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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Commission preparing letters to banks, Realtors

  • The Leavenworth County Commission is preparing to send letters to local banks and real estate firms, voicing opposition to an effort to eliminate a mortgage registration fee.
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  • The Leavenworth County Commission is preparing to send letters to local banks and real estate firms, voicing opposition to an effort to eliminate a mortgage registration fee.
    Commissioners intend to send letters to all banks and realty companies in the county.
    The letters are in response to an effort to change a state law that established a fee collected when mortgages are filed with registers of deeds in counties throughout Kansas.
    The Kansas Bankers Association and Kansas Association of Realtors are supporting the effort to repeal the fee.
    The fee is 0.26 percent of a mortgage.
    "It's such a minor amount of money compared to the other charges (associated with buying a home)," County Administrator Pat Hurley said.
    But, he said the fees generate about $1 million in revenue for Leavenworth County each year.
    If the fee is eliminated, the county would have to cut services or raise property taxes, he said.
    The county administrator said the irony is someone who's already paid a mortgage registration fee could face higher taxes so others won't have to pay the fee in the future.
    Hurley said letters also may be sent to state lawmakers whose districts include portions of Leavenworth County. He said the letters would be sent ahead of a planned Dec. 14 meeting between commissioners and local state legislators.
    Commissioners already have received a letter from Mike Reilly, president of Coldwell Banker Reilly & Sons, indicating the Leavenworth real estate firm is opposed to the fee's repeal.
    When the Leavenworth County Commission met Tuesday, Chairman Bob Holland asked if it would be ethical for commissioners to discuss the issue with their personal bankers.
    "Absolutely," Hurley said.
    Holland suggested also communicating with nonprofit organizations that receive money from the county because they could be impacted by the elimination of the fee.
    Hurley noted a countywide 1-cent sales tax is set to expire at the end of 2016. He said getting voters to renew the sales tax, which benefits the county and local city governments, is not a slam dunk.
    The loss of the countywide sales tax would require additional cuts or property tax increases, he said.
     

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