Tax bills spur sticker shock
By PHYLLIS ZORN
A new tax appearing on property owners’ annual tax bills is causing consternation and sticker shock among county residents.
So is a 2.5-mill levy increase for the county itself. The impact of the increase is even greater because money raised by the new tax used to come from the county’s general fund levy.
This year, tax bills include 1.7 mills for a newly formed Chisholm Trail Extension District. The new tax appears as a new line item on bills. In the past, money for extension was a portion of money paid to county’s general fund.
The new extension district will cost $240,729 countywide. Last year, extension services were paid $164,048 out of the general fund.
That makes a $76,681 or 46.7% increase for extension funding this year.
It also means the county general fund, which saw a net $2,033 increase, was able to shift $76,681 to other spending, resulting in a total increase in general fund spending of $78,714.
Chisholm Trail Extension District, which includes Marion and Dickinson Counties, gets a total of $627,704.47 in tax money. Besides $240,729 paid by Marion County residents, it gets $386,975.47 from Dickinson County.
Dickinson County residents paid $290,205 for extension services last year and are seeing a $96,770.47 or 33.3% increase in extension spending this year, Dickinson County treasurer Leah Hern said.
Overall, property tax revenue for Marion County government went up $238,611, excluding extension programs. That’s a 2.3% increase.
When Chisholm Trail Extension District was approved by county commissioners in late April, the agreement called for a mill levy cap of 2 mills
Four extension agents are in the Dickinson County office. They serve 4-H, agriculture, family resource management and wellness, and health and nutrition. Two extension agents are in the Marion County office, serving agriculture, natural resources, family and consumer sciences, and 4-H.
Kansas State University pays $83,200 of district extension agents’ salary and pays their retirement contribution, which equals 8.5% of their total salary paid by both university and county money.
Last modified Dec. 2, 2020