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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Proposed bill could cost Leavenworth County $500K

  • Leavenworth County could lose more than $500,000 a year once a mortgage registration fee has fully been phased out as proposed in a bill that passed the Kansas Senate.
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    • Other business

      In other business Thursday, the Leavenworth County Commission:


      • Listened to a briefing about a state illegal dump cleanup ...

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      Other business

      In other business Thursday, the Leavenworth County Commission:



      • Listened to a briefing about a state illegal dump cleanup program.



      • Approved an amendment to the 2006 Leavenworth County Zoning and Subdivision Regulations.



      • Approved a one-year extension of a moratorium restricting development along Leavenworth County Road 1.

  • Leavenworth County could lose more than $500,000 a year once a mortgage registration fee has fully been phased out as proposed in a bill that passed the Kansas Senate.
    That's according to figures prepared by the Kansas Legislative Research Department.
    Leavenworth County Administrator Pat Hurley shared the information with the Leavenworth County Commission during its Thursday meeting.
    While the bill passed the Senate, it was not passed by the Kansas House of Representatives during this year's regular legislative session. But, Hurley expressed concern the legislation could be attached to a conference committee bill when lawmakers return to Topeka for what is referred to as a veto session.
    The veto session is scheduled to begin next week.
    Hurley recommended commissioners send a letter to state lawmakers who represent Leavenworth County urging them to vote against the legislation.
    He said the letter could indicate the state's own Legislative Research Department estimates the county will lose money if the mortgage registration fee is eliminated.
    The mortgage registration 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.
    Commissioners have opposed the proposed legislation, saying the county receives about $1 million in revenue from the mortgage registration fee each year.
    The bill that was passed in the Senate would phase out the fee during a five-year period. The bill also would increase other fees.
    "They argued that it was supposed to offset the loss," Hurley said of the fee increases.
    But, the Legislative Research Department estimates the county will lose $75,789 next year if the Senate bill were to be approved. The county would lose an estimated $507,513 in 2019, which would be the end of the phase out for the mortgage registration fee.
    "We will lose an increasing amount each year," Hurley said.
    He said the Legislative Research Department's figures are based on historical data.
    Hurley said some are questioning the Legislative Research Department's numbers. He will ask Leavenworth County Register of Deeds Stacy Driscoll to review the projections.
    Hurley said there also is concern that the per page charges that would be increased by the bill may become irrelevant as county governments transition to electronic filing.
    Commissioner Clyde Graeber questioned whether the county could bar the use of electronic filing for the Register of Deeds Office.
    Hurley said he would have to ask Leavenworth County Counselor David Van Parys.
    "I would doubt it," Hurley said.
    Commission Chairman Bob Holland asked whether the mortgage fee could be reinstated by future legislators if it's eliminated.
    Page 2 of 2 - Hurley said the chance of the fee being reinstated would be slight.
    "We have one more chance to try to stop it," Hurley said of the proposed bill.
    Hurley discussed another bill that has been passed in the Kansas Senate, but not the House. The bill concerns property tax exemptions for health clubs.
    Hurley said the legislation also could be added to a bill in conference committee.
    Hurley said he asked Leavenworth County Appraiser Bob Weber to look at how much tax revenue could be lost if the legislation is approved.
    Weber believes there are three health clubs in the county that could receive exemptions under the bill. This would result in a loss of $20,219 per year in property tax revenue for the county.
    The lost revenue for the various taxing entities would total $85,442.
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