A mortgage registration fee is a "fair" tax and should not be repealed, the Leavenworth County register of deeds argues in a memorandum to state legislators.

A mortgage registration fee is a "fair" tax and should not be repealed, the Leavenworth County register of deeds argues in a memorandum to state legislators.

The Leavenworth County Commission approved the document drafted by Register of Deeds Stacy Driscoll on Thursday morning.

Commissioners will sign the document and copies will be distributed next week when the commission meets with state lawmakers whose districts include portions of Leavenworth County.

The Kansas Bankers Association and Kansas Association of Realtors are asking lawmakers to eliminate the fee during the 2014 legislative session that will begin later this month.

The fee is charged when a mortgage is filed with a county register of deeds in Kansas. The fee is 0.26 percent of the amount of the mortgage.

The fee generates about $1 million in revenue for Leavenworth County each year.

"It could mean a raise in the mill levy for Leavenworth County," Commission Chairman Bob Holland said of eliminating the fee.

The mill levy is used in determining property taxes. A mill is $1 per $1,000 of a property's assessed value.

Holland argued homeowners who've already paid the mortgage tax could end up paying higher property taxes.

The Leavenworth County register of deeds wrote in her memorandum that banker and Realtor associations are arguing the mortgage registration fee is unfair because people who pay cash for homes don't have to pay the tax.

Driscoll argues that she can't name a single tax that is uniformly paid by all citizens.

The Kansas Legislature created the fee in the 1920s as a way to pay the cost of maintaining county register of deeds offices, according to Driscoll.

Only nine states currently have a mortgage registration fee.

However, 34 states charge a transfer tax for the value of land that is purchased, according to Driscoll.

Commissioners had been scheduled to meet with legislators Dec. 14, but that meeting was canceled due to concerns about the weather.

Commissioners now plan to attend a meeting the Lansing City Council arranged with legislators. The meeting is scheduled for 7 a.m. Wednesday at the Lansing Community Center, 800 First Terrace.

Leavenworth County Administrator Pat Hurley said he will present the county commissioners with a document Monday that reviews about 10 bills that may be considered during the upcoming legislative session. He said the county is supportive of a couple of the bills.

County officials have concerns about remaining pieces of legislation.

"We've talked about all of them at one time or another," he said.

Hurley said the document also can be distributed during the meeting with legislators.

Commissioner Dennis Bixby asked if Hurley will be pointing out how the bills also will impact municipalities.

Hurley said any bill that would require county government to raise property taxes or cut services would impact Leavenworth County communities.