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Pipeline exemption may cost county $1.38M in missed taxes

That’s how much tax money it might get if pipeline tax exemption is overruled

Staff writer

Marion County stands to lose out on about $1.38 million of property taxes if the Kansas Court of Tax Appeals approves a tax exemption for TransCanada’s Keystone Oil Pipeline, County Clerk Carol Maggard told County Commission on Monday.

The state set the taxable value on the portion of the pipeline in Marion County at $21,171,668. Based on the 2011 property tax rate of 65.939 mills, the county would receive more than $1.38 million in additional tax revenue.

If the commission instead kept the total budget the same, the increased property values would lower the county tax levy about 11 mills, Maggard said. That is about $127 on a house with an appraised value of $100,000.

Other taxing districts that include a section of the pipeline will miss out too if the exemption is approved. Maggard estimated Centre USD 397 would miss out on $166,000; Peabody-Burns USD 398, $24,000; and Marion/Florence USD 408, $624,000. Marion County Hospital District No. 1 would miss $169,000 in increased tax revenue.

There is still a chance the Court of Tax Appeals will reject TransCanada’s exemption application. Kansas Department of Revenue opposes granting the exemption, commissioner Dan Holub said.

Commission Chairman Roger Fleming said he would want to calculate the 2012 budget expecting the exemption to be approved. If the exemption is rejected, the county would still receive the money, but wouldn’t be able to spend it until 2013. Fleming said he would rather have that than have a $1.38 million shortfall compared with expected revenue.

Rules drafted for golf carts at county lake

On Thursday, the commission may consider a resolution allowing golf carts to be driven on roads at Marion County Park and Lake with several conditions.

Disabled lake resident Jim Newkirk had asked the commission at an earlier meeting to consider allowing golf carts so he and other disabled residents can get around more easily.

Commissioners worked out some of the specifics. If the resolution passes Thursday, golf carts will be allowed, but only with a county permit. The permits will be limited to disabled drivers with a valid driver’s license.

An applicant would have to show proof of disability — such as a handicap parking permit — and pay a $10 annual fee. Carts on the roads would be required to have a flag to make them more visible.

Carts will also only be allowed on roads with a speed limit 30 mph or lower. That includes the residential and camping areas of Lakeshore Drive.

In other business:

  • Douglas Vogel was hired as a part-time pesticide technician in the Noxious Weed Department with a wage of $10 per hour.
  • The county received a payment in lieu of taxes from the Army Corps of Engineers for $29,225. The payment is intended to recoup some of the loss of tax revenue caused when tax-exempt Marion Reservoir was built, replacing taxable farmland.
  • Road and Bridge Superintendent Jim Herzet met with the commission in closed session for 10 minutes to discuss job performance of non-elected personnel. No action was taken on return to open session.
  • The commission agreed to patch and chip seal Main Street in Goessel. The county will pay for three-fourths of the materials for the project, based on earlier projects with Lincolnville and Lost Springs where the county paid for 24 feet of width. Goessel’s Main Street is about 32 feet wide.
  • The Environmental Health Department received a $3,507 grant that will help pay for department head Tonya Richards’ testing to become a registered sanitarian and other training.
  • Economic Development Director Teresa Huffman met with the commission in closed session for 20 minutes to discuss working hours of non-elected personnel. No action was taken on return to open session.
  • The commission tabled a decision to appoint one or more county surveyors or opt out of a state law regarding county surveyors. Register of Deeds Jo Ottensmeier said appointing a surveyor wouldn’t actually change anything the county does. For years, Steve Brosemer of GeoTech Inc., Emporia, has reviewed plats brought into the county for free, as his father, Jim Brosemer, did before he passed away.
  • Transfer Station Director Rollin Schmidt said Florence was the only city that hadn’t agreed yet to provide a place and supervision for a recycling bin provided by the county. It will be several weeks before the bins from Waste Connections are ready, he said.
  • County Appraiser Cindy Magill met with the commission in closed session for 10 minutes to discuss turnover, pay, and hours of non-elected personnel. On return to open session, the commission authorized hiring someone to fill an upcoming appraiser I vacancy.

The next scheduled commission meeting is Thursday.

Last modified June 29, 2011

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