Pottawatomie County reports 85 mortgages in February

Times news service

By The Mercury

Business is booming in the Pottawatomie County Register of Deeds office.

“We’ve seen a huge increase in our mortgages,” Betty Abitz, register of deeds, told Pott County Commissioners Monday in her monthly department update.

There were 85 mortgages filed in Pott County in February — 31 more than in February of last year, Abitz said. The mortgages represent an indebtedness of nearly $8.4 million — about $3.5 million more than February of 2011, she said.

“Twenty-four of those were refinances with no money coming into the county,” Abitz said. “The rest were new and we collected mortgage taxes for the county.”

The Register of Deeds office generated $30,580 in income for February, about $12,000 more than the same period last year.

Abitz said there is also increased interest in oil and gas exploration in Pottawatomie County, with leasing companies taking advantage of the online service offered by the registrar’s office.

Commissioner Stan Hartwich said a representative of a leasing company told him recently how helpful Abitz’s office had been, and that the online service was especially useful.

“That’s what we’ve been working for for a long time,” Abitz said. “The oil and gas people are picking up here. They’ve been pretty busy coming into the county.”

In other business Monday:

• The commission accepted low bids submitted by four different companies for five different chemicals used for annual spraying by the Noxious Weed Department.

The commission accepted bids from Harvey Seed Co., for two of the chemicals, and one each from CPS, Van Diest and Red River Specialists.

Total cost of the chemicals was $101,251 — a savings of about $1,100 if the chemicals had been purchased from a single company.

The commission also authorized Tim Eisenbarth, noxious weed director, to advertise for summer help to complete the right-of-way spraying contract with the Kansas Department of Transportation.

• Gregg Webster, zoning administrator, reported that eight building permits were issued in the county during February, with a total cost of $904,500. That compares to 10 permits issued in February of 2011, with a total cost of $1,855,800.

Webster also said his office sent letters to all property owners within the newly revised boundaries of the flood plain developed by the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA).

The new flood plain maps will become effective soon for the entire county, except for an area east of Belvue and in St. Marys, where water levees are still under review.

New flood plain maps may be viewed at the zoning department’s website at, Webster said.

• Scott Schwinn, sanitarian, reported 583 tons of material were shipped from the county landfill in February, compared to 564 tons in February of last year.

Schwinn also reminded commissioners that April 7 has been designated as “free day” at the landfill. All county residents, excluding commercial haulers, may deliver to the landfill at no charge all standard waste and up to five tires per household.

• County Counselor John Watt said he is finalizing documents for the tax foreclosure sale to begin at 1:30 p.m. Friday, March 30, in the downstairs courtroom of the Pott County Courthouse at Westmoreland.

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