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2015 tax sale in the works
Property owners still have a chance to avoid paying extra fees
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In other action Monday morning, the County Commission:
• Approved contracting with SCS Aquaterra for $7,500 to provide the Kansas Department of Health and Environment with the required documents to obtain a conditional approval to expand the construction and demolition landfill at the Barton County Landfill. The action is needed because the C&D landfill is close to filling all of its permitted airspace, said Solid Waste Manager Phil Hathcock.
The conditional approval will give Barton County time to prepare to apply for a permanent expansion from KDHE.
• Approved a $91,570 change order with L&M Contractors for a construction project involving box bridges (culverts). In May, 2014, the commission accepted a bid for the construction of certain box structures from L&M, but it was recently determined that two additional rigid frame box structures needed to be replaced, one being located south of Odin on NE 130 Road and one on NW 80 Road in Walnut Township southwest of Olmitz. 
• Heard a departmental update from County Administrator Richard Boeckman.

The Barton County Commission Monday morning paved the way for the 2015 tax sale by authorizing tracts of real estate be sold for back taxes.
There could be as many as 240 parcels on the auction block this year, County Administrator Richard Boeckman said. This number is much higher than in 2014 when there were only about 15.
But, he said, last year’s sale was based on a two-year cycle. This year, the county is returning to a three-year cycle.
Even so, the number of tracts is lower than in past years when the longer cycle was used.
However, those who owe back taxes still have an opportunity to avoid paying the entire delinquent amount and penalties, County Treasurer Kevin Wondra said. If a property owner comes in by Feb. 6 and pays the amount owed for 2011 (the earliest year taken into consideration), the property will be removed from the list.
After that date, the finalized list will be submitted to the abstracting company, Wondra said. Then, in order to clear up the delinquency, all three years of taxes will be owed along with the abstracting fee.
The money raised from the sale, which usually takes place in October, is distributed to the various taxing entities in the county.
The resolution also authorizes abstract work to be performed in preparation for the tax sale, Boeckman said. 
Also approved was contracting with First American Title Company of Great Bend to handle the abstracting services in preparation for the sale. The will do this for $70 per parcel.
As there are no other abstract companies in Barton County, Boeckman took the liberty of contacting First American. Pam Curtis, of First American Title Company, said the rate of $70 is a $5 increase over last year’s price, but this was First American’s first hike since 2010.
“We spend a lot of time gathering information,” Curtis said. And, even with the increase, the cost per parcel in Barton County is lower than in surrounding counties, such as Pawnee County which pays $200.
In most cases, Wondra said the county will recoup the abstract fee from the property owners. However, if the tract is sold at auction, often for less than is owed, the fee is not recovered.