Ellis County getting less money than expected

HAYS, Kansas- Ellis County is getting $1 million less than expected.  It is causing some budget headaches.

“The budgeting process can be tough in local government no matter what,” says Greg Sund, Ellis County Administrator.

This year the process is more complicated, because the county is taking in about $1 million less than expected.

There’s two reasons for the loss. First, commercial vehicles. They used to be subjected to “property tax.”

But now, Ellis County gets money based on a commercial vehicle fee.

“Right now,we don’t know what those commercial motor vehicle fees will be and so that’s a big factor in the budget,” says Ann Pfeifer, Ellis County Treasurer

The second change is due to new state laws regarding taxing on oil infrastructure.

“This year is probably more of a challenge from a personal property standpoint because of changes in state law and the court appeals case that we dealt with,” says Sund.

The change means that Ellis County can’t charge taxes on certain oil and gas infrastructure that was put in after 2006.

It also affects older oil wells, the more years they are in service the less oil they produce, becoming exempt from certain taxes.

“I think that may be a trend and as the wells get older with the less production they may qualify for the oil exception,” said Lisa Ree, Ellis County Appraiser.

While the county didn’t expect such a dramatic loss of income, county leaders say they’ll simply have to deal with it and push some projects off for a while.

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