By ROBERT PIERCE
Leader & Times
Next Wednesday, county treasurers and their staff from across Southwest Kansas will converge in Liberal for a conference.
The Southwest Kansas County Treasurers Association will host its annual conference at the Activity Center, and Seward County Treasurer Mary Rose said the association is made up of offices from 17 counties.
“The Kansas County Treasurers Association is all 105 counties, and they’ve divided it up into districts,” she said. “Southwest Kansas is one. They go down the list starting in alphabetical order of who gets to host the county treasurers event for Southwest Kansas. This year, we were asked to host it, and we accepted.”
This is the first time Seward County has hosted the conference in 20 years, and Rose said the event is a chance for area treasurers to meet and talk about issues pertaining particularly to Southwest Kansas.
“We will have the Kansas Department of Revenue onsite,” she said. “They will be there talking about several topics. We’ve asked them to talk about the new license plates that are coming through.”
That issue, Rose said, pertains to a recall of embossed license plates. She added conference participants will also go through policies and procedures, do’s and don’ts, what is coming up for the new year and some situations area offices may face.
“It’s more one on one in depth for your area you’re a part of,” she said. “We might have something that happens in Southwest Kansas like having titles come over from Oklahoma, as opposed to people in South Central. We’ll go through and talk about that. We’ll have some speakers there. It’ll give everybody a chance to discuss and collaborate together anything we might need help with or assistance with or more knowledge on.”
Rose said there will likewise be talk about taxation, including laws, collection, distribution and how tax sales are being handled in rural America.
“We’ll go through and discuss all of that and whatever else comes up if any other treasurer has any concerns or comments,” she said.
Rose said she is excited to give conference attendees a taste of Liberal.
“We’ve contacted some entities to help give them a package to take a little bit of Liberal home with them,” she said. “We’ll have a couple of speakers – one speaker who will probably talk about Liberal and the history of Liberal, where we’re moving forward, what we’re doing as a county.”
Rose said she always enjoys conferences like next Wednesday’s.
“Not only is the fellowship good and the knowledge we get from other treasurers and their staff, but the information you come out with good,” she said. “My staff will be there. There will be other staff there from other counties. They’ll be able to discuss and ask questions. It’s a good thing.”
Rose said the conference helps workers in treasurers offices grow, become better and benefit the citizens of Southwest Kansas.
“It’s a lot of work that’s put into it,” she said. “As an office, we have had to come together and put it together. Everyone in the office has helped do that. It’s not necessarily a huge event, but it is a big deal. We’re happy to do that.”
Rose said the conference will help she and her staff collaborate, discuss and get more knowledge in how to assist citizens, and it will allow everyone to see KDOR officials face to face and put faces with names of people title clerks call with questions.
Rose said even if treasurers office staff learn just a little, the conference will still prove beneficial.
“Anytime you go to a conference and you’re going to learn maybe just one extra thing, if you come away from that with one extra piece of knowledge, I think that is tremendous because it’s one step forward in the right direction to make everything better for the community,” she said. “If each of us in this office leave that with one piece of knowledge we didn’t have when we walked in there, I think that’s beneficial.”
Rose was hired as Seward County’s newest treasurer in early 2023 following the retirement of former treasurer Kitty Romine, and also earlier this year, the office scored 98 percent on an audit from KDOR. Now, with adding in hosting the SWKCTA conference in Liberal, she said this year has been a wonderful one.
“We’re moving forward,” she said. “We’re doing well. I’m happy. I’m extremely happy with the office staff.”
With much of her staff having multiple years of experience, Rose said she feels everyone is in the right place, and she feels confident the office is in good hands.
“It’s a great feeling to know if I have to leave to go to conference or do something, the office is still in good hands and everybody knows how to do their job exceptionally well and knows if they don’t, how to get that knowledge and how to ask for help and help each other,” she said. “I think having the high percentage and having this is in the right direction and beneficial to Seward County. People who come in here know we’re doing a very good job.”
Possible new laws treasurers offices could be looking at concern compliance certificates for towing companies.
“There’s so much uncertainty with that,” Rose said. “I have a lot of questions. I know the other counties have a lot of questions. We talked about it at the KCTA conference, but I would like for KDOR to go more into depth on that. The new laws that are coming into effect, the new legislation they’ve passed, that affects every office.”
With the recall of embossed plates, Rose said she is unsure of how the public will react.
“I don’t know that a lot of people are going to be happy with the plates that are coming out, and the fact that everybody who has embossed is going to have to be going to flat,” she said. “They’re changing the sequence up. The policies and procedures of that, there’s going to be questions.”
Rose said it is more than just treasurers who will handle this issue.
“We have title clerks, the front line,” she said. “They’re going to be handling those people, and whenever they do that, they’re going to have to answer those questions. I think if those counties come away with something, the biggest is the new laws that are going to affect Southwest Kansas the most.”
Rose said ever since her office was notified about the chance to host the SWKCTA conference this year, it has felt as though time has sped up.
“It seems like it came so fast,” she said. “We’ve been prepping and verifying. I’m excited about it. I hope it’s a success. I hope everybody enjoys their time together. They get to put faces with names now. I’m excited. I hope it turns out well. It’s a lot of prepping for it, but it came too fast. We found about it, and we had about three or four months to get it and getting everything together. Days go by fast the older you get. It was kind of like yesterday when we got the phone call, but it’s been a group effort, and they’ve done well and helped me out.”
With all of its staff in attendance at the conference, the Seward County Treasurer’s office will be closed next Wednesday. Rose said a few other area counties will be taking similar measures for the day.
“They’ll be there to help assist and learn and mingle and enjoy,” Rose said regarding office staff in Seward County and other counties. “We will be closed to the public all day on Wednesday, and we’ll reopen the 28th at 8 a.m.”
The SWKCTA conference will start at 8 a.m. next Wednesday at the Activity Center, and Rose said the conference should wind down about 4 or 5 p.m.