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Error in some Sedgwick County tax bills

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013, at 7:01 a.m.

A mistake by the Butler County clerk’s office will affect 6,634 property owners whose tax bills went out from Sedgwick County with incorrect figures.

The glitch will affect Sedgwick County properties that are in the Circle and Andover school districts. First-half tax bills had already gone out by the time the problem was brought to Sedgwick County Clerk Kelly Arnold’s attention.

“We calculate the mill levies for all the governing bodies,” Arnold explained earlier this week.

Butler County Clerk Don Engels said his office discovered it used wrong budget year numbers for the taxing bodies. People who live in Butler County in those school districts will receive accurate tax bills because bills had not gone out yet. But Sedgwick County bills had already been printed and were in the mail.

Engels initially certified tax bills for the properties in question Oct. 25. First-half tax bills were printed by Sedgwick County and mailed by Nov. 8. Engels called Arnold’s office Nov. 13 and “advised us he’d found a huge error,” Arnold said.

Engels explained in a Nov. 14 letter that “Sedgwick County property owners who are within the Circle or Andover school district boundaries will receive bills that do not reflect the full amount of taxes to be collected for the 2013 tax year.”

Affected property owners will have to make up taxes with second-half bills, Arnold said. The problem affects 1,908 properties in the Circle School District and 4,726 properties in the Andover School District.

On a $100,000 home, the difference for property owners in the Circle School District will be $81.45. The difference on a $100,000 home in the Andover School District will be $14.16. The mill levy was off by just more than 7 mills for the Circle School District and by just more than 1 mill for Andover. A mill is $11.50 annually on a $100,000 home.

On a $200,000 home, property owners in the Circle School District will have to make up $162.91, and property owners in the Andover School District will have to make up $28.31.

Arnold plans to talk to commissioners Tuesday about the problem. He said he hopes to work with Engels to draft a letter of explanation to affected property owners.

The adjusted second-half payments will be due May 10. The school districts will get the full amount of collected taxes in June.

“This is a rarity,” Arnold stressed. “It now falls back on Sedgwick County to deal with this issue. It’s unfortunate for us because we didn’t do anything wrong.”

Reach Deb Gruver at 316-268-6400 or dgruver@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @SGCountyDeb.

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