Sedalia Homeowners to Receive Tax Break

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SEDALIA - Sedalia homeowners can get a break on their property taxes if their home was completely destroyed by the tornado that touched down last month. The Pettis County Commission voted June 1st to allow prorated property taxes on what Missouri law calls "unoccupied or uninhabitable properties".

Pettis County Assessor Dean Dohrman is in charge of assessing property values in Sedalia. He said by temporarily lowering property values, property taxes decrease as well, allowing homeowners to recover some of their financial losses.

"It's certainly a help to residential owners," he said. But the property has to be a total loss."

Dohrman said homeowners will only have to pay about 40 percent of their normal property tax. That prorate will cover January through the end of May 2011.

But the law says nothing about helping local businesses destroyed in the tornado. Dohrman said it's something the Missouri legislature should consider revising. "Businesses need income. Obviously if they have a disaster of this magnitude, they can't have an income or a business," he said.

State Representative Bill White, R-Joplin, said a state committee is proposing a special legislative session. That committee met in Joplin Monday. White said a tax break for business owners could be one of the issues on the agenda.

Click here for the full text of Missouri statute 137.082 on prorated property taxes during natural disaster recovery.