"After reading Senator Holmes' update in both Stafford County papers today, I feel I need to speak to the public about SB 298, Mortgage registration fees." LuAnn Bristor, Stafford County Register of Deeds

After reading Senator Holmes’ update in both Stafford County papers today, I feel I need to speak to the public about SB 298. This bill will eliminate mortgage registration fees. Mortgage registration fees have generated revenue for counties since 1925. These fees help with the everyday costs of operating the Register of Deeds, County Clerk’s and County Treasurer’s, and County Appraiser’s offices. They are generated when a mortgage is filed in the Register of Deeds office. The cost is .26 per $100.00 borrowed. 1% of the .26 goes to the Kansas Heritage Trust Fund, which helps restore historical buildings in Kansas. In Stafford County, this fund has helped the Stafford Methodist Church and is currently a resource for the restoring of Gray’s Studio in St. John.

Here are some facts that Senator Holmes failed to mention:

1. KBA says eliminating the mortgage registration fee will help consumers buy houses. This is not true. Home owners generally look for a lower interest rate rather than considering mortgage registration fees, which are passed on to the buyer. The bank does not pay these fees.

2. KBA says the mortgage registration tax is unfair. As Register of Deeds, I have never had a property owner complain about paying it. I have had complaints from owners about property taxes.

3. KBA figures that half of the counties will almost break even. This is absolutely not true. Counties will have to raise their mill levies. Stafford County will have to raise the mill levy by ½ mills to recover from the loss of revenue.

4. Each year we are going to have to change our computer programing. SB 298 will cause the county to change computer programing every year for 5 years to adjust for the fluctuating filing fee changes and the mortgage registration fee changes. This means additional costs to the county.

5. In 2013, mortgage registration fees brought approximately $73,000.00 revenue to Stafford County. This included mortgages from out of state lending institutions for oil and gas mortgages as well as local banks for agriculture and home loans.

6. The KBA says that they are losing business to the mortgage fee exempt lenders such as Farm Credit. Stafford County has more mortgages paying tax than tax exempt mortgages.

7. The amendments to the bill provide additional tech funds to the county clerk and county treasurer. These associations DID NOT ask for this amendment. In addition to raising the filing fees for documents there will be additional tech fees added on.

9. Mortgage registration fees were set up in 1915 and eventually passed as a statute in 1925 as a source for the county to keep property taxes low.

10. Bottom line…this bill will cause property taxes to go up! It takes the burden of mortgage registration fees from only those that are borrowing money and passes it to ALL taxpayers.

The Senate passed this bill and it is now on to the House. Senator Holmes voted yes on this. It is my understanding that it is being “bundled” with other bills in order to avoid more debate and may possibly slip through.

If you have any questions about this please feel free to call me or come in to my office. And please call Senator Holmes - http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2013_14/members/sen_holmes_mitch_1/

and

Representative Chistmann - http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2013_14/members/rep_christman_marshall_1/

to voice your concerns.

Thank You,

Lu Ann Brister

Stafford County Register of Deeds