A local real estate firm is joining the Leavenworth County Commission in its opposition to an effort to repeal a mortgage registration fee.

A local real estate firm is joining the Leavenworth County Commission in its opposition to an effort to repeal a mortgage registration fee.

County commissioners and County Administrator Pat Hurley recently have been discussing the effort by two professional organizations to repeal a fee that's charged when mortgages are filed with registers of deeds across the state.

The fee, which is 0.26 percent of a mortgage, was established by state law. The Kansas Bankers Association and Kansas Association of Realtors are wanting the state Legislature to repeal the law.

County officials say elimination of the fee would result in a loss of about $1 million per year in revenue for the Leavenworth County government.

Hurley has said the county would be forced to make up the shortfall by cutting services or increasing the mill levy for property taxes by about 1.75 mills.

When county commissioners met Thursday, Hurley said he'd received a letter from Mike Reilly, president of Coldwell Banker Reilly & Sons. Reilly indicated in the letter that the Leavenworth firm opposes the repeal of the fee.

When contacted by the Times, Reilly said the firm is a believer in user taxes such as the mortgage registration fee as a way to help fund local government. And he said the firm strongly believes a low mill rate and low property taxes will help the community grow.

Reilly said he doesn't believe the Leavenworth company has ever had a situation in which the mortgage registration fee resulted in a property not being sold.

"It's factored into the closing costs," Reilly said.

During Thursday's County Commission meeting, Chairman Bob Holland asked Hurley if he had discussed the issue with local bankers.

Hurley said he has not, but he can speak with them about the matter.

"I would like that," Holland said.

Commissioner Dennis Bixby said the commissioners need to discuss the issue during a planned meeting with state lawmakers from Leavenworth County.

"It would have a huge impact on Leavenworth County," he said of the repeal of the fee.

Commissioner Clyde Graeber said the meeting with lawmakers needs to be scheduled before the start of the 2014 legislative session.

"I'm working on trying to get some dates," Hurley said.