Commissioners seek input about real estate valuations

Granted, an influx of U.S. Army personnel from Fort Riley buying homes helps increase real estate prices for tax valuation from Tampa north in Marion County.

But Commissioner Randy Dallke told representatives of the Kansas Department of Revenue Monday at the Marion County Commission meeting, people in southern Marion County, centered on Peabody, too often are seeing a decline in real estate values as illustrated in auction sales.

Dallke disagreed with a statement by Cindy Magill, Marion County appraiser, that values over the last three years have stayed stable.

Magill said, ?We didn?t see the bubble so we don?t see the burst,? in discussing values over the last three years.?

Dallke said the only time home values in the Peabody area increase, or sell, say for values over $100,000, are when high income individuals first come into the area?perhaps persons such as school superintendents?and think the low prices of the area are bargains.

The area is dependent on persons who can commute to jobs in Newton or Wichita while finding lower cost housing in Marion County, he said.

Dallke said auction sales of homes are reflecting lower values.

David Harper, director of the Kansas Department of Revenue Property Valuation Division, told commissioners that auction sales can be taken into account for property valuation.

This would be, he said, if the sale is shown to be from an unrelated seller to an unrelated buyer, and that the buyer truly is willing to sell, and not being forced to under duress, say from a financial institution.

Harper said that if foreclosures were to become a significant part of sales, the appraiser would consider that.

Commissioner Dan Holub said there is always a public outcry and tendency for the public to argue property values when taxes go up.

Harper said tax payers have the right to protest taxes in November and December.

Harper said property valuations are done by area in the county.

Harper said the system is based on actual valid sales and history, and never on what values are expected to be. Appraisers are subject to direction and review by the state, he said.

Kevin Suelter of utilities valuation, also with state?s Property Valuation Division, confirmed for Holub that when the state-declared property tax exemption for the TransCanada Keystone oil pipeline through Marion County ends in 10 years, the tax will be determined by a valuation of what flows through it, and not at a depreciated rate.

The new jail construction is only slightly behind expectations, Josh Walker, president of Loyd Builders of Ottawa, told the commissioners.

Walker said he is hopeful the weather will stay mild until the end of the year to enable contractors to do inside work to maintain construction pace in January and February.

Andrew Pitts of Treanor Architects of St. Louis said using alternative materials?such as plastic instead of metal drainage pipes and in leaving limestone off the rear and sides of the jail building in favor of plain stucco?have resulted in $56,076 in savings.

The commissioners approved a zoning commission ruling to allow Virginia Skinner to build a veterinary clinic 80 acres she owns at 1625 80th near Peabody.

They also approved Planning, Zoning and Environmental Health Director Tonya Richards? plans to attend a national health and environment meeting next June in San Diego, Calif., where she can be tested for her licensing to become a registered sanitarian after completion of coursework at Kansas State University.

The commissioners approved appointment of Rose Vinduska to the 8th Judicial District Advisory Board representing Marion County.

They approved a bid of $36,640 plus trade-in on a road and bridge equipment trailer over various other bids and models from The G.W. Van Keppel Co. of Wichita.

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