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Home building figures soaring in Pottawatomie County

By The Mercury

The appraised value of real estate in Pottawatomie County increased by nearly $67 million in 2013, according to figures certified recently by the appraiser’s office.

The total appraised property value for 2013 is $1,653,038,110, Lois Schlegel told county commissioners Monday. That compares to a total of $1,586,132,640 in 2012, an increase of $66,905,470.

Of that increase, nearly half — or $31,268,510 — was in new construction in the county, according to Schlegel.

The appraised values of all classes of real estate countywide increased an average of 4.18 percent for 2013, according to the figures. The value of residential real estate increased an average of 2.81 percent; farmsteads, 1.87 percent; and commercial, 5.01 percent.

Schlegel also reported another record number of property sales for the month of May. Eighty-seven properties changed hands last month, a figure not seen in Pott County for a number of years.

“We haven’t had 90 sales since 2007,” Schlegel said. “That pretty much tells you what’s going on right now.”

The May property sales included 36 residential, two commercial, 13 farmsteads or ag land, and 33 vacant lots. The 33 vacant lot sales is “very high,” according to Schlegel, and an indication of a continuing upward trend in residential construction.

In other business Monday:

• Lisa Wright, treasurer, said she is working with John Watt, county counselor, in preparing a list of delinquent property tax payers for a tax foreclosure sale to be held later this year.

For the first half of 2013, “taxes came in very steady and very quickly,” Wright told commissioners.

• Leu Lowrey, public works director, said work on the Wilson Creek Bridge was scheduled to begin Monday, June 17, closing Westmoreland Rd. northwest of Westmoreland for the duration of the bridge replacement.

In anticipation of the project, the commission authorized upgrades to Bigalow Road, which runs directly west out of Westmoreland.

Construction of the new Wilson Creek Bridge is expected to take about four months.

• Bob Cole, executive director of the Pott County Economic Development Corporation, said two businesses––McElroy’s and Cat Cans Portable Services––are interested in locating in Green Valley Business Park east of Manhattan.

Due to the nature of the second business––providing portable restroom facilities for events and construction sites––commissioners suggested the Wamego Industrial Park might be a more suitable location if the city of Wamego would allow the company to utilize its wastewater treatment plant.

Cat Cans currently transports its units to Junction City for dumping waste, Cole said.

• Dustin Trego, management assistant, updated the commission on mini-bus transportation for the month of May.

Trego said the county mini-buses are still operating under budget due to the use of bulk fuel purchased by the county. In May, the buses used 533.32 gallons of fuel at an average cost of $3.08 per gallon, Trego said.

Trego also said entities receiving Title VI federal transportation funds are now required to develop a “language discrimination plan.” Counties that have minority populations of greater than five percent will be required to also print fliers and literature in the language of that minority.

“Can’t we just hand them a disc which teaches them to speak English?” Commissioner Stan Hartwich asked.

While Pott County will be required to develop a plan, it will not be required to print materials in a second language since it does not have a minority population that exceeds the five percent threshold, Trego said.

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