Archive for Saturday, November 19, 2011

Tax bills coming for the holiday

A Lawrence residence is shown in this file photo from September. Next week, The Douglas County treasurer will be sending out bills to collect taxes for real estate, personal property, and other items.

A Lawrence residence is shown in this file photo from September. Next week, The Douglas County treasurer will be sending out bills to collect taxes for real estate, personal property, and other items.

November 19, 2011


The Douglas County treasurer is about to mail 47,031 bills to collect $145,060,636.57 in taxes for the coming year.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.

“I know that’s wonderful news,” said Paula Gilchrist, sympathetic yet sarcastic in her seventh year of assessing taxes. “And then having to pay off the bill right before Christmas? This was not our choice. We did not choose these dates. No tax collector ever would.”

The bills — all 38,430 for real estate, plus another 7,500 for personal property, 646 for large trucks and 455 for state-assessed utilities and other properties — are set to go out Monday or Tuesday. That’s at least a week later than usual, as the county works through glitches with a computer system installed last year.

More than 15,000 of the bills will be sent to banks and large mortgage companies electronically, so that escrow charges can be adjusted for mortgages.

The rest will go out in the mail, destined to arrive in mailboxes throughout the county either just before Thanksgiving or on Friday, considered the biggest shopping day of the year.


“It’s nobody’s fault,” Gilchrist said of the unfortunate timing. “Most homeowners anticipate this.”

All of the bills come due Dec. 20, so governments large and small can pay for their public-service operations for the new year.

Douglas County, several municipalities and various school board, townships, cemeteries, libraries and other institutions anticipate receiving their shares of the revenue Jan. 20, a month after Gilchrist and her staff are to have the money in the county’s checking account.

Back in the days before the Great Recession, the county would earn interest of 3 percent to 5 percent on such revenue, providing a welcome bump for various governments.

This time, Gilchrist figures the county will bank about $6,600 in interest on the more than $100 million it plans to collect for distribution.

Gilchrist, who lives near Prairie Park School in southeastern Lawrence, said that her home’s value held steady during the past year. The combined tax rate for the property increased by 1.4 percent.

“Be thankful for all those county services — school, libraries, all the things it goes for,” she said. “Fire departments, police protection. It does good things.”

Reporter Mark Fagan can be reached at 832-7188. Follow him at


commonsenseanyone 6 years ago

Property tax, income tax, sales tax, all the taxes that are tacked onto our utility bills, ect... Its troubling to think that just because someone's house costs more then others that you have to pay double and sometimes triple what others have to pay for those services. It's also troubling that my house will never truly be paid off because I will have to pay property tax on it until the day I die. Death and taxes...death and taxes...

kochmoney 6 years ago

Under Brownback plans, expect this trend to worsten.

Katara 6 years ago

You're funny!

When State spending is slashed, it is the local taxing authority that ends up picking up the slack for needed services. The result? Increased property and other local taxes.

It is simply Brownback's way of passing the buck.

jafs 6 years ago

Of course.

What's the justification for taxing more expensive property more than less expensive property, even if the houses are the same size, and use the same amount of resources?

melott 6 years ago

In the state where my mother lives, people over 65 do not pay property tax on their residence.

Tony Kisner 6 years ago

What state is that, and is your mother well off?

Chris Beilman 6 years ago

"This was not our choice. We did not choose these dates. No tax collector ever would.” Then ... who made this choice? We the people certainly did not ....

LHS56 6 years ago

Please look at your taxes closely this year. We wanted bus service. We wanted a new library. Ohhh...and it looks like we "want" a rec center for another 16 million. What has happened to need???? So many of us are on a fixed income with our 401Ks and interest earned on savings being less than the COL. And why I'm bitching, why is the City collecting more than four million over their cost on our utilities and then transferring it over to the general fund? Isn't that similar to an additional tax?
In additonal to those without jobs and thoses underemployed there are a number of seniors that are having a difficult time making ends meet. (And we know the School Board is going to as for another bond issue.)

ResQd 6 years ago

I totally agree, totally insane! If I could sell my house on what the county has determined it's value, I would sell in a heartbeat, and move out of this city. The city and county do nothing but splurge, while our paychecks keep going down. And, yes, I'm whining, because I'm sick to death of it.

blogme 6 years ago

Amen to selling my house for the bounty the county places on it. I'm out of here in a heart beat as well.

LeBo 6 years ago

Stop crying! Owning a home in Lawrence is a wise investment.

Sunny Parker 6 years ago

Taxes should GO DOWN! Everyones 'value' has gone down!

Terry Sexton 6 years ago

Santa heard wrong. I said I wanted to stay in the Catskills, not pay a big tax bill.

Tony Kisner 6 years ago

$145 million in property tax. Bozo even you must have a hard time putting your mind around that. I would say Douglas County is a 1%'er. I know I am a %99 percenter in this deal. $145,000,000.00 wow. Check out the net Earnings After Tax for Payless Shoe for example. A company with people in every State of the Union.

ku_tailg8 6 years ago

So your neighbors should have to pay the taxes but not you? Don't buy something you can't afford or afford to lose. I'm sorry but the local government wouldn't collect a dime if we let everyone off the hook.

Sunny Parker 6 years ago

Property taxes rise every year, while the value of homes decrease!

Rae Hudspeth 6 years ago

Sure hope they get it right this year. Our escrow amount on our mortgage still isn't sorted out from the error last year.

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