New county appraiser brings experience to job

Marion County Appraiser Ray Cook settles into his new office and new position Friday. In addition, he encourages residents to call or stop by with questions about their appraisals.Ray Cook accepted the position as Marion County?s new appraiser Dec. 18, succeeding Cindy Magill, who resigned Aug. 16.

Cook said he sees his job as setting standards for fair and equitable values, listing information about properties and determining property values.

In his second week on the job, Cook said he is getting settled in and thinks the people in his office are ?fantastic.?

?I enjoy working with them, and I hope they enjoy working with me,? he said.

There are seven employees in the appraiser?s office, with the duties ranging from field work to reviewing personal property and mapping.

Ahead of the curve

?I think from what I have seen so far,? Cook said, ?this county is up to snuff, so to speak.?

Not all counties, he said, have mapping in place, but probably every county has it on the calendar to get done.

?I was pleased when I got here and saw how things were going and all the people in the office seemed to have a good hold on what is expected of them and what their job is,? he said. ?(It?s) great for me.?

As for the procedural issues in the appraiser?s office, Cook said, most of what is done is regulated by the state.

?We are required to re-inspect 17 percent of properties (including new construc?tion and demolition of property) in the county every year,? he said. ?In a six-year cycle everything gets re-inspected, but we also value every property every year.?

The only real estate that doesn?t fall under reappraisal laws, he said, is agriculture land. The state sets those values.

Filing an appeal

The actual value assigned to residential properties is based on the market value as of Jan. 1. Buildings which are partially completed will be valued on the percentage of completion as of Jan. 1, he said.

Residents who believe the county?s value doesn?t reflect the fair market value of the property on Jan. 1 should appeal, Cook said.

?The appeals process is an opportunity to review property in more detail? he said. ?If someone believes the county?s value does not reflect the fair market value, they should appeal it.

?I am willing to talk to anybody who is unhappy (with appraisals), but I?m also willing to talk to those who are happy.?

So much depends on the market, Cook said, and the market acts differently in different areas.

?If the market is stagnate in an area, we won?t see a whole lot of sales,? he said. ?The effect of that could lower appraised value, it could remain steady, et cetera.?

Moving to Marion

Prior to moving to Marion, Cook lived in Valley Falls, located on Kansas Highway 4 between Topeka and Atchison in Jefferson County.

?I worked for the state of Kansas for the last 21 years in the property evaluation division of the Department of Revenue,? he said. ?In the PED, I was an overseer of county appraisers.?

He and wife Lisa have two sons. Ray, 22, works on wind energy windmills for a company in Gainesville, Texas. Ben, 20, is studying construction engineering at Kansas State University.

Cook said his wife is staying in Valley Falls for now to care for her sister.

Great place to live

Cook said he isn?t a stranger to Marion County or the town of Marion, having spent many summers camping at the county lake.

?When my boys were small, we would come here,? he said. ?It was a nice lake and not a madhouse like some of the other bigger (lakes).?

Cook said he enjoys hunting, fishing and an occasional game of pool.

He welcomes everyone to request information about how their property is valued to determine whether they should appeal.

?I am here, and I am going to do the best I can and be as fair as I can,? Cook said.

For more information about appraisals, mapping or other services provided by the appraiser?s office, call 620-382-3715 or stop by 200 S. Third St., Marion, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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