I had a long phone conversation last night with Brigitte Grimm (Adams County Treasurer). Brigitte is new to her position and has admitted to me that her office has been inundated with hundreds of calls daily with many of them dealing with this storm water utility charge on their bill. She has been brought up to speed regarding this issue through recent board meetings that included Todd Leopold who admitted they knew their initial evaluations were flawed due to miss-calculations, shadowing, and miss-identifying what was “impervious” surfaces.
I have listed a few of her comments that I think we should pass on to all households during the petition process. Brigitte understands that this is our intent and that I was going to quote her:
1) The Adams County Treasury department has agreed internally that for every property tax payment received …”if the 2012 taxes are paid short the exact amount of the assessed Stormwater Utility Fee, I will personally look at those payments and pull those aside to make sure that they do NOT go to a tax lien sale”. – I did not say that you don’t have to pay the fee. I stated that no home would go to a tax lien sale if the appeals process was not complete. I also explained that we believed all the appeals would be completed long before the tax lien sale which is in October.
2) Brigitte urges everyone to appeal their personal assessed “fee” before April 30th. Only the parcels that are being appealed will be re-evaluated. In other words, NOTHING has been setup to automatically re-evaluate all parcels even though they know they are wrong. – I stated that every taxpayer should go through the appeals process if they disagree with the amount assessed. I did not speak to any automatic process to re-evaluate all parcels. In fact, I strongly emphasized that I could not speak to any process that may or may not be in place in Mr. Leopard’s department. I also said that I encouraged everyone to contact 720-523-6400 directly for questions about any process related to reevaluating any parcel.
3) For all properties that have already gone through the appeals process, her office is already “sending out new revised tax statements”. – Completely accurate.
4) “For any payments already made to the Treasury, we will send any overages out through a refund check”. She mentioned that any payments made through escrow will take time; possibly through a future credit to the banks. – True – if an account is paid in full and a credit is issued from Mr. Leopold’s office, we will issue a refund check to the payee within 10 business day. Also true – the escrow process may take longer. Bank and mortgage companies have different ways of handling overpayments.
5) Brigitte committed to return “every single call” she receives. Her direct number is (720) 523-6166. Again, she strongly urges everyone to appeal the “fee” first before calling her if needed. – True, I do take every call I receive and yes, that is my direct number. Also true – I encourage everyone to contact Mr. Leopold’s department first. A call to my department would provide information related to payments, credits, refunds, or any anything related to details about the statement.
I shared with her our concerns and listed objections within our petition including questioning the whole validity of the new Utility. Brigitte understands how upset the whole community is and strongly urges us to continue our fight with the whole process. – I expressed that I understood that everyone is upset and confused about this fee and that I encourage homeowners to contact Mr. Leopold’s department with questions about their stormwater utility fee, the appeals process, reevaluations, etc .