Barton County Commissioners Monday officially congratulated Appraiser Jame Allen on earning her Registered Mass Appraiser designation and talked about the future of the appraiser’s office. Commissioners also approved letters of support for a requested tax exemption on property acquired by Sunflower Diversified Services.
County Appraiser Barb Esfeld said Allen was hired in 2001 and progressed to Appraiser I in 2004. Earning the RMA designation required 170 mandatory course hours, 6,000 hours of mass appraisal experience and successful completion of both a residential and commercial case study.
“She was supposed to receive her pin from (David Harper, the state director of Property Valuation) at a convention last month,” Esfeld said. The Kansas County Appraisers Association recognizes new RMA’s at its annual business conference, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic there was no gathering this year.
“This is really no small feat,” Esfeld said, adding five employees in the appraiser’s office have earned the designation. “I’m really impressed that we have such a qualified staff.”
The commissioners were also impressed, making and approving a motion to officially congratulate Allen. It was noted that her accomplishment came with a pay raise.
Having an RMA designation makes an appraiser attractive to “headhunters” in other counties, but Allen has assured Esfeld she wants to stay in Barton County, Esfeld said.
Esfeld herself is retiring at the end of the year. Her last day will be Monday, Nov. 30. She has been elected to join the commission in 2021 and has recommended Deputy County Appraiser Wendy Prosser, RMA, as her replacement.
Prosser has also been approached by other counties needing an appraiser, she said.
“Barton County has invested in me over the 13 years I’ve worked here,” Prosser said. “I love the county.”
The commissioners also approved two letters of support for Sunflower Diversified Services, which is seeking tax exemptions on properties at 5605 10th St. and 5611 10th St. in Great Bend.
Jon Prescott, Sunflower’s chief executive officer, was unable to attend the meeting but County Administrator Phil Hathcock presented the information he provided.
“The letters say you support him getting the tax exemption on these two buildings,” Hathcock said, adding the exemption is typical for a non-profit.
Commissioner Jennifer Schartz wanted to know if the building should be exempt, since Sunflower Diversified Services opened a UPS Store there, and that is a for-profit business. Hathcock explained that she was mistaken.
“This is not the UPS building but two buildings to the west of the current recycling center,” he said. It is the former location of Pro-Tint Auto Glass.
County Appraiser Esfeld was still at the meeting and she said Schartz’s question about the UPS Store was valid, even though it was not the issue that day. Esfeld said that building, at 5523 10th St., had been tax-exempt but it was put back on the tax rolls after the building was remodeled. Any time there is a major change to a building that was exempt it goes back on the tax roll and then the non-profit can apply for a new exemption.