Being in a hurry can exact a telling price, as recently discovered by Darwin and Debbie Haskell, proprietors of the Bar H Tavern in Greensburg.


Being in a hurry can exact a telling price, as recently discovered by Darwin and Debbie Haskell, proprietors of the Bar H Tavern in Greensburg.
The couple told county commissioners Monday morning they had begun reconstruction of their business earlier this summer without having first filed their application for the property tax rebate available through the neighborhood revitalization program in place.  Doing so effectively disqualifies them from being approved for the rebate.
“This application is misleading,” Darwin told commissioners, who admitted neither he nor his wife had thoroughly read the six-page document after receiving it from the appraiser’s office earlier this summer when temporarily located in Mullinville.
  “We didn’t have time to read the whole thing, what with dealing with FEMA, insurance and everything else,” Darwin said.
“Whenever you consider a contract you don’t read the whole thing?” Commissioner Gene West asked the couple.
“This isn’t a contract,” Darwin replied.
With the actual application form appearing on pages five and six of the packet, page three, titled “Application Procedure” contains ten items, the second of which appears in underlined italics, and was read aloud by West: “Applications must be received and approved before commencement of construction.  There will be no exceptions.”
The Haskell’s, however, were asking for exactly that—an exception.
“I’m sure that if we get started on this (making exceptions) we’re going to open the gates for more,” Chairman Don Richards said.
“But that (the two sentences from page three read aloud by West) should have be on the first page,” Debbie Haskell protested.
“And they (appraiser’s office personnel) should have told us we needed to turn in the application before starting construction,” her husband added.
“I’d like to help you, but we have to think about setting a precedent if we waive this for you,” West said.
“I thought Greensburg wanted business to come back to town,” Darwin Haskell said.  “So we do, and this is what happens…I almost didn’t come back to reopen this business, and now I wish the hell I hadn’t come back.  I can still just give up what we’ve done so far and leave it behind.”
Staff of the county appraiser’s office told The Signal later they routinely tell residents coming in for the application to “read it all first, front and back, before filling it out.”  They also said they remember saying just that to the Haskell’s at the time they picked up their application.
Appraiser’s staff also said they’ve handed out well over a hundred applications for the tax rebate thus far, with “around 90” having been turned back in thus far.  They said the majority has properly filed their application before rebuilding, the application then being tendered to the commissioners for approval, before construction is undertaken.
In a seeming effort to voice empathy for the Haskell’s, Commissioner Earl Liggett told the couple shortly before they left the meeting, “To be honest, I didn’t know either (of the requirement to file before beginning work), but I happened to apply the day before the rebuilding started.
“They (appraiser’s office staff) asked me if I’d started building yet when I picked it up, and I told them ‘No, they’re starting tomorrow.’”
In the end, West told the Haskell’s he’d speak to the treasurer’s office to see what, if anything, could be done to address their situation.