Archive for Wednesday, September 20, 2000

Taxpayers to absorb cost shift

September 20, 2000

Now that the city has agreed to pay $94,000 more toward the downtown renovation project, the next question is: Who will pay the bill?

Ultimately, the payers will be anyone who pays property tax or sales tax in Tonganoxie, said Chris Clark, city administrator.

The money, which will be paid from the city's general fund, will be doled out at about $10,000 a year, plus interest for the next 10 years, Clark said.

But, he added that, because the city has bonds that are close to being paid off, it's not likely that the taxpayers will feel the pinch.

For the year 2001, the city has total borrowings of $185,000, Clark said. The 2001 budget has essentially already been set and estimated to show a slight decrease in the mill levy rate. In the following year, Clark said, he hoped the city would try to stay at the same mill levy rate.

All of these existing bonds would be paid off by 2005.

"So, we actually will have dollars that used to be paid for other bonds and this will be used to pay this bond (for downtown renovation)," Clark said.

His goal throughout the payback schedule is to keep the debt schedule fairly consistent to benefit the taxpayers.

"So that the taxpayer won't see any real difference at all," Clark said.

The general fund revenue comes primarily from local property taxes and sales taxes, Clark said. Also contributing to the general fund revenue are state dollars, franchise taxes on utilities, interest, municipal court fines, engineering fees and building permits.

In 1999, Tonganoxie property taxes brought in about $500,000, Clark said. Of that, about $175,000 went into the city's general fund.

In 2000, Tonganoxie property taxes are expected to total about $482,000. Of that, $174,000 will go into the general fund, $77,000 to the library, $138,000 to employee benefits, $22,000 to library employee benefits, $70,000 to bond and interest.

As far as the 7 percent local sales tax, 4.9 cents goes to the state, 1 percent to the county and 1 percent to the city.

In 1999, Tonganoxie sales tax contributed $289,000 to the city's general fund and $130,000 went to the new justice center in Leavenworth.

Sales taxes for 2000 are projected to be close to last year's, with $295,000 estimated to go into the general fund and $125,000 toward the justice center, Clark said.

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