The McPherson County Commission signed a resolution Monday supporting the mortgage registration fee.
Critics of the fee, including some bankers and Realtors, say the fee is discriminatory against people who need to borrow money to purchase homes. They hope legislation will be introduced this spring to end the fee. However, many local government officials say the fee is a fair way to support the register of deeds office.
The mortgage registration fee has been in effect in Kansas since 1925. It equals .26 percent of the amount of the mortgage. If a mortgage is $100,000, the mortgage fee would be $260.
Between 2010 and 2012, the fee raised $817,578 for McPherson County. Half of the fee went to run operations at the register of deeds office. The other half went into the county general fund.
Rick Witte, county administrator, said the county would have to increase taxes up to a mill to make up for the lost revenue.
Laurie Wiziarde, McPherson County register of deeds, said an end to the fee would likely mean a reduction in resources and staff at her office and delays in recording records. Currently most mortgages are recorded and returned within three days. However, Wiziarde said delays could increase to six weeks or longer if her office lost the support of the fee.
“I think it is one of the fairest fees,” Wiziarde said referring to the use of the register of deeds office. “If you use it, you pay for it. If you don’t use it, you don’t pay for it.”
Commissioner Linus Linaweaver said he agreed the fee was fair.
The commission also noted Kansas has one of the lowest fees for registering deeds in the country and the fee is tax deductible.
In other business, the commission:
Signed a memo of understanding to be a part of a regional 911 System Enhancement Project. The project seeks to help 911 services better determine where to send responders when there are overlaps between counties.
Approved the purchase of sign blanks from National Sign Co. at a cost of $5,676.
Approved the reappointment of Harris Terry and Michael Androes to the Ninth District Judicial Nominating Committee.