Carlyle town hall echoes familiar concerns on roads, taxes

Residents from the Carlyle community got a chance to share concerns about roads and taxes with county officials and Kansas lawmakers who represent the area.

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Local News

May 17, 2024 - 2:20 PM

Sen. Caryn Tyson, R-Parker, attended town hall meetings at Mildred last week and Carlyle Thursday. She is shown at Mildred. Photo by Sarah Haney / Iola Register

Echoing last week’s Mildred town hall, a small gathering of Carlyle community members expressed their frustrations with rising property taxes Thursday evening. Leading this town hall once again was Commissioner David Lee, accompanied by Interim Road and Bridge director Jeremy Hopkins, Deputy Appraiser Danielle Louk, Rep. Fred Gardner, R-Garnett, and Sen. Caryn Tyson, R-Parker.

Starting off the meeting, community member Mike Church thanked Hopkins for the addition of two stop signs at Texas and Adams in Carlyle. Commissioners recently agreed to install the stop signs, creating a four-way stop intersection. The installation of the signs was in response to community members’ concerns about the Prairie Spirit Trail crossing on the road and people potentially not knowing it was there. 

“It’s slowing a lot of them down,” said Church. “It’s a lot safer. Thank you.”

Church continued by asking Lee if the county had a five-year plan for infrastructure.

 “No,” said Lee. “Every time we start one, something comes up and it gets put to the side.” 

Lee said his takeaway from this is that maybe they should start a one or two-year plan. 

“One of the things that I’d like to do, at some point, is save up enough money to do asphalt,” said Lee. “That’s extremely expensive, so we’d have to save up for several years to be able to do that.”

This led to Church’s next concern: the condition of the roads. 

“People order stuff off Amazon and we get these large trucks coming down these little streets,” he said.

“Between that and the farm equipment, it’s humongous,” Lee agreed. “We’ve got 18-wheelers going up and down them, and the roads aren’t designed for that.”

Lee continued, “I think in the back of our minds, there are things we’d like to do, but we’ve got to save. And by the time we save, something comes up and we lose it. We put $600,000 away last year for these kinds of things and there’s a good chance we won’t be able to put anything away this year from trying to keep property taxes down.”

REGARDING property taxes, all who were present said they were concerned with the increases they’ve been seeing. 

“The county is the tax collector — that’s all we do,” said Lee. “A lot of people don’t understand that. They think all the tax bill goes to the county.” Lee explained that when people pay taxes, they pay them to the county, the school district they are in, the college, state, and library, among others.

Deputy Appraiser Louk noted, “Appraised values are definitely a lot higher. We use current sales within 10% of the market in the area, high or low. We take all of the sales that have occurred in the last couple years that meet certain criteria and put them into a ratio study at the end of the year.” She explained that they use these sales to give comparables to all the properties in the county and help determine the appraised value if you were to sell your property today.

Lee said that Allen County strives to be within the 10% on valuation. 

“If you have a $100,000 home, you could be appraised anywhere between $90,000 and $110,000.” He added that, historically, the county appraises at the lower end of that.

Sen. Tyson noted that the 10% is “arbitrary” and a misnomer. 

“There is nothing in statute,” she said. “PVD (property valuation division) puts in an arbitrary number and tells appraisers to be within 10%. There are no consequences if they are not within that 10%.” 

Louk stressed that, in order to be in compliance, they stay within the 10%. 

Tyson challenged Louk to ask what the penalty is if the county isn’t in compliance. 

“It’s a feel-good number,” Tyson said. “It’s an arbitrary number. You bring in five different appraisers for one property, I bet you’d get four different values. Maybe even five.” 

Tyson added that legislators are pushing a constitutional amendment where valuations would still go up and down based on the appraiser, but limit the taxable value to only increase so much every year.

 “That would help take those spikes out of these double digit valuation increases,” she said.

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