It may seem like a daunting task. Each year, Barton County Appraiser Barb Esfeld and her staff must re-inspect 17 percent of the properties in the county.
This year, she told the Barton County Commission Monday morning, they are visiting 2,400 residential and 600 commercial sites. State law mandates all properties be re-evaluated every six years.
“Everybody has been so pleasant and helpful,” said Esfeld of her staff’s reception by residents. Staff wears name tags and drive county-marked vehicles.
“We want to make sure it is as fair and equitable as possible for the taxpayers,” Esfeld said. So, accuracy is important.
If owners are home at the time of the visit, they are interviewed. If they are not home, a yellow door hanger is left that can be filled out and returned to the Appraiser’s Office.
This marks the sixth year since Esfeld’s office switched to a new software. “We’re still cleaning up some conversion issues,” she said.
Since all property is revisited every six years, this should be the last year these problems are found.
However, despite the sometimes rocky change, she feels the new system is better. It allows for a more detailed descriptions of the properties, thus making the reappraisals more accurate.
Sure, the reappraisals are required by law, but Esfeld said they see a lot of value in them. A home or business can change a lot in six years, rendering previous tax values obsolete.
“We do see a lot of differences,” she said.
This year, personnel are measuring and inspecting properties located between NW 50 Rd down to SW 10 Rd. This includes Heizer and Ellinwood and Clarence, Buffalo, Great Bend and Lakin townships.
Properties that have sold recently and/or have building permits will also be reinspected, Esfeld said. Next, her staff will go out to collect these permits on such projects as reroofs, new garages and remodels.
In 2014, Barton County issued 779 building permits.
From Jan. 1, 2014 to July 1, 2014, the county had received 379 permits. For that same time period in 2015, the county received a total of 470 permits.
There have also been 24 new homes built in Barton County in the past year.
“There’s quite a lot going on in Barton County,” Esfeld said.