CLINTON — The Clinton County Board of Supervisors has denied a citizen’s request to have back property taxes abated.

Attorney Mike Judge appeared before the board Monday with his client, Ted Pastras, seeking abatement of $11,000 in taxes due on a residence at 1700 13th Ave. South. Judge explained the issue has been ongoing for a number of years and that Ted and his brother, Chris, had jointly owned the residence. He said the taxes of approximately $800 per year went unpaid when Chris fell ill in 1995 and Ted took over his care, rather than place his brother in an institution.

Judge asserted that before the death of Chris Pastras, Ted had been told during discussions with county officials, representatives of the Iowa Department of Human Services and the Social Security Administration that the county would likely not seek reimbursement of the taxes upon his death. Judge stated that Ted Pastras has a financial hardship that would not facilitate paying the taxes and could result in loss of the residence in a tax sale in two weeks. He added Pastras has full intent to pay the taxes on the property from this point forward.

Board Chairwoman Jill Davisson acknowledged the difficult situation but said it was important to note that the board only suspended the taxes and documents clearly detailed the suspension. Pastras said that from the discussion that was held, he understood the situation to be that the tax could be abated. He also was told that because he was saving the county approximately $30,000 to $50,000 per year toward institutionalization costs for his brother, the county would not be inclined to seek repayment of the property taxes. Pastras said he took it upon himself to provide his brother’s care, at personal expense and sacrifice, but was not seeking sympathy. He alleged he had been told earlier that the board would have the discretion to look at abating the taxes.

Supervisor Dennis Starling asked Judge if the situation would be the same had Chris Pastras solely owned the property.

Judge replied that the situation likely would have been the same. Starling said his main problem with the issue was that representatives of other agencies were making statements and promises to Pastras without the authority to do so.

Starling said he was concerned that if the board was to issue an abatement of the taxes, it would set a precedent.

Judge asserted that this situation is one in which fairness should be taken into account and his client was led to believe the taxes could be abated. He added the taxes could legally be abated by the board at the present time. Clinton County Attorney Mike Wolf said the issue of abatement was not brought up in the court ruling on the matter in 1995 that found the brothers eligible for suspension.

Supervisor Grant Wilke said he wasn’t sure what the parties involved knew, but said since he has been on the board there have been many instances where he would have liked to have suspended taxes but couldn’t because of eligibility requirements. Davisson agreed, saying some of the more heartwrenching discussions stick with the board and the members are truly conscientious during discussion. Davisson asked how the board would like to proceed with the matter. Starling said he thought the board should vote right away because Pastras needed an answer.

Wolf said Pastras could seek further suspension of the taxes based on his income. Davisson suggested Pastras speak with the Clinton County Community Support Department regarding any assistance available.

Wolf said the board could resolve the issue of abatement by voting on a motion to approve abatement of the taxes. Wilke made the motion and the board unanimously voted against approving the abatement.