Oil And Natural Gas Downturn Hurting Western Kansas Counties

Lower energy prices benefiting consumers at gasoline pumps have hit oil and natural gas producing counties in western Kansas particularly hard.

The extended declines are forcing counties to cut spending or increase property tax levies just as the state is ending an aid program meant to insulate them in such times.

The State Department of Revenue said oil and gas property values declined an average of 52 percent this year. Sixteen western Kansas counties saw their total property values decrease more than 20 percent, crimping their ability to collect local tax revenues due to the lower property valuations.

Kansas created a trust fund in 2005, and set aside taxes collected from oil and gas production for counties to tap when the industry experiences a downturn in pricing. Legislators halted the program in 2014, and the final payments to counties were made earlier this month.

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Now in his third year as News Director at KD-Country 94 and Z-96.3 The Lake, Chad is a jack of not all, but many trades. He spent previous years of his working life in hotel management, event planning, security, the aviation industry, staff writing for a newspaper, and as a small business owner. He began doing play-by-play of high school sports for KDNS and KZDY in 2009 and came to work full time for the stations in July of 2015. He is the father of an eight year old daughter who enjoys spending his free time with her, his very significant other and her children. His favorite activities include attending live music and sporting events as well as being a singer/songwriter. A natural conversationalist, he also enjoys a good discussion/debate on a myriad of topics from current events and politics to sports and philosophy. He resides in Beloit with his daughter and continues to write sports and meeting stories for the local newspaper.