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Tax statements forthcoming
They should be mailed by week’s end
tax statements mailed
Tax statements for Barton County property owners should be in the mail this week.

Barton County property tax statements should hit the mail by Thursday, Dec. 1. While taxpayers should receive them by the state-mandated Dec. 15 deadline and in time for them to remit their payments by Dec. 20 as required by law, the whole process creates headaches, said County Treasurer Jim Jordan.

Here’s how the process works.

First, the county is made up of a matrix of overlapping taxing entities, around 56. These include cities, school districts and townships, but also watershed districts and libraries.

All of these were required to submit their budgets, including mill rates and levies, to the County Clerk’s Office by Oct. 1, Jordan said. The Clerk’s Office then calculates the mills and tax rates for the taxpayers.

Each of these taxing bodies has to publish its budget in a newspaper of record and wait the mandated period before holding a budget hearing. This all takes time and can be challenging for the smaller entities.

Then, by Nov. 1, the Clerk’s Office should have the information to Jordan and company. Once Jordan has this, it has to be double checked before the statements can be printed, stuffed and mailed.

He received these this year on Nov. 17.

By state statute, the treasurer has to mail the statements by Dec. 15 and taxpayers have to pay the first half of their property taxes by Dec. 20, Jordan said.

Even a day or two delay causes heartburn and late hours for Jordan and his staff. It also squeezes taxpayers’ payment deadlines.

Jordan stressed that the problem doesn’t rest with the Clerk’s Office. It comes from some of the smaller taxing entities being late with their budget submissions.

The county shells out about $12,000 annually to mail the around 33,000 statements. That includes 30,000 oil and real estate statements (sent by a third-party vendor, which actually saves the county time and money) and 3,000 natural gas, personal property and small truck statements handled in-house. 

He said he will work with treasurers and county clerks across the state to change the deadlines for the entities to have their information to the county. Ideally, this could happen as early as July, and that would make this problem go away.

Jordan said if taxpayers are antsy and want to view what they owe, the same information provided in the statements is loaded onto the county’s website now.

On the right-hand side of the home page is a quick link titled Property Tax Search. This opens a form where one can select the type of property in which they are interested (real estate, personal property, etc.).

Then one has to just enter their last name. This will pull up the property or properties owned by that individual with links to lists of tax information.