County news

Dickinson County sales tax collections continue to come in higher than expected, despite the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The most recent report showing July collections came in at $111,523.65, bringing the total for the year to $1,027,754.15.

“I’m surprised sales tax stayed up again,” County Administrator Brad Homman said during Thursday’s county commission meeting.

“If we continue on the trajectory we’re at, we’ll be well over what Janelle (Dockendorf, county finance director) had budgeted for sales tax revenue for the year,” he continued.

The $111K from July was less than the $117,424.69 that came in during the same time in 2019.

“But it’s still staying up there,” Homman said.

In June the county received $137,107.79 in sales tax collections, the highest monthly total in both 2020 and 2019.

The sales tax numbers continue to surprise county officials, who feared the coronavirus would significantly impact local revenue in a negative way.

“I think it’s because people are shopping more at home,” Homman said.

Just like the regular sales tax, revenue from the county’s special sales tax to fund road and bridge projects also continues to do well. In July, $106,194.42 was collected for a yearly total of $980,696.80.

The county still has three more months of sales tax revenue to come in for 2020.

The gap between the time sales tax is collected and government entities receive their share is due to the fact that businesses have until the 25th of each month to send in their sales tax report and money for the previous month and the Kansas Department of Revenue has until the following month to distribute the money.

Cleaning, packing

• The courthouse and all county buildings were closed Monday, Sept. 12 for the Columbus Day holiday; however, the county typically uses it for the annual employee inservice day.

This year, rather than a day of programs and meetings, courthouse departments were going to use the time to clean, pack and prepare for the temporary move to other locations while the courthouse is being remodeled.

The move to temporary quarters is expected to occur at the beginning of 2021, once the new jail addition and sheriff’s department area is ready for occupancy.

Dickinson County District Court will move temporarily to Sterl Hall. The county clerk, treasurer, register of deeds and appraiser offices will move to the Abilene Civic Center. Administrative personnel will move to other areas in county buildings where space is available.

Drive-in flu clinic

Besides dealing with COVID-19, the Dickinson County Health Department has also started the annual flu clinics. A drive-thru clinic was held last week in front of Sterl Hall with about 200 people driving through.

A clinic is also planned in Herington on Oct. 29, Homman said. People planning to attend the clinic can go online to the health department website, fill out the form and hit “submit.” Upon arrival at the clinic, people give their name, they receive the vaccination and move on.

The process is quick, easy and “works well,” Homman said. “I think we might see a change in the way we do things. That’s something that COVID has brought about.”

Other

• The county has received notice from the city of Abilene that Don’s Tire has filed a property tax abatement exemption application. A hearing will be held during an upcoming Abilene City Commission meeting. If approved by the city, it will come before the county and school district for approval, Homman said.

• A lease agreement has been finalized with Evergy that will allow the company to use the former Hope landfill, paying the county $625 per month, Homman said. The company plans to make some upgrades at the facility, including the installation of a new gating system.

The lease agreement runs through the beginning of 2024.

• Commissioners and some county personnel will be attending the annual Kansas Association of Counties meeting. This year the meeting will be held online on Wednesday.

Contact Kathy Hageman at reporter@abilene-rc.com.

Contact Tim Horan at editor@abilene-rc.com.

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