Feb 27, 2020 1:47 AM

County Commission highlights from Tuesday

Posted Feb 27, 2020 1:47 AM

Following are highlights from Tuesday's Saline County Commission meeting, as provided by the county.

Commissioners approved the 2020 Federal Exchange Agreement, converting federal funds into state funds at a 90/10 exchange rate. By Saline County requesting the exchange of funds, a total of $246,548.57 will be provided to Saline County to be used for any type of transportation related project. County Engineer, Justin Mader, will be placing these funds into the special highway fund this year to assist with several road maintenance projects.

Commissioners approved for Saline County Rural Fire District No. 5 to purchase a new fire truck. The district will be getting a new Rosenbauer pumper/tanker from Hays Fire for $263,798. This will be a lease purchase that will have a yearly payment for 10 years. It will take 345-360 days for the apparatus to be delivered.

Jason Tiller, Health Department Director, provided his six month update and briefed commissioners on all of his department’s activities from July to December 2019.

Sean Robertson, county appraiser, provided an update to commissioners as well. Beginning Wednesday, 2020 valuation notices will be mailed out. Robertson encouraged citizens to contact his office with any questions about their values. It is advantageous to both the property owner and the appraiser if discussions or concerns with their values are done before March 27, rather than waiting until taxes are due later this year.

Robertson shared news with the commission on the ratios on the values set by the appraisers versus the property sales in 2019. For residential properties, 1,019 homes sold and the value that was set by the Appraisers to the sale price ratio is 100.1. For the 67 commercial properties that were sold in 2019, the appraiser’s set value to that property’s sale price was 100.0. Those figures show that the Saline County appraisers are doing an excellent job with setting values that are a fair representation of the market.

Commissioners approved an interlocal agreement with the City of Salina that outlines the services and the reimbursement for jail, dispatch, fingerprinting, and evidence services between the two entities. During the review of this agreement, both city and county staff noted that the last time the reimbursement rates were reviewed was 2009. Staff will be forming a working group to make recommendations based on the reviews of the data and services to serve as the basis for reimbursement rates in future agreements. This agreement that was approved Tuesday will be valid until Dec. 31, 2021, to allow staff sufficient time to review those rates. This agreement does provide revenue to the county general fund. $502,603 is the anticipated revenue for 2020.

In the second meeting, commissioners were briefed on a request for a road vacation on Schilling Road between Halstead Road and Burma Road. Commissions discussed this request with the applicant, Joel Weimer, and county staff. This request will be published in the paper to allow for sufficient time for residents and other agencies to provide comment to the county clerk.

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Feb 27, 2020 1:47 AM
UPDATE: Free tax help canceled due to COVID-19 outbreak

UPDATE March 16: The Salina Area United Way has closed its VITA tax prep office due to COVID-19 concerns.

Free tax preparation assistance will help you keep more of your hard-earned cash.

The Salina Area United Way (SAUW) is offering free tax assistance services to individuals and families through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. VITA is an IRS-sponsored program. VITA is for moderate and low-income individuals and families, generally with an income of $56,000 and below. It’s providing income tax preparation assistance by trained and certified volunteers. 

There are no hidden fees with the VITA Program, which has played an important role in Salina for over 19 years. Free means free. 

“Last year, more than 1,600 had tax assistance through the program. Volunteers will provide the same high level of assistance again this year,” said Brenda Gutierrez, SAUW program director.

In 2018, E-filed total refunds were $1,505,462 for the area.

“Tell your friends to take advantage of this valuable program,” Gutierrez added.

The program is at 145B South Santa Fe Avenue. Tax assistance is available from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Mondays; 1 to 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Saturdays through April 16. Services are on a first-come-first-served basis by IRS certified volunteers. There is plenty of parking in the City of Salina lots.

Taxpayers must bring a government-issued photo ID, Social Security card, or Social Security number verification letter for all persons named on the tax return, as well as each of their birthdates. They must also bring all income statements including W-2 and 1099 forms for all incomes. Those with health insurance purchased on the marketplace should bring 1095 forms (Affordable Health Care Statements). Taxpayers hoping to claim a Kansas Homestead refund should bring their property tax bills. Those claiming child-care tax credits should bring the total they paid as well as the provider’s tax ID number. Those who wish to receive their refund via direct deposit, or pay their taxes via bank draft should bring a blank check or bank card indicating the account’s routing number and account number. Finally, copies of last year’s state and federal returns are helpful to speed the process of completing this year’s form.