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Making the grade
County appraisal rates exceed state standards
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Barton County Appraiser’s Office personnel measure a structure as part of their appraisal efforts. The county received high marks for its appraisal efforts.

Barton County’s appraisal grade card came in and it passed with flying colors, County Appraiser Barb Esfeld told the County Commission Monday morning.

“These are the best results ever for Barton County,” she said. Esfeld was referring to the most recent Kansas Appraisal/Sales Ratio Study which gauges appraisal levels and their uniformity in relation to compliance with state statutes.

The Kansas Constitution requires that all taxable property be appraised and assessed uniformly as to class, Esfeld said. “Uniformity of like property assures an equitable distribution of the property tax burden.”

The study evaluates appraisals to determine a ratio that measures fairness. The ratios are computed by dividing the appraised value of real estate as determined by the county appraiser by the total selling price of the real property. 

Using this formula, a perfect ratio would be 100 and the statute requires a county to be within 10 percent of that. “We are proud to report that we made that,” Esfeld said.

The total 2017 market ratio for Barton County is 99.2. The 2017 figure is the most recent on record since it is the only year that has been finalized, Esfeld said. 

Breaking it down further, the appraiser said the residential sales ratio was 98 percent in 2016 and is now 99.1, based on 287 sales in 2017. 

Commercial ratio is very difficult since it is based on only 11 sales. In 2016, it was 95.9 and for 2017 it is 92.8 percent. Still good but a few points lower.

“This is like taking a test,” Esfeld said. 

Esfeld also thanked her crew for its efforts. “We have a wonderful staff. We have a 103 combined years of appraisal experience.”

An educational process

Esfeld serves as the president of the Kansas County Appraisers Association and in that capacity, she has testified numerous times before the Kansas Senate Taxation Committee. She told commissioners she leaves these hearings shaking her head.

“They don’t know much about appraisals and taxation,” she said. She has come home disappointed that she can’t get her message across.

“We did provide a lot of information,” Esfeld said. She hopes some of it hits the mark.

She said many lawmakers are unhappy with appraised values and with appraisers themselves. But, values are based on statutes passed by these legislators.

There is also a common misconception that county commissions tell their appraisers what the values need to be to make their budgets. This is not the case, she said.

“That would be illegal,” she said. And, a county would never meet its required appraisal ratio.

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Pictured is the Barton County Appraiser’s Office team. They include, left to right, Wendy Prosser, Jame Allen, Tracy Miller, Christina Doyle, Kelli Bayless, Dinorah Charbonneau, Phil Kepka, Ellen Fisher, Rachel Neiman and County Appraiser Barb Esfeld.
These are the best results ever for Barton County.
Barton County Appraiser Barb Esfeld