Good news, bad news in tax comparison

Staff reporter

The debate has been going on for months, if not years.

How do Marion County taxes stack up against other counties? In other words, just how expensive is it to live and own property in rural Marion County and the cities within the county?

Those questions have been asked and, depending on who you ask, they have varying answers.

Contact was made with each neighboring county — Butler, Chase, Dickinson, Harvey, and McPherson.

Comparisons of real property taxes were made with the county seat of each neighboring county and a town within that county that is similar in population to those cities in Marion County.

The accompanying chart shows the tax differences between the counties for an average car and truck, and a house assessed at $70,000. The taxes for the vehicles are county-based taxes.

So, how did Marion County and cities stack up?

When it comes to personal property, Marion County taxes on the base car was second highest. On the other hand, the pickup truck used in the study was second lowest compared with the other counties.

Marion County was the third lowest of the six counties regarding real property taxes, just one dollar less than McPherson County. However, the cities of Marion and Hillsboro didn't fair as well. Marion was the second highest of the 12 cities and Hillsboro was the four highest.

Other cities in county

Using the base of a house with an assessed value of $70,000, the following approximate taxes are paid: Burns, $1,651; Durham, $971; Florence, $1,658; Goessel, $1,442; Hillsboro, $1,230; Lehigh, $1,373; Lincolnville: $1,497; Lost Springs, $1,158; Marion, $1,451; Peabody, $1,518; Ramona, $2,003; and Tampa, $1,424.

Sedgwick County also was contacted because there is a large number of people from that county who relocate to Marion County and the cities within. In comparison, average estimated taxes in rural Sedgwick County are $1,092, and $909 in Wichita.

Not an exact comparison

Every effort was made to be as accurate as possible in gathering the information. The tax amounts are estimates or "best guesses" because taxing districts are different and are based on those services provided to its residents.

Some residents in the taxing districts pay for cemeteries, drainage districts, a hospital, libraries, and all contribute to a school district.

For exact taxes, it is best to contact the county directly and request information related to a specific parcel.

Cities, counties being compared

On the chart, there are 12 cities within the five counties that share a border with Marion County.

Following are the cities and the counties with the county seat listed first: El Dorado and Douglass, Butler County; Cottonwood Falls and Strong City, Chase County; Abilene and Herington, Dickinson County; Newton and Hesston, Harvey County; Marion and Hillsboro, Marion County; and McPherson and Lindsborg, McPherson County.