Jefferson County Supervisors discuss tax abatement, nuisances

FAIRFIELD — The Jefferson County Board of Supervisors talked about creating tax abatements for commercial construction during its meeting Monday morning.

The issue came up because representatives of Bovard Studio appeared before the board, requesting a tax abatement on a commercial property the business wishes to expand. Bovard Studio wants to put a 12,000-square-foot addition onto its production facility east of Fairfield. The addition would cost about $900,000, and the business has requested a five-year tax abatement.

Jefferson County Supervisor Daryn Hamilton noted the county has no tax abatement ordinance on the books, unlike the city of Fairfield, which offers tax abatements on building materials that exceed a certain amount. The county has entered into tax abatement agreements with major construction projects such as Cambridge Investment Research and more recently with Heartland Coop.

The three supervisors, Hamilton, Dee Sandquist and Susie Drish, all felt the county should look into creating tax abatement in its code so other property owners could take advantage of it. The supervisors are only considering it for commercial construction at the moment.

The supervisors took no action on the request from Bovard Studio.

The supervisors also discussed whether to extend its contract with Regional Utility Service Systems (RUSS) to perform nuisance abatement. The contract would cost the county $50,500 annually. In return RUSS officials perform follow-up visits with nuisance properties and take the owners to court if necessary. They document whether a property owner has abated a nuisance once it has been identified, and if not, acquire bids from contractors to clean up the property. They visit the site with the contractor to ensure all the junk is hauled away.

“It’s a pretty in-depth job,” Hamilton said. “And it’s worked well so far.”

The supervisors briefly considered giving the job of nuisance enforcement to a new position that would be responsible for courtroom security, nuisance abatement and weed commissioner. However, after learning from Jefferson County Sheriff Bart Richmond that a deputy could perform the courtroom security duties required, the supervisors have abandoned the idea of creating a new position. Hamilton said the supervisors are leaning toward renewing the contract with RUSS because they don’t see an alternative way of enforcing nuisances.