Oil prices are impacting local budgets

GARDEN CITY, Kansas – With a sizable oil industry many Southwest Kansas counties rely on the taxable value of oil and gas.

“A number of these counties have over half of their total valuation in the oil and gas,” said Tom Fuhrmann, an owner of Landmark Appraisal Inc., a Grant County appraisal company.

This year the sinking prices were the main reason for a $65 million decrease in Finney County’s assessed valuation.

“You know, 75% of our budget in Finney County is based off of property valuation, and when we lose that type of money that’s a big hit,” said County Commissioner Larry Jones.

By cutting a few costs from the budget they avoided a 5.4 mill levy increase, but if the budget is approved, and commissioners believe it will be, taxpayers are looking at a 1.7 mill increase in 2016.  A $100,000 home would cost the homeowner about $20 more in county taxes next year.

“Responsibility is shifting over to the homeowner, commercial property owners, and the farmers and away from oil and gas,” Jones said.

Crude oil numbers did even out this summer, but the Iran Nuclear Deal may change that.  Now, Iran will be able to export more of the commodity and industry experts say it could drive down prices even farther.

“Definitely, I mean if it increases supply and we have a ton of supply sitting around, you bet, price should go down,” said Tom Palace, the Executive Director of Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association of Kansas.

This all means paying less at the pump but potentially higher taxes for property owners.

The Finney County budget will be up for approval on August third.


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