December 22, 2014

Appraiser’s office conducting ag-use survey

Danedri Thompson
dthompson@gardnernews.com
About 6,000 Johnson County landowners received letters from the county appraiser’s office last week. The letters request information about agricultural use on property that has been platted.
Paul Welcome, county appraiser, said the Agricultural Survey 2013 is a way to get information voluntarily. However, the letter reads that failure to return the form may results in the removal of agricultural classification for tax year 2014.
“A change in classification will result in a significant change in taxable value,” it reads.
Agricultural land is typically valued much lower than fair market value. For example, one acre may sell for $1,000 or more, but for tax purposes, agricultural land is valued at between $200 and $300 in Johnson County.
The survey asks to describe current land uses for agricultural properties including the date of the last harvest and type of crop, and the numbers of acreage used for each crop. Owners are also asked to provide copies of agricultural lease agreements and or income and expense reports of land that is owner-farmed.
Several other counties in Kansas, including Sedgewick, Douglas and Miami counties, conduct similar agricultural studies to ensure that properties are appraised correctly.
“It’s actually making sure we have the classification of the property correct,” Welcome said. “I don’t care what they pay. I care about classification and values.”
By county code, any property that is smaller than five acres must be platted. Platting, Welcome explained, is how properties today are legally described with words like “lots” and “blocks.” However, there are parcels of land in Johnson County that are still legally described using old terminology, leaps and bounds.
“That was the way (land) was passed down years ago,” Welcome explained.
Today, when a property is divided for future development or to divide among heirs, the land is platted, though its agricultural use may remain the same.
With an uptick in new construction, Welcome said the appraiser’s office wanted to ensure that the

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