Why Wasn’t This Property Sold?

Here is a screenshot of the 2005 property taxes for a local business. Half of this amount should have been due on December 20th 2005 and the other half on May 10th 2006. Since the taxes weren’t paid, they should have been published in October 2006 which would have started the redemption period. For non-homestead property that would have been 24 months.

So the property should have been at any Sheriff’s sale that occurred after October of 2008. However, the taxes were not paid until March of 2010. Was there no tax sale from October 2008 until some point after March of 2010? The Bourbon County website lists a 2009 tax sale list, but this property was not included. According to the Commission minutes, there was a tax sale held January 27th, 2010.

When I asked Treasurer wasn’t sure why this property wasn’t on the sale and she didn’t recall any reason why it was held off. It is important to note that there are many stages that property goes through before being listed on a sale and it is entirely possible that it was submitted as property for sale, from the Treasurer’s office but held out based on other criteria.

If there was a reason why the property was held off the tax sale, was the interest calculated correctly? The interest rate for 2005 taxes was 7%. The total amount owed would incurred interest from May 20th 2006 until March 22nd, 2010 or 46 months and two days.  Half of the amount would have incurred interest from December 10th, 2005 until May 20th, 2006 or 5 months 10 days. If we round the time to just months the total comes to $7,116.29 in interest. There should have been another $15 or so in fees as well.

According to Susan Porter, who used to work in the Treasurer’s office, the system we are looking at here, has a safe guard against accepting incorrect interest.  It requires that you manually over-ride the interest.

When this is entered to actually pay the tax on the tax payment screen the only way for the interest or penalty to be changed or removed is a manual override or to back date the payment calendar date. Until this is done the correct amount of interest and penalties are calculated correctly. ~ Susan Porter source

If this is correct, then someone would have needed to intentionally marked the amount as complete even though the system was showing there was still around $900 owed. I asked the Treasurer the discrepancy could be due to the way that the amortization schedule works. In other words if part of the taxes owed were paid early on, those taxes would no longer be accuring interest. So it is possible the taxes were calculated correctly, but since the date of each payment doesn’t show up on the public website, it is hard to tell.

Interestingly this particular company does have a payment plan that was setup in 2010. They own just under $30,000. The payment plan states that they will pay $2,000 per month from April 20, 2011 until May 20, 2012. This only comes to $28,000 which is about $2,000 less than what they owe without factoring in the interest.

According to Mr. Sercer, he was told that the payment plans were based on an amortization schedule produced by the old computer system and that sometimes it came up with “crazy” interest rates. The Treasurer confirmed that this was likely what had happened in this situation. It seems very odd that it would generate a completely even number that doesn’t even add up to the full amount much less include interest.

The problem isn’t so much that the property wasn’t sold. Obviously it is better if the taxes are paid. However, if a property doesn’t have the threat of being sold, it is possible for other payments to become the priority.

Is it possible that simply following the timelines specified for selling delinquent property would have encouraged enough payments to have made the past mill levy increase unnecessary?


24 thoughts on “Why Wasn’t This Property Sold?”

  1. Does anyone really care? It doesn’t seem like it. She has broken so many statutes and cost the taxpayers so much money and the only way to start to mend this is to oust her and clean up the mess. I cannot believe that the people of Bourbon County find this acceptable but then, that explains why the taxes are high and there is so little to show for it. Someone needs to come in and find a fair remedy for this and let’s face it, fair is not the game that the County Treasurer plays! Keep in mind that many of these businesses and individuals trusted that they were being told what was correct and now learn that it was not even close. The situation is so pathetic!

    1. When I look at the minutes on the county website I see several places where the treasurer asked about leaving property off of the tax sale that wasn’t older than a certain date and the commissioners were the ones who agreed to it. I don’t know, but those might be different commissioners than the ones we have now, but just saying that some property might not have been sold for reasons outside of the treasurer.

      1. Wouldn’t you think that since legalities are involved that a notation could be made on these properties so everyone would not just have to assume that things were handled properly?

        1. Notations should have been made on any property that was not sold at the proper time and then there would not be any reason to say they did not recall. This is like the list of payment plan names that we received, it was not done correctly .

  2. The problem is that for some businesses, suddenly requiring that they “pay up” might threaten to put them out of business and the last thing we want to do is reduce the number of jobs in town. I’m just saying that the problem is a bit more complicated than just getting companies to pay what they owe.

    1. I totally agree and that is why we need to get someone with integrity and intelligence to go in and working within the law try to straighten out this mess. I am sure this is not the first time in the history of Kansas counties that they ended up with an incompetent county treasurer so they probably have a solution but first, we have to get rid of the “immediate problem”. I would think that for businesses in town, there should or must be other solutions available since the last thing we need is another empty building. She misled individuals and businesses and you can see that by her payment plans, her collections, etc. This is why they have laws. What a mess!

      1. Yes and no. If the county is here to make life better for the residents, having businesses that provide jobs is a very important part of that. The county needs to be very careful that its policies don’t create an environment that will hurt businesses because businesses are the life blood of the community.

        But you are right. It isn’t directly the countys fault if a particular business can’t pay its taxes.

        1. The dichotomy is: If it is up to the county to make life better for it’s citizens or to support businesses that cannot pay it’s taxes; they just pass off the non-payment of taxes by increasing the mill levy. How does that make it better for the citizens?

          We (who pay our taxes) are getting the short end of the stick in this deal. (really wanted to use other wording, but I’m sure you get the gist)

          1. I’m thinking that BEDCO laid out like $80,000 to save the SRS building for a couple years. $325,000 to bring in the 20 or so jobs with the insurance company. The new economic director is saying we need to grow the businesses we already have…………………….so? The problem is not the business but the County Treasurer! Not the people on the tax plan but the County Treasurer and to discuss anything else is really not going to go anywhere in my opinion.

          2. I’m just saying that if the county runs off businesses and there are no jobs here so everyone moves away the taxes will go up because the number of people paying will go down.

        2. If a business doesn’t make paying its taxes a priority, I don’t think we want them in our county. They can go somewhere else and not pay their taxes.

          1. The only thing with this that would make it “interesting” would be if someone could establish “personal gain” or a “relationship” that the County Treasurer has with the business. Also, this business appears to be very stable at this point and increasing their work force. Can we afford to give up 50 plus jobs because the County Treasurer did not follow the law? Want to talk about priorities? Why aren’t more people pushing to oust this incompetent from office? I don’t see that the people/businesses are the ones at fault. It was the JOB of the county treasurer to follow the laws that governed her office and she did not do that and led others to believe she was the all powerful and could make magic happen for them. Many businesses have gotten tax breaks here in some form or another. Fort Scott cannot lose 50 plus jobs over back taxes. Keep in mind that probably as far as they knew, they were doing nothing outside the law and maybe, depending on the circumstances of which we are not aware, this was acceptable.

  3. Laws were not followed and that is very plain. Surely the taxpayers will see that this is corrected. Don’t think this years taxes would have been raised if this was not the case.

  4. I think a more important question is: why were they put on a payment plan for 2010 when they owe taxes for 2007 and 2008?

    The payment plan clearly states Tax Year 2010, but makes no mention of the other years owed (unlike other payment plans). Why is that Ms. Quick?

    If my boss asks me a question and I say I don’t recall, I always follow it up with but I will find out. If not, he would have an excellent reason to fire me.

    1. Well, they paid 2009 if I am looking at the right business but owe 2007 and 2008. Are on the payment plan for 2010. I do wonder if it was possible that they may have went through some reorganization/bankruptcy which made everything be “off” because technically you have to pay the taxes that are oldest on the books. Also, I know there is something that a business can apply for but I can’t remember but it deals with taxes. But, considering how many businesses we have in town and that this is really the only one standing out, you really got to wonder how the treasurer would not remember something and I won’t even go on any further with that. I still totally and completely blame the County Treasurer for creating this mess! But, seriously, what would you do? Tell them “The County Treasurer was not following the law. She broke several and in your case, you now must pay $25,000 in the next two months or your property goes up for auction.” Not to mention that you need to tell several homeowners this too. So, what do you do? Keep in mind that these taxpayers are being punished while the County Treasurer is still collecting a paycheck from them!

      1. On the August 6, 2004 minutes, Ms. Quick clarified to the commissioners that people on the payment plan for delinquent taxes must be caught up before the property is eligible for sale. Now I am sure that the commissioners at that time had not idea about the eligibilty of the payment plan. Just thought they could trust her word for this. Why would anyone offer a plan to someone who going to owe forever and not sell their property? This was evidently another way to hold people off the sale.

        1. Wait so if you are on a payment plan they can’t sell your property until you pay everything? Wouldn’t that make it where being on the payment plan would keep your property from ever being sold?

          1. Definitely! That is why the statement that being on a payment plan did not allow you to do anything that you normally could not (partial payments) is FALSE!

      2. I didn’t think you were allowed to pay your 2009 taxes until your 2008 taxes were paid. How did they manage to pay for something more recent? It sounds like it might have just been entered into the computer incorrectly or do I not understand how it works?

        1. I think the treasurer said that if they brought in the amount owed on another year, they took it . Why you would do this, we do not know. Was they told that would keep them off the 3 year tax sale? Don’t see the purpose that anyone would do this. And 3 years is 3 years, no matter what is paid in between, I would think, but do not know why they would do this.

          1. Maybe it would keep your name out of the paper for that year. But I think there is actually a law that states where you have to apply it.

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