Harvey County seeking payment of more than $100K in property taxes

Chad Frey
The Kansan
Harvey County

County Treasurer Emily Nichols has been working on collecting more than $127,000 in unpaid property taxes on behalf of Harvey County. 

Several months ago the county entered into an agreement with a collection agency to try and recover as much as possible, and that process has been slowed a bit as Nichols has worked with the law firm of Klenda Austerman LLC.  

Part of the slow process comes from the difficulty of finding those who have not paid the invoices.  

"These would be all of the large accounts, repeat offenders and people that we can't find ourselves for whatever reason. We are getting closer.," Nichols said. 

This week the treasurer sent the final list containing 279 past-due statements for 107 different individuals or businesses. Nichols updated the commission on the process during the Aug. 17 commission meeting. 

The total owed, including fees and interest, is $127,992.64

"Hopefully they can proceed forward," Nichols said. "In October when I publish the 2020 property taxes I will send them those."

Some of the uncollected taxes are from vehicle tags — and those accounts have proved be a significant challenge. 

"Some of these people have been creative in not tagging vehicles, some of them have left the area," Nichols said.  "Most likely moved out of state, or we cannot find them in the vehicle system, their names have changed or hyphenated or changed in different ways." 

In other business this week the commission: 

• Learned of needed repairs to a microwave repeater in the county communication system. Early estimates for repair of storm damage to a dish on the Burrton tower is $15,000. It is believed that the repair will be covered by insurance. 

• Learned that last week an air conditioner at the Camp Hawk tower facility failed during a heatwave. Temperatures inside the transmission building reached 150 degrees, leading to the radio system to shut down. A control board and battery backup system suffered damage and will need replacement. 

• Learned that Harvey County Communications has hired three dispatchers who are in training. 

• Learned that final federal guidance for the American Rescue Act Funding is expected at anytime, and the county will start reporting soon. An interim report is due Aug. 31. 

• Learned the clerk's office will handle a special election for Segwick USD 439 on Aug. 31. The school district is seeking a $13.8 million bond for facility renovations and construction.