Chris Payne has decided to stay and fight.
Payne, the owner of Heartland Motorsports Park in Topeka, Kan., confirmed on Tuesday in an article published by cjonline.com, said he would fight with Shawnee County to keep the track in its present location.
Payne has engaged in a battle with the Shawnee County appraiser’s office over tax bills.
Recently Payne, who bought the HMP complex in 2016, revealed he’s considered moving to Kansas City if a compromise isn’t reached.
The battle could soon end up in court.
“Heartland’s had offers to relocate from other counties and areas that know the plight that we’re enduring with Shawnee County,″ Payne told CJOnline.com. “We looked at them, but at the end of the day, Heartland Motorsports Park is not going anywhere.
“It’s staying in Topeka. We want to stay in Topeka, and we’re not going to get pushed out of Topeka. We’re fighting; we’re here, we’re not going anywhere. It’s our town, it’s our track, and this is where it needs to stay, and I’m not going to let outside elements change that.″
Payne said the appraiser’s office is the issue.
“Heartland is not going to bow down and let it happen. Heartland’s getting taxed almost a thousand dollars a day for a 30-year-old facility open six, seven months a year — a thousand dollars a day, 365 days a year. Really? That’s beyond comprehension.″
The appraiser’s office said it had dropped the taxes from $10.4 million to $7.5 for 2017. It was a value that Shawnee County appraiser Steve Bauman said all parties had agreed to.
In 2018, Payne would pay more than $28,600 per month, or $343,000 per for more more than 25 properties owned around the racetrack, according to the report on CJOnline.com.
Payne’s fight will be both long and expensive but one he’s willing to engage in.
“A thousand dollars a day? I can hire a lot of lawyers for a thousand dollars a day,″ Payne said.
Interestingly enough, the previous owners of HMP weren’t required to pay property taxes because the track was in tax exempt status. Payne said he doesn’t mind paying taxes but points out the rate must be fair.
“I do have a problem paying taxes that could bankrupt a business.″ Payne said.
Payne’s trip into the courts, he said, is an unfortunate one.
“It’s unfortunate we have to go to court to resolve it. We tried to do it without getting the courts involved, but had no success.”
Currently, there’s no word on how this will affect the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event scheduled for June.
— Competition Plus (@competitionplus) January 4, 2019