The county coffers will suffer when a quarry moves part of its tax base to a neighboring county, raising the eyebrow of at least one Douglas County commissioner.
A Douglas County commissioner is concerned about a loss of tax dollars when a quarry operation in the county's northwest corner moves its personal property into Shawnee County.
On Tuesday, Shawnee County commissioners passed a resolution authorizing the sale of 338 acres of its land to Martin Marietta Aggregates, which operates the quarry.
As part of the $1 million land deal, Martin Marietta must move its equipment from Douglas County tax rolls to Shawnee County tax rolls, Linda Jeffrey, Shawnee County counselor, said.
According to 1994 Douglas County appraisal records, machinery and other rolling stock had an appraised value of $1.3 million. When assessed for taxation, the property creates about $35,000 in tax revenue. The revenue goes to Douglas County, Kanwaka Township, northeast Kansas libraries, the state, Stull Cemetery and Shawnee County public schools.
Douglas County Commissioner Mark Buhler has requested a meeting with Martin Marietta officials because he thought there was an implied agreement that the company would keep its personal property at home.
"I'm not interested in starting a battle with Shawnee County or whoever," Buhler said. "It's in our best interest to protect our tax base."
Bill Gahan, Martin Marietta general manager, said he would meet with Buhler soon to discuss the deal and try to work out a compromise. He wasn't sure yet what he could do to appease Douglas County.
"We're going to meet with the county commission and make sure that this won't be a stumbling block between us," he said.
The quarry expanded its operation into Douglas County in 1990. County commissioners at the time approved a 30-year conditional use permit for the operation. The permit stipulated, among other things, that the operation close down on weekends. The condition was at the request of neighbors.