Leavenworth County residents whose homes were destroyed by a recent tornado can seek property tax abatement from the the county.

Leavenworth County residents whose homes were destroyed by a recent tornado can seek property tax abatement from the the county.

County Appraiser Bob Weber discussed the property tax abatement process Wednesday when he met with county commissioners.

“We have not received any applications for tornado damage as of yet,” he said.

Weber said his office has sent letters to property owners who may qualify for tax abatement.

An EF-4 tornado passed through southern Leavenworth County on May 28.

According to Weber, 46 homes were destroyed by the tornado. An additional 46 homes sustained major damage, and 38 homes had minor damage.

One industrial property was destroyed.

According to Weber, 138 outbuildings were destroyed and 21 other outbuildings were damaged.

State law allows the County Commission to abate all or a portion of taxes for a homestead that was “destroyed or substantially destroyed” by a tornado. For a home to be considered destroyed or substantially destroyed, the cost of repairs would have to exceed 50% of what had been considered the home’s market value prior to the tornado, according to Weber.

Weber said outbuildings are not included in a definition of a homestead he received from the Kansas Department of Revenue’s Division of Property Valuation.

Commissioner Chad Schimke questioned why outbuildings are not treated the same way as houses if the outbuildings can be insured and taxed.

Commissioner Mike Stieben said he spoke with a member of the Kansas House of Representatives. And Stieben said state lawmakers can be asked to pass legislation that would allow tax abatement for destroyed outbuildings.

Senior County Counselor David Van Parys said county staff can work with local legislators if special legislation is necessary.

In the meantime, Weber said he can contact lawyers with the Division of Property Valuation regarding the issue.

Commissioner Doug Smith asked Weber if the county appraiser can send staff to the Linwood Community Center for a couple of days to help residents with the application process for tax abatement.

“We’ll work on that,” Weber said.

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