Protests higher due to terrible road conditions

For taxpayers in the western part of Marion County, the message is “enough is enough” as far as rural roads are concerned as many made property tax payments under protest.

Lisa Reeder, the county appraiser, addressed the commissioners Monday about one taxpayer who said, “she was literally his last resort.”

“So far,” Reeder said, “there are 101 (taxpayers) paying under protest, and that’s not typical.

“And, about 40 percent of those filing are because of county roads.”

Commission chairwoman Dianne Novak said she was not surprised it came to this.

“The roads are a real problem,” she said, “and we have to solve it somehow.”

In addition to the 101 taxpayers who have already filed under protest, Reeder said, there are still others who might be late and there’s still some escrow accounts coming in with not everything opened up yet.

“I will just handle the hearings and visit with taxpayers and keep them as calm as possible,” she said.

Many of those protesting about the roads want their building values lowered because they can’t get to those buildings from the current roads.

Impact on county

Reeder said she has already handled the hearings, and changed the value if it was needed, which has been done even before the commission has seen the valuations.

“The impact is that now (the commission) has already based the budget on valuations, as we are getting ready to change those and refund tax dollars that were in the budget,” Reeder said.

Commissioner Randy Dallke asked what happens if the value under protest is higher.

“We raise it,” she said. “The taxpayer knows that going into this.

“If it’s strictly agricultural land, I have to have a huge basis to adjust it because those values are set by the state.”

“But, if it’s buildings, which is what a couple of the taxpayers have said, that’s not worth anything.”

Reeder also said a couple of the hearings were about a business that was suffering because the people coming in with their cattle couldn’t get in because of the roads.

“We have also had accidents (on some of the roads) and I just think (the commission) needs to know,” she said.

“Some of those protesting also asked me to specifically mention this to the commission,” she said.

Exhausting all options

Reeder said that it was emphasized by some taxpayers filing under protest that they have exhausted all resources, and came to her to be heard.

Both Dallke and Novak said they haven’t heard from any of these people, but Commissioner Kent Becker said the names are familiar because they are in his district.

“I have talked to them,” Becker said.

Reeder provided the commissioners with a list of entrance roads and the roads between, which are the problem.

The following is a partial breakdown of the taxpayer’s, the entrance road(s) and the between roads at issue.

◼ Roads for James and Brenda Enns include entrance road and between roads: Goldenrod, 240th-250th. Corner of Falcon and 240th, Goldenrod and Falcon. Corner of Indigo and 230th, Goldenrod and Kansas Highway 15. Corner of Indigo and 230th, Indigo and Jade. Corner of Falcon and 210th, Falcon and Goldenrod. Corner of 240th and Falcon, Falcon and Eagle. Road 240th, Diamond and Eagle roads. Falcon, 240th-230th. Indigo, between roads 340th-360th.

◼ Roads for Marolyn Schlehuber include entrance road and between roads: Falcon, U.S. Highway 56 and 210th. Corner of Bison and 245th, 240th-245th. Corner of 245th and Chisholm Trail, Bison and Chisholm Trail. Chisholm Trail, 230th-240th. Corner of 230th and Chisholm Trail.

◼ Roads for Merle Schlehuber include entrance road and between roads: corner of Eagle and U.S. Highway 56, 230th-240th. Other between roads included Eagle and Diamond roads, 190th and 180th and 170th-180th.

◼ Roads for Naomi Morris Trust (Chasen Gann) include entrance roads and between roads: corner of Goldenrod and 240th (homesite-806 240th). Corner of 230th and Falcon, Falcon and Eagle roads. Corner of Timber and 100th, 100-110th.

◼ Roads for Gann Cattle Co. (Chasen Gann) includes entrance road corner of Eagle and 230th with between roads 230th-220th.

◼ Roads for Chasen and Ashlee Gann include entrance roads corner of Goldenrod and 220th with between roads Goldenrod and Kansas Highway 15 and 220th (homesite-630 220th), between roads Eagle and Falcon roads.