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Pottawatomie County property sales continue to rise

By The Mercury

Property sales in Pottawatomie County continue to soar.

“It’s just unbelievable,” Lois Schlegel, county appraiser, told Pottawatomie County Commissioners Monday.

There were 99 property sales last month––nearly double the number of sales (56) in July of 2012.

“I looked back and the last time we had 99 sales was April of 2007,” Schlegel said in her monthly department update. “Things are moving and things are really going to town and keeping our office busy.”

The majority of the July property sales were residential (40) and vacant lots (31), the latter indicating a healthy market for new residential construction. There were 15 sales of ag land and farmsteads and one commercial property sale, according figures provided by Schlegel.

“We currently have approximately 400 open new construction permits throughout the county,” she said. “We have a lot of new construction going on in the county.”

The appraiser also informed the commission on new state regulations regarding appraisal of property.

On major rule change is designed to improve equity and uniformity throughout the state. “It’s just something a little above and beyond what we already do,” Schlegel said.

A second change requires county appraisers to provide in writing to commissioners personal financial and business information of the appraisers’ immediate family to prevent any conflict of interest.

“Lois, when you get all your personal information, you don’t have to send it to me,” said Commissioner Stan Hartwich. “I’ve known you since I was five and we couldn’t find a finer person for this office. You do a good job for us.”

In other business Monday:

• The commission adopted the 2014 county budget as published.

The budget includes a tax levy of 25.675 mills––identical to the 2013 levy––but has General Fund spending authority of about $22.65 million, an increase of $760,000.

In a brief review during the budget hearing, Robert Reece, county administrator, said the budget includes funds for continued study of major infrastructure proposals such as the Belvue Bridge and Marlatt-Junietta Extension.

One citizen spoke at the hearing, saying further study of the Marlatt-Junietta Extension “is like throwing money on the ground,” noting that the Kansas Department of Transportation has already studied widening U.S. 24 to six lanes east of Manhattan.

“Any money spent on that project (Marlatt-Junietta) is just wasted,” he said.

• County Attorney Sherri Schuck and Andrea Karnes, office manager, reported the following case filings for July: 258 criminal, 63 traffic, 19 juvenile offender, eight fish and game, and two child in need of care.

The commission also authorized the county attorney’s office to spend $8,000 from its check fee fund for new furniture for its offices in the new justice center.

“Slowly but surely we’re getting ready for our move (into the new center),” Karnes said.

The check fee fund has a current balance of about $25,000 from fees for diversions and issuances of bad checks, according to Karnes.

“The Stampede brings in quite a bit,” she said.

• Bruce Brazzle, fire supervisor, said ground will be broken this week on the new Emergency Medical Services building at Onaga. The project is being done in conjunction with the expansion and renovation of Community Hospital.

Brazzle also said a business plan for Consolidated Fire District 1 is ready, and the first meeting of the advisory board of the new district is scheduled for next month.

Earlier this summer, the commission approved consolidation of seven of the 12 fire districts under county oversight. The consolidation brings under a single organizational umbrella seven districts which comprise 47 percent of the county’s land area. 

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