It appears as though the next county counselor for Platte County–to replace the retiring Bob Shaw–will be the office of Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd.
Zahnd and an assistant prosecutor in his office sat in on a county work group meeting on Monday to discuss the impact of Senate Bill 190, and multiple references were made to Zahnd’s office becoming the new county counselor as soon as Shaw retires effective Oct. 1.
It is probably the most economical move by the county commission. Zahnd’s office is full of prosecutors who aren’t typically general legal counselors, so the approach will be new and interesting for Platte County.
The father of Senate Bill 190 is Tony Luetkemeyer, state senator serving Platte and Buchanan counties. Tony’s ears may have been burning on Monday afternoon when a work group of Platte County officials met to try to develop a plan to deal with the impact of SB 190. The county, assuming the county commission votes to implement the bill in Platte County, will need to hire staff, acquire software, website development, etc. to deal with the application process for those who apply to receive the tax benefits of the bill, which Luetkemeyer has explained “would freeze the amount that a senior pays when they turn 62, or they’re eligible for Social Security.” But the words “age 62” are nowhere in the legislation. Limiting the tax break to those who are eligible for Social Security would eliminate some groups–for example teachers and railroad workers, among others– from qualifying for the tax break in the bill as written.
There are also potential legal threats that will come with adopting the bill, reports Bob Shaw, county counselor. Shaw said the legislation “leaves a whole lot of gaps to be filled in by the county and every one of those gaps opens the potential for litigation.”
David Cox, county assessor, at one point said: “It’s got a lot of holes in it. Can it be repaired? I don’t know. But it’s law and we have to deal with it.”
Zahnd then spoke up to point out that the county will only have to deal with it if the county commission votes to implement SB 190. Zahnd echoed Shaw’s view that litigation likely awaits, possibly from taxing entities who stand to lose the largest chunks of tax revenue from the legislation, such as school districts and library districts.