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Tax rebate might hit Ellis County hard





Ellis County commissioners learned the bill for a tax rebate could be a little higher in Monday's regular meeting at the Ellis County Courthouse.

Having even more of an impact is the loss of revenue moving forward, Ellis County Administrator Greg Sund said.

Commissioners were informed at last week's meeting Wedge Log-Tech LLC was owed a $656,000 tax rebate.

The county had lost a lawsuit, which resulted in wireline equipment being reclassified as oil and gas equipment, and thereby exempt from property tax. Wedge Log-Tech's rebate of personal property taxes covers 2008 through 2013.

Sund said in Monday's meeting after the county appraiser looked at the numbers, approximately $5,000 more should be added to the bill. The county, which is responsible for approximately 38 percent of the rebate, now will be responsible for an additional $2,000, or approximately $254,000 total. Ellis County Rural Fire District No. 1 will be responsible for approximately $2,000. USD 489 will be responsible for 52 percent of the rebate, or approximately $346,000.

"Obviously, as you can see from the numbers, the school district is responsible for the lion's share," Sund told commissioners.

There are four other wireline companies in the county that also could seek a rebate. Sund said he knew of at least one that was in contact with the county last week. Sund told commissioners there might be a two-year limit on any rebate received by other companies.

"Where this really affects us is moving forward," Sund said. "This takes a huge chunk out of our personal property tax.

"You add to it the reclassification of vehicles that has personal property on them will now just be a vehicle license; there won't be any personal property. It's hard to say how much we're going to salvage -- personal property tax -- when it's all said and done."

In other business:

* Commissioners approved awarding the bid for a 2014 ambulance in the amount of $171,723 to Professional Ambulance, Lenexa, excluding a secondary air conditioner. The ambulance will be paid through the equipment reserve fund.

* Commissioners authorized advertisement for bids for the new county administrative center at 718 Main. Pre-bid meeting is scheduled for 1 p.m. April 23, with bids due at 3 p.m. May 7.

* Commissioners authorized the county administrator to seek proposals from compensation consulting firms interested in conducting a wage-and-benefit study for the county.

* Commissioners authorized Public Works Director Mike Graf to provide assistance to the city of Ellis on a street improvement project, as requested by Mayor Lyle Johnston.

* Sund briefed commissioners on policies regarding business meals and expenses; meals and mileage reimbursement; and purchasing policy procedures.

* Commissioners were informed an employee service recognition event has been scheduled for 3:30 p.m. May 15 in the conference room across from the county clerk's office.