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County wants final say in appraisals

Paper purchase prompts discussion of preference for local bidders

Staff writer

Marion County Commission decided Monday to draft a letter to the state insisting that rules regulating appraisal for property taxes be different between large and small counties.

The discussion began when commissioner Randy Dallke told County Appraiser Cindy Magill that many properties in Peabody have sold for a fraction of their appraised value, and he wanted to make sure those sales would be reflected in future appraisals of those properties.

Magill said there are many reasons that she might not be allowed to consider those sales because of state rules. If a property owner is going through bankruptcy or foreclosure, the sale is considered to be “under duress” and not a valid sale for appraisal purposes. Likewise, sales from one family member to another are invalid.

There are additional rules to determine whether a sale on an auction is valid. The auction must be well advertised and well attended, and the seller must have the right to refuse the high bid, or the sale is invalid for appraisal purposes, Magill said.

Additionally, because of the low volume of property sales in Marion County, Magill has to use data from three years to set appraised values, which means sales from a single year won’t have as great of an affect.

Dallke said Marion County has to begin counting more auctions as valid sales, because that is how people are selling property now.

Commission chairman Roger Fleming said he wanted Magill to continue operating under the state standards, because he didn’t want her to get in trouble with the state over a decision by the commission. It should be up to the commission to get the state to revise its standards, he said.

Magill requested to meet with the commission in closed session to discuss her job, as it related to the discussion. The commission voted 2-1 to meet with her in closed session, with Dallke opposed.

On return to open session, the commission decided to send a letter to the state requesting Magill be given “common-sense latitude” for appraisals, at Dallke’s request. The same rules that work for Sedgwick and Johnson counties don’t work for rural counties, they said.

Commission codifies preference for local vendors

After hearing bids for copy paper, the commission discussed whether to give preferential treatment to Marion County businesses in bidding.

Baker Brothers Printing of Hillsboro was awarded a bid to provide 500,000 sheets of copy paper to the county, with a price of $3,105, despite not being the low bidder. Office Plus of Wichita bid $3,070. Dallke voted against awarding the bid to Baker Brothers Printing.

Dallke said it is good to do business in the county when possible, but if the county routinely awards bids to local businesses even if they aren’t low bidder, out-of-county businesses may stop bidding.

Fleming suggested establishing a percentage difference that the county would consider when awarding bids, depending on whether the bidder is a Marion County business. Dallke and Holub said they could support that idea.

“I’ve always been a firm believer of supporting local businesses, as long as it is prudent to do so,” Fleming said.

The commission agreed to consider local bidders when their bid is within 2 percent of the low bid. However, local businesses won’t automatically be awarded bids, even if they are within 2 percent of the low bid.

Other bidders for copy paper were Dick’s Business Machines, $3,109; Navrat’s Office Products, $3,220; and McPherson Business Solutions, $3,699.

In other business:

  • R&S Digital was awarded a contract to handle requests from companies for maps using the county’s geographic information system. The contract will free up county staff to attend to their regular duties. Revenues from the project will be split 50-50 between the county and company.
  • A resolution setting aside $3,000 per year for the next five years to pay back student loans of people who move to the county as an incentive to move to Marion County was tabled. The student loan program is part of Gov. Sam Brownback’s rural opportunity zone program.
  • Cooperative Grain & Supply of Hillsboro will provide 8,000 gallons of fuel to Road and Bridge Department for $25,973. Cardie Oil Company of Tampa bid $26,210.
  • Training related to the Keystone Oil Pipeline was attended by 21 emergency medical technicians and firefighters, Emergency Management Director Dan D’Albini said.
  • Two HP 4000 Pro computers were purchased from CDW-G for $813 each. CDW-G also bid $823 each for two Lenovo TC M70E computers. Great Plains Computers & Networking of Marion bid $1,003 each for two Nobilis I294S computers. The computers are for the emergency communications department to communicate with the state.
  • Sheriff Rob Craft met with the commission in closed session for 10 minutes to discuss personnel. No action was taken on return to open session.
  • The commission will speak with Road and Bridge Superintendent Randy Crawford and Transfer Station Director Rollin Schmidt about the possibility of sharing an employee with Marion County Park and Lake during the winter.
  • The commission inspected sidewalks and ramps around the courthouse to get an idea how much work may be needed to repair them.
  • The commission went on a field trip to see road and bridge projects and issues, including a bridge on 310th Road between Bison and Chisholm Trail roads that Crawford has recommended closing.

The next regularly scheduled commission meeting will be Monday.

Last modified Sept. 22, 2011

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