- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 5, 2016

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A Topeka racetrack owner doubts his property will survive if the property tax bill remains high, saying that the facility faces “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in repairs.

Owner Chris Payne declined an interview with The Topeka Capital-Journal (https://bit.ly/23dgxjO ), but instead relayed information through his attorney, Wes Carrillo. He said Heartland Park Topeka has deteriorated quickly in the last few years and now has cracked tracks, broken water pipes, perforated roofs and piles of garbage.

Payne estimated that Heartland Park would need to net a profit of $27,000 monthly, or $324,000 yearly. He says that with an annual tax bill of nearly $342,000, he believes the operating cost will surpass the park’s revenue.

“The county must realize that the market for this property has been poor,” Payne said in a written statement Monday. “The condition is anywhere from extremely poor to even worse.”

Payne appealed the Shawnee County appraiser’s assessment of the property as worth nearly $9 million in March. Steve Bauman, Shawnee County appraiser, said the property has been tax exempt since at least 1993.

But Payne said he doesn’t want tax exempt status and that he’d rather see the property value closer to $2.55 million. He and his business partner, Todd Crossley, paid that amount when their Shelby LLC took control of the park in December. At that value, their company would owe nearly $102,000 in property taxes.

“I’m a taxpayer, my companies are taxpayers,” he said. “Likewise, we both pay property taxes in hopes of supporting our counties’ and cities’ infrastructures, along with the public school districts, police and fire departments.”

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Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, https://www.cjonline.com


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