Steep drop in oil, gas valuations upending county budgets

Oil pumps (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) – Residents in energy producing counties may be paying more property taxes or face cuts in local government services in the wake of the cheaper gasoline prices at the pump.

This is the time of year when county commissions across Kansas begin their budgeting process for next year. Those which heavily depend on taxes from oil and gas production in their counties are facing some difficult decisions in the coming weeks.

Hardest hit are energy rich counties located in western Kansas, along with some counties bordering the Oklahoma border.

In Morton County, 70 percent of the county’s tax valuation is based on oil and gas. Officials there expect their tax valuation to fall by one-third next year.

Meanwhile, Ellis County officials are scrambling to close an anticipated $2 million budget shortfall.

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