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BCCs Camp Aldrich now tax exempt
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 Following a successful appeal filed with the Kansas Board of Tax Appeals, Barton Community College will no longer have to pay property taxes on its Camp Aldrich. This exemption may have a profound effect on smaller taxing entities, including Logan Township where the facility is located, the Barton County Commission learned Monday.
The matter arose when commissioners approved the latest batch of abated and refunded taxes presented by County Clerk Donna Zimmerman. The only two on the agenda for this week were two associated with the college and the camp.
The total assessed value on the property located in rural Barton County near Claflin in Logan Township, was $253,044. The tax that would be due totaled $40,994.19.
The total taxes due for the camp are $41,698.12. Of that, all but about $700 are based on the improvements to the camp with the rest based on other, older structures on the property.
That amount would have been distributed amongst a host of parties, from the State of Kansas ($379.57) to the county ($11,024.37) to the township ($5,812.17).
But, for most of these entities, the totals are only a small portion of their budgets, Zimmerman said. That’s not the case with the township which has a budget of $112,296, making the loss about 5 percent of the total. In the case of the county, the total budget is over $20 million.
“It doesn’t really make a difference to the county,” said commission Chairwoman Jennifer Schartz. “But it does make a difference to Logan Township.”
A sand road leads into Camp Aldrich, a road that is maintained by Logan Township, Commissioner Alicia Straub said. A cut in tax revenue could jeopardize the road’s care.
It is possible, Schartz said, that BCC and the township could enter into a separate agreement to assure the road remains in good shape.
A fire destroyed much of the Camp Aldrich dinning hall in April of 2014, but it reopened in March of 2016. However, the college also learned the taxes on the camp would jump from $6,000 to $47,000 due to the improvements.
This sparked BCC to file the appeal earlier this year which proved successful. The college has been frustrated for years at paying property taxes on the camp and even filed an appeal 15 years ago, but it was declined.
College officials maintain the camp is costly to maintain and has operated at a loss, even with a new pricing structure. But, the exemption may allow it to break even.
Mark Dean, BCC dean of administration said Monday this was good news for the college. Had the exemption not been approved and the college paid the taxes, it would have gotten back $8,415.74 as its share, so this marks a net gain for the institution.