Editorials

One last hassle, and then goodbye

Denny Peyman, the controversial Jackson County sheriff whose bid for re-election came up way short in the May Republican primary, couldn't leave office without getting into one more hassle with the county government he has sparred with through much of his one term in office.

By refusing until Wednesday to sign for receipt of property tax bills as required by law, Peyman caused a lengthy delay in the mailing of the bills and, consequently, in collection of revenue county agencies and schools normally would be benefiting from by now. Tax bills that were mailed on Nov. 1 each of the past two years (and in early October in previous years) won't go out until early or mid-December this year.

Had Peyman remained adamant in refusing to sign for the bills, delaying the process until his successor takes office in January, the consequences for county agencies and schools could have been dire. For instance, the ambulance service was at risk of not being able to make $60,000 in payments due in December and January in a timely fashion. As it is, the agencies and schools could feel some negative effect from collections being delayed at least a month this year.

And taxpayers faced their own risk had Peyman not relented: not being able to pay their property taxes in time to use them as deductions on their income tax returns.

Earlier in his term, the Jackson County Fiscal Court claimed in a lawsuit Peyman had not fully repaid $600,000 the county loaned his department in 2011 and 2012. Subsequently, the court in essence stripped Peyman's office of much of its funding and created a separate county police force, leaving him something of a figurehead sheriff. Peyman later arrested County Judge-Executive William O. Smith on corruption charges during a fiscal court meeting, but the charges were quickly dismissed.

Oh, and the latest state audit said Peyman's office had a deficit of more than $118,000 in 2011 and 2012.

Top this less than sterling legacy off with the uncertainty and angst he caused for county officials and residents alike with his parting gesture, and it's clear voters in the Republican primary were wise to say one term is enough.

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