’t be in this case.
Peters, who provides counsel for several other municipalities, said he has been running into a similar issue in other cities and that might be enough to prompt the Attorney General to give guidance on the situation.
One aspect of the council’s reluctance to help foot the tax bill is that it believes the supervisors were aware of those taxes when they negotiated for the property. Additionally, the council said this would have been noted at closing, although no one on the city’s side has been given that paperwork to review.
While it is unclear what if any compromise will be reached, the council stated they wished to push forward with a meeting in the spirit of cooperation.
“Minds might not be changed, but putting forth the effort would be better for us all,” Councilmember Tania Bradley said.
Vick also said he hopes this doesn’t become a divisive issue between the two bodies.
“We want to keep a workable relationship, we understand there will be a difference of opinions, but it is what it is,” Vick said.
City Clerk Erin Learn noted that no official action will be taken at the June 29 meeting but any decisions on the matter would appear on the July 13 agenda.