Category Archives: Bourbon County

Pay Access to County Records

Everyone has access to the basic tax search that is found here. However there are two other levels of access. For $120 per year you can get more details on each property. I believe this includes some information such as the type of construction, number of outbuildings, etc. If you are an appraiser, you can get access to the selling price of the property for $240 per year. The appraiser’s office wasn’t clear if limiting the higher level of access to appraisers was a legal requirement or just the county policy.

Not all states make selling prices public record. In some of those states charge transfer taxes based on the selling price that make it easy to calculate what the selling price was.

Currently there are 14 people with the the $240 access and 9 people with $120 access. This means the website brings in $4440 per year to the county.

Up until a month or so ago, the basic access didn’t list payments. The cost to see that information was $60 per year, but the commissioners opened that up to everyone and refunded anyone who had already paid.

List of Delinquent 2010 Taxes

Below is a link to a list of the delinquent taxes from 2010. This should be available soon on the Bourbon County website.  To the best of my knowledge this is the list that was given to the newspaper in order to print the list of names. At the end of the document are another list of names. This appears to be the people who were struck through in the original list because they were on the payment plan. This list was later printed in the paper.

List of Bourbon County 2010 Delinquent Taxes

Note: You aren’t legally allowed to use this list to try to sell things to people.

The cover letter states that the properties were to be sold to Bourbon County for the amount of taxes owed. Keep in mind that this is not the same as the sheriff’s sale. This sale means that the county owns the property, however the county isn’t allowed to sell it to someone else until the redemption period has expired. For homesteads that period is 3 years. For non-homesteads that period is 2 years.

Property owners are allowed to partially redeem their property by paying the oldest taxes due which will extend the redemption period by another year. This means that homestead owners can legally be up to three years behind on their taxes as long as they pay the oldest taxes before the redemption period expires.

 

Payment Plan Contracts

Here is a PDF of the payment plan contracts requested from the Bourbon County Treasurer under the Kansas Open Records Act.. This information is part of public records and no one is allowed to use it to try to sell things to people whose information is contained in this document.

“No person shall knowingly sell, give or receive, for the purpose of selling or  offering for sale any property or service to persons listed therein, any list of names  and addresses contained in or derived from public records…” K.S.A. 45-230(a).

The link is below:

PDF of Payment Plan Contracts

It is about 10 megs and over 100 pages, so it may take a little while to download. It is possible that a few pages didn’t scan correctly. I was billed for 143 pages, but the final count in the scanned document was 140, so there may have been a few errors in the scanning process. I haven’t gone back and counted each page.

Update 9/26: I have gone back through and located the pages that double scanned and added them to the document. There are now a total of 148 contracts. Let me stress that the scanning error occured on my side of things–not the county. I apologize for any confusion that was caused by this. If you downloaded the PDF, your version is out of date if it has fewer than 148 pages.

Keep in mind that anyone could make partial payments on the amount they owed with or without any type of plan. The payment plan tried to help keep money coming in for the county by getting people to make smaller regular payments. It mistakenly allowed people to keep their name out of the paper as well. However, the payment plan shouldn’t have changed the amount anyone paid–it just gave them a way to keep track of it and try to help guide people toward getting the delinquent amounts paid off.

There are a lot of documents here, but some thoughts from initially scanning through them:

  • Why are most of them unsigned? – Update 9/26: The treasurer said that many people didn’t send them back signed.
  • Why are some of the payment terms for longer than one year?  I thought the payment plan let people pay things off in a single year because anything longer would just put people more and more behind.
  • The monthly payments seem very “round”. Were they just based on what people said they could pay?
  • In at least one case, the payment plan was used to pre-pay on the following years taxes.

Redemption Periods and Sheriff’s Sale

When property has taxes that become delinquent, it becomes owned by the county. However there is a redemption period before the county can actually sell it to someone else. This period is 2 years for most property and 3 years for a homestead.

It appears that once the redemption period is over, the only way to keep the property from going for a tax say is to pay the entire amount that is delinquent. If this is the case, then any homestead property that has ever been three years delinquent should go up for sale.

The relevant law is 79-2401a. In the past, it appears that bourbon county property only went to a sheriff sale if the taxes were more than 3 years outstanding at the point that the properties were submitted to the court.

Here is the first section of the statute:

(a) (1) Except as provided by paragraph (2) and subsection (b), real estate bid off by the county for both delinquent taxes and special assessments, as defined by subsection (c), shall be held by the county until the expiration of two years from the date of the sale, subject only to the right of redemption as provided by this section. Any owner or holder of the record title, the owner’s or holder’s heirs, devisees, executors, administrators, assigns or any mortgagee or the owner’s or holder’s assigns may redeem the real estate sold in the sale at any time within two years after the sale by paying to the county treasurer the amount for which the real estate was sold plus the interest accrued, all delinquent taxes and special assessments and interest thereon that have accrued after the date of such sale which remain unpaid as of the date of redemption and costs and expenses of the sale and redemption, including but not limited to, abstracting costs incurred in anticipation of a tax sale.

Those are the rules, but the time period only applies to non-homestead property. The exceptions that it mentions related to homestead property are:

      (b) (1)   Except as provided by paragraph (2), real estate which is a homestead under section 9 of article 15 of the Kansas Constitution and all real estate not described in subsection (a) shall be held by the county until the expiration of three years from the date of the sale and may be redeemed partially by paying to the county treasurer the amount of taxes for which the real estate was sold for one or more years, beginning with the first year for which the real estate was carried on the tax-sale book of the county plus interest at the rate prescribed by K.S.A. 79-2004, and amendments thereto, on the amount from the date the same was carried on the sale book. Upon payment and partial redemption, the time when a tax foreclosure sale may be commenced shall be extended by the number of years paid in the partial redemption.

Now if (b)(1) provides an exception to the redemption period rules and merely extends it to three years while allowing partial redemption during those three years then once an account is three years delinquent, it must be paid in full to prevent a tax sale. If (b)(1) modifies the entire redemption process, it possibly may allow partial redemption any time up to the sale. That seems unlikely because such an interpretation introduces an oddity with this sentence:

Upon payment and partial redemption, the time when a tax foreclosure sale may be commenced shall be extended by the number of years paid in the partial redemption.

Assuming that (b)(1) is modifying the entire redemption process, then the above sentence would appear to allow an individual whose home was not on the tax sale for a few years to be continually behind 5, 6, 7 or more years and only pay the oldest year without giving the county the ability to ever foreclose on the property.

Also worth noting is that (b)(1) appears to allow for a partial redemption only for non-homestead properties as partial redemption is not mentioned in (a)(1).

If indeed the partial redemption is only available within three years, there are going to be a very large number of properties where people are going to have to pay all of the delinquent taxes or have their real estate sold at the next sheriff’s sale.

9/23 Bourbon County Commission Notes

Here are some notes from the commission meeting on September 23rd.

  • Running Fox oil company wants to know how much it would cost to use the county right of way to run a line. They were told $20 per rod or about $25,000 for four miles. The commissioners felt this could be a good way to bring in some funds.
  • The budget from the current sewer project is extremely tight and more money may need to be borrowed to complete it.
  • Bourbon county is in the lead for the energy contest by a small amount. Everyone in the room was given a CFL lightbulb to install to help make progress toward winning.
  • Drywood township had some grant money available to put in a tornado siren, but couldn’t reach consensus on who would be responsible for operating and maintaining it, so the funds will be returned to the grant.
  • Terry Sercer hasn’t completed his report or compiled his data yet.
  • The commission doesn’t know how much the audit is costing per hour.

More Questions and Answers From Treasurer

I spoke with Susan Quick today and asked about a few questions that have come up. The answers are the way I understood them and are not an actual transcript so inaccuracies are my responsibility.

Why don’t we see partial payments online for people on the payment plan?

The older version of the software didn’t allow partial payments, so the partial payments were put into an escrow account and brought over when there was enough to pay off the full amount. The newer version does support partial payments, so eventually we’ll start seeing partial payments on the public website.

Was everyone not on the payment plan printed in the original listing in the  paper and was everyone on the paper left off? (Basically asking if everything was consistent from person to person.)

Yes.

There are allegations that thousands of dollars of interest were “written off” and not collected. Were there any circumstances where non-trivial amounts of interest were ignored?

No. The amounts written off were  small amounts where the cost of tracking down the additional fees would have cost more than what would have been collected.

Even though the payment plan is gone, can people come in and make partial payments?

Yes. People can make partial payments. It will be applied to the interest first and then to the principle.

So people can basically create their own “do it yourself” payment plan if they need more time to pay?

Yes. The treasurer’s office can accept partial payment so people can come in and pay smaller amounts toward the amount they owe.

Payment Plan in the Minutes

Here is a list of the payment plan mentioned in the Bourbon County Commission meeting minutes prior to 2011. There may be more mentions as well as it can be difficult to find–particularly if it was referred to by a different name. There isn’t anything of too much interest, but it is worth noting that the payment plan appears to have been discussed quite a bit in the past and was recommended as an option for people who were behind on their taxes.

October 6, 2003

Susan Quick told the commissioners that Dan Meara is wanting to add 1999 and 2000 to the upcoming tax sale.  Ms. Quick is concerned because she has promised people if they were paid up through 1998 they would not be on the sale and she has also got people on the payment plan.  Commissioners agreed to hold the sale for delinquent properties through the 1998 year only. (source)

The minutes from August 6, 2011 mention that there were allegations that people did not have their property sold when they were on the payment plan. While the minutes don’t say for sure, it implies that this indeed happened back in 2003. However, if that is what happened, the decision was made by the county commissioners–not the treasurer.

This section of the minutes does seem to indicate that being on the payment plan could somehow change whether or not your property went up for sale at a tax sale. It would appear that this is illegal based on a cursory look at the relevant legal statutes.

Of course from a legal standpoint, it probably wasn’t legal to leave off the 1999 and 2000 taxes either.

August 6, 2004

Susan Quick met with commissioners to discuss the upcoming tax sale.  Commissioners decided to hold in November 12, 2004.  There are currently 36 parcels to sell at this time with an additional 50 that Othick’s is researching.  Those will sell sometime after the first of the year.  Commissioners agreed that the buyer will be responsible for 100% of the 2004 taxes, just like the last sale.  It will be announced before the sale.  Susan mentioned that Othick Abstract Company has indicated that they are not interested in doing any more tax sales.

Ms. Quick indicated that 53 properties have been redeemed since the tax sale process has begun this year.  She clarified for the commissioners that those persons on the payment program for delinquent taxes must be caught up before the property is eligible for sale.

The meaning of this last part isn’t clear. It appears to say that they can’t sell the property until people on the payment program have paid their taxes, but of course that would defeat the entire purpose of the sale.

Continuing with the same minutes, is an indication that in 2004 the tax sale had properties that were over 8 years delinquent in paying their taxes.

Charlie Blevins met with commissioners to discuss the tax sale.  He said that the sheriff and county attorney were on their way up.  He also wanted the newspaper present.  Sheriff Coleman arrived for the meeting.  Mr. Blevins is very upset about the progression of the tax sale.  As a taxpaying citizen he feels it is negligent that these people have been allowed to slip by for over 8 years without paying their taxes while he and thousands more pay theirs every year and live without things in order to keep up.  Commissioners explained the lengthiness of the process from researching the property to notifying all those with an interest and publishing the notices in the paper that it takes a long time to get to the actual sale.  Mr. Blevins was not satisfied and feels something needs to be done.  He feels another lawyer or another abstractor can do the work faster.  Commissioners explained that only Othick and Dan Meara answered the request for working the tax sale.  The gentleman that Mr. Blevins spoke about from Linn County the last time has never contacted Bourbon County.  Gary Houston called an abstractor but he wasn’t interested as long as Othick’s was involved.  Mr. Blevins said that it’s not right and he asked for all three commissioners’ resignation.  Robert Query told Mr. Blevins that he would resign January 1.  Charlie told Robert that he was glad he got beat in the election.  Robert said he was glad too. (source)

November 18, 2005

Debbie Talbot and Betty Hixon met with commissioners.  Mrs. Talbot asked commissioners for assistance with taxes on Fort Scott Lanes, the local bowling alley.  Bill Brittain explained that the County can not help anything but if she were to put an improvement plan together, she may qualify for a tax abatement.  Mr. Brittain will speak with Don Russell on her behalf.  Commissioners also advised Mrs. Talbot to speak with the County Treasurer about a payment plan on her taxes for the meantime.  (source)