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Unpaid taxes up 24%

Staff writer

Unpaid property taxes soared a near-record 24.2% this year to a four-year high, according to an official notice published this week in the Record.

Countywide, delinquent ad valorem taxes for 2022 rose by more than $86,000 to $442,096.91 — their highest level since 2019 — even as many taxpayers will be facing even bigger bills next year.

Some of the most notable delinquencies this year come in communities with the largest tax increases pending for next year.

All in all, the amount of delinquent taxes for 2022 would be equivalent to a 2.54-mill increase on property tax bills of those who paid their taxes in full by the May 10 deadline.

A total of 580 properties are delinquent on their 2022 taxes. That’s up from 529 a year ago, 456 two years ago, and 530 three years ago but just short of a record 616 delinquent properties in 2019.

That year, delinquencies related to Hillsboro Community Hospital’s now-resolved bankruptcy, pushed the unpaid total to record levels.

This year, although by no means of the same scope, unpaid taxes by Herington Hospital for its clinic in Hillsboro helped push the total higher.

Herington Hospital is the biggest 2022 scofflaw, with a total of $32,374.17 owed on its clinic properties, purchased in May, 2021, at 108, 112, and 114 S. Main St. in Hillsboro.

Hillsboro also has the second largest tax scofflaw, Hillsboro Properties, owner of rent-subsidized Oakwood Manor apartments at 401 N. Ash St.

Oakwood owes $9,315.62 in back taxes and interest and also was delinquent in 2018 and 2019, according to tax records.

Countywide, the largest number of delinquent properties was 110 in Peabody, which is proposing a 23% increase in its tax rate for the coming year in addition to an 8.7% increase in its school mill rate.

With just 8.0% of the county’s population, Peabody accounts for 19.0% of the county’s delinquent properties and 16.7% of the 2022 property taxes still owed.

Florence, poised to raise its mill rate by 14.3%, has 12.1% of the delinquent properties and 6.6% of the delinquent amount despite accounting for just 3.3% of the county’s population.

Marion is close behind Peabody with 95 delinquent properties and ranks third behind Hillsboro and Peabody with $70,148.08 in taxes owned.

Marion accounts for 15.9% of the unpaid total and 16.4% of the total delinquencies but a corresponding 16.2% of the county’s population.

The city with the county’s highest tax rate, Ramona, accounts for just 0.7% of population but 2.8% of delinquent properties and 1.7% of unpaid taxes.

Hillsboro, with the second lowest tax rate, accounts for 23.4% of population but just 10.5% of delinquent properties and, despite two huge delinquent totals, 20.1% of unpaid taxes.

Levels of taxation don’t tell the whole story, however. Lost Springs, with the county’s lowest tax rate, has 22 delinquencies among just 54 residents.

Here, by city and township, are the numbers of delinquent parcels and unpaid totals for 2022 property taxes:

Cities

Parcels Amount

Hillsboro 61 $ 88,720.51

Peabody 110 74,016.98

Marion 95 70,148.08

Florence 70 29,054.26

Lehigh 18 16,046.14

Goessel 12 14,148.63

Lincolnville 17 10,475.49

Burns 24 9,421.89

Lost Springs 22 7,583.50

Ramona 16 7,560.84

Tampa 4 1,743.12

Durham 5 681.23

TOWNSHIPS

Parcels Amount

West Branch 9 $ 14,488.79

Menno 9 11,598.61

Summit 7 10,060.89

Clear Creek 13 8,316.82

Clark 4 8,261.98

Milton 7 7,255.80

Centre 5 6,395.61

Gale 6 5,987.51

Grant 7 5,405.76

Lost Springs 10 5,050.05

Logan 5 4,676.81

Wilson 4 4,212.23

Catlin 7 3,999.08

Liberty 4 3,831.35

Moore 3 2,782.30

Peabody 2 2,322.05

East Branch 5 2,162.75

Lehigh 3 1,935.06

Doyle 5 1,773.65

Risley 3 985.35

Fairplay 4 701.88

Colfax 2 233.21

Durham Park 1 40.63

Blaine 1 18.07

Familiar names highlight the list of individual taxpayers and businesses not paying their taxes on time.

Although regulations generally call for the sale of properties delinquent for three years, many properties on this year’s list have been delinquent for longer:

  • Ralph D. and Christine M. Bestvater owe $4,033.22 in 2022 taxes on their 14-acre farmstead and 2,284-square-foot home with six outbuildings at 788 Chisholm Trail Rd. near Goessel. They have not paid similar amounts of taxes for 2019, 2020, and 2021 and also are delinquent on $568.85 in 2022 taxes on an 80-acre parcel (also delinquent for 2021) and on $101.52 in 2022 taxes on a vacant lot (delinquent as well for 2019, 2020, and 2021).
  • Victor L. Buckner owes $3,907.08 in 2022 taxes on his 1,444-square-foot home, built in 2000, at 106 Ashley Dr. in Marion. He owes similar amounts for 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021, making him five years’ delinquent. He also owes $62.20 on an adjoining lot with shed. Taxes on it also have not been paid since 2018. And he owes $547.77 on his proposed Wags and Wiggles Furever unbuilt animal sanctuary, land for which was purchased last year at 1404 Flint Rock Rd. in Marion’s commercial park.
  • Joe Base owes $3,398.94 on his Goessel Station business at 220 E. Main St. in Goessel. Taxes on the property haven’t been paid for at least four years. He also owes $1,709.85 on his 2,135-square-foot home, remodeled in 2006, at 1330 Alamo Rd. The last payment on that property was for 2018 taxes.
  • Bryan Grosse is delinquent a total of $2,855.14 in 2022 taxes on seven properties he owns or co-owns at 314 N. 3rd St., 432 Arbor St., 656 and 700 N. Cedar St., and 214, 216, and 220 W. Santa Fe St. in Marion. Taxes on none of them have been paid since at least 2018, although appraisal records indicate ownership changed last year. Treasurer Susan Berg said when a property owner buys a property with unpaid prior taxes, it is the buyer’s responsibility to pay the unpaid taxes, so the property could be sold by the county. If the property is purchased at a tax sale, unpaid previous taxes are owed by the person who owed the taxes before the sale.
  • O & J of Kansas, which owned the defunct Food Mart at 102 W. 9th St. in Peabody before forfeiting its business registration in 2015, owes $1,599.46 in 2022 taxes plus unpaid taxes for every year since 2010. It is one of several properties scheduled to be sold at a sheriff’s sale at 10 a.m. Thursday at Marion County Lake hall. Total taxes owed on the property, valued at just $27,030, are $70,390.51.
  • Michael T. Loomis owes $1,481.78 in 2022 taxes on his home at 413 S. 3rd St. in Marion and on two nearby lots. The last payments on any of them were partial payments for 2018 taxes, due more than four years ago.
  • Elaine M. Morse and Al Church owe $1,335.52 in 2022 taxes on a rental property at 108 N. Coble St. and a retail store at 1204 E. Main St., both in Marion. The only tax payments received on either property in the past decade were $30 and $80 partial payments applied to 2018 tax bills and a $54.37 partial payment applied to a 2012 tax bill. These two properties, together valued at $30,610, also are scheduled to be sold Thursday for total back taxes of $26,480.16.

Some taxpayers appear to be taking care of old delinquencies to avoid sale but not keeping current with more recent bills:

  • Keith A. and Sherry L. Hess owe $2,449.13 in 2022 taxes on their Wagon Wheel Express restaurant at 202 W. Main St. in Marion. They were delinquent but paid for 2018 through 2020 and now owe only for 2022 plus a similar amount for 2021.
  • DLH Enterprises of Walsh, Colorado, owes a total of $5,387.76 on two duplexes at 202 and 206 S. Lincoln St. in Hillsboro. DLH also was delinquent for 2018 through 2020 and now owes only for 2022 plus a similar amount for 2021.

Other large unpaid 2022 bills include these:

  • Kansas Home Solutions and Felix Ramirez, seeking permission to build container homes in Hillsboro and Marion, owe a total of $9,256.25 on 15 Hillsboro lots and a house at 140 N. Cedar St. in Marion. Ramirez, who has been purchasing additional properties, is not allowed to bid on properties in the tax sale because he is on the delinquent list.
  • Gary Suderman, through a trust, owes $7,769.76 on six parcels including his 2,115-square-foot residence at 1529 Limestone Rd. and about 500 acres of farmland.
  • Michael T. and Linda D. Hauck owe $7,032.50 on their 156-acre farm and 1,484-square-foot home, built in 2012, at 2139 20th Rd. near Burns.
  • Trent C. Koehler owes $5,361.74 on his warehouse, purchased last year, at 1003 Batt St. in Marion’s industrial park.
  • Lowell Larson, through a trust, owes $4,224.42 on his 1,450-square-foot farmhouse at 340 US-77 and nearly 500 acres of farmland.
  • Robert D. Schmidt owes $3,671.78 on his 2,521-square-foot home and 87.14 acres of farmland with 11 outbuildings at 1536 Diamond Rd. near Hillsboro. He and relatives also owe $372.90 on a separate parcel of farmland.
  • Mary Catherine and Jay L. McClure and Karen D. Fryhover owe $3,565.01 on their 1,524-square-foot, 1968 home, remodeled in 2002, at 210 S. Elm St., Hillsboro. They also were late paying last year.

Several current or former business locations appear on the list. Among them are Hatton’s Hometown Hardware in Peabody ($2,281.93) and J.R. Hatters Mercantile in Marion ($1,538.89).

Several sheriff’s department employees also make the list, including jailer Tammy Whiteside ($2,881.91 on four properties), jail administrator James Philpott ($1,386.98 on two properties), and deputy Steven Janzen ($497.97 on one formerly owned rental property) at 508 N. Cedar St. in Marion.

Berg said Whiteside and Philpott have been making escrow payments.

The complete list appears in this week’s Classifieds section.

Last modified Aug. 10, 2023

 

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