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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Proposed law would impact Register of Deeds office

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Bourbon County Register of Deeds Lora Holdridge told commissioners Monday that she has received information about a bill introduced in the Kansas Legislature that could alter how her department is funded.

The deeds office, which is presently self-sufficient, is funded through the fees it collects from mortgage taxes and also adds to the county's general revenue fund.

In an email from Delia Heston, Jefferson County register of deeds, Holdridge was informed that the Kansas Bankers Association is planning to introduce a bill that would pass the responsibility of payment of mortgage taxes from the mortgager to the mortgagee.

KBA is claiming that Farm Credit does not currently pay taxes, creating an advantage for that entity. Members of the Kansas Registers of Deeds Association expressed fear this might open the door to other changes as well, such as eliminating fees entirely.

"Now there is a concern that this could create a broader debate whether there should even be a fee and it (revenue) could be lost entirely," Heston wrote in her email, dated Sunday. "Since the bulk of revenue created from mortgage registration stays with the county, I believe it is pertinent that we and our commissioners get on board to see that this revenue for the county doesn't go away."

Holdridge said passing such a bill could mean a "significant" increase of other fees, or a possible mill-levy, to fund her department.

"That's a lot of money that will not be deposited in county general funds," Holdridge said. "That tax basically pays for my budget."

Holdridge urged commissioners to talk to their state representatives about the bill.

"It's kind of scary," Holdridge said.

In other business:

* Commissioners met with County Attorney Terri Johnson regarding possible litigation under executive session because of attorney/client privilege. No action was taken.

* Commissioner Allen Warren suggested that Public Works Director Marty Pearson begin looking at ways to back up computer files, including looking at online services.

* Pearson reported on efforts to inventory road signs and culverts using GPS technology. The technology allows the county to keep track of which items have not been replaced and can also keep track of when they have been replaced.

* Pearson also said snow and ice removal went well this weekend, but that crews are still keeping an eye on the bridge on North National.

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