Recent Barton County appraisers (appointed by the County Commission to four-year terms):
• Oscar McIntosh – though 1985.
• Mark Hixon – appointed June 11, 1985, and served eight years and three months.
• David Stithem – appointed Nov. 1, 1993, and served four years.
• Gary Post – originally appointed June 23, 1997, and served two years, resigning the position.
• Jack Baines – appointed March 29, 1999, and served two years.
• Kyle McMallow (Radenberg) – appointed Dec. 17, 2001, and served seven years.
• Barb Esfeld – took over Jan. 1, 2008, and was first appointed April 20,2009. She is currently in office having served nine years and four months, and was reappointed this week.
Barb Esfeld will serve another four years as the Barton County appraiser following her reappointment by the County Commission Monday morning. She will serve another four-year term beginning July 1.
“I’ve enjoyed serving Barton County,” she said. Esfeld has held the post since 2008 after she was named to fill the unexpired term of her predecessor Kyle McMallow (Radenberg).
By state statute, a county appraiser must be appointed for a four-year term every fourth year following July 1, 1993. The appointment must be made by resolution and must be submitted to the Property Valuation Division of the State of Kansas.
In order to hold the office, one has to have a general certification, registered mass appraisers designation and keep up with continuing education credits. Esfeld fills all of these criteria.
“It’s been a good fit,” Commission Chairman Jennifer Schartz said of appointing Esfeld.
“It’s been good for me, too,” Esfeld said.
There was a movement in the Kansas Legislature this session to make county appraisers an elected position. This came in the form of an amendment to Senate Bill 167 on repealing the property tax lid imposed on cities and counties, said Sen. Caryn Tyson, R-Parker, who chairs the Senate Assessment and Taxation Committee.
Tyson said this was set for debate in the committee, but she believes a change as dramatic as this should be debated in the full Senate. With the Legislature ready to start its veto session with a full agenda, this amendment will likely not see any more action this year.
Tyson believes a controversy surrounding the county appraiser in Cowley County sparked the idea. Many property owners there were outraged at the appraiser, believing values were unjustly increased, in some cases by 2,500 percent.
According to the Kansas Association of Counties, Kansas voters elected county appraisers in counties with a population of 100,000 and over from 1914 through 1976 when the statute was repealed. Appraisers in smaller counties have always been appointed.
Tax dollars are used by local government to provide funding for roads, parks, fire protection, police protection, health and other services. Property taxes also fund public school districts. By law, the county appraiser is responsible for listing and valuing property in a uniform and equal manner.