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Dec. broke property tax records

By The Mercury

The month of December was a “record-breaker” for property sales in Pottawatomie County.

“Basically, the whole year was a record-breaker,” Appraiser Lois Schlegel told Pottawatomie County commissioners Monday.

There were 78 property sales in December, well above any December in the previous three years, according to Schlegel.

The 671 property sales for the entire year represents a 27 percent increase over 2011.

“They’re very good numbers to see; a very active sales market,” Schlegel said.

“December bypassed anything for the past three years and I think that’s good news for the county.”

Eighty-three percent of the 2012 property sales were along the U.S. Highway 24 Corridor between St. Marys and Manhattan, and 74 percent of those were between Wamego and Manhattan. The average residential sale price in 2012 was $181,926, up slightly from $181,342 in 2011.

Since 1998, average residential sale prices in the county have increased every year but 2009, when the average sale price dipped about $9,000 to $154,961.

Schlegel also reported that change of valuation notices will be mailed to property owners this Friday.

The notices will reflect an overall average increase of 4.37 percent in appraised value.

“I’d say that’s very encouraging as far as keeping the county levy stabilized,” she said. As for agricultural property values, cropland will see an overall increase of 16 percent, with some irrigated cropland along the Kansas River exceeding that, according to Schlegel.

“You’ll see a lot of cropland values that will double,” she said.

Owners of native and tame grasses will see no significant change, she added.

In other business Monday, the commission:

• Approved emergency disaster declarations for the snowstorm February 21, and the anticipated storm of February 25-26.

Although the declarations allow the county to seek financial reimbursement through the Kansas Department of Emergency Management, Chris Trudo, emergency management director, doubted whether the storms will qualify for funding.

Emergency response during the February 21 storm was minimal, Trudo said. “Everybody stayed home and we didn’t have 100 slide-offs,” he told commissioners. “Everything went smoothly.”

The storm predicted for February 25-26, however, could be worse.

“We’re looking at 20 mile-per-hour sustained winds with gusts to 30 or 35,” Trudo said. “We’re expecting drifting problems due to the wind and the snow already on the ground.”

In a Monday morning conference call with the Kansas Emergency Operations Center, Trudo said Pott County should expect six to nine inches of snow in the southern portion of the county and five to six inches in the north and northwest.

• Appointed Andy Boeckman, Wamego, to fill the remainder of the term of Mike Rice, who is retiring from the board of the Pott County Economic Development Corporation. Boeckman will be eligible for reappointment in 2014.

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