Iola leaders contest Sen. Caryn Tyson’s claims

City Administrator Matt Rehder and Mayor Steve French do the math; request the state senator to explain her accusation that Iola has the highest commercial property taxes in the nation

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May 21, 2024 - 3:46 PM

Iola Administrator Matt Rehder and Iola Mayor strongly contest State Sen. Caryn Tyson's accusation that Iola has the highest commercial property taxes in the nation. Register file photo

An open letter to Senator Caryn Tyson:

At a town hall meeting on May 9, you asserted that the city of Iola has the highest commercial property taxes in the nation. You also said that a commercial building valued at $1 million pays “approximately $62,000 a year” in property taxes. 

Myself and the Iola City Council have some questions for you. Please read below.

As a baseline, the City of Iola is one of six taxing entities in the city. The other five are USD 257, Allen County, Allen Community College, Southwind Extension No. 10, and the state of Kansas. 

Below, are each entity’s levy and the total levy for the city:

• USD 257 67.879 • Allen County: 60.420 • City of Iola: 55.404 • ACC: 19.034 • Southwind Extension No. 10 1.504 • State of Kansas: 1.500

• Total Levy: 205.741

The property tax calculation for commercial property valued at $1 millions in Iola is:

• Appraised Value: $1,000,000 • Assessment Rate: 25% • Assessed Value: $250,000

• Total Levy: 205.741

• Total Property Taxes: $51,435.25

Clearly, there is a discrepancy between your claim of “approximately $62,000 a year” and the calculation above. Please enlighten us on your arrival at the $62,000 figure.

Your assertion that the total tax is the highest in the nation is not supported by public information. The only variable in the calculation is the total tax. The higher the total tax, the higher the property tax amount. 

After research of Allen County tax rates, the city of Iola has the third highest total tax rate in the county. Please explain your assertion that the city of Iola has the highest commercial tax rate in the nation when it does not have the highest rate in Allen County.

Please accept this letter as an open invitation to attend an Iola City Council meeting and have a discussion concerning your claims. 

I suggest you have answers to the following questions:

1. How did you calculate the “approximately $62,000 a year” tax total using the standard Kansas commercial property tax calculation noted above?

2. Where did you get your information that claims the City of Iola has the highest commercial property tax rates in the nation?

Sincerely,

Matt Rehder, Iola administrator

Steve French, Iola mayor

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