Archive for Wednesday, July 10, 2002

City holding the line on 2003 mill levy

July 10, 2002

Tonganoxie city property owners will not see an increase in the mill levy to finance city services in 2003.

But that doesn't mean property tax bills will be remain the same.

The effect of higher property valuations will mean that many city residents will be paying more in taxes to help finance Tonganoxie's 2003 budget.

This year, property taxes paid for about $587,058 in the budget. Next year, property taxes will fund about $671,449. That's an increase of about $84,390.

"It's higher due to the increase in property valuation," said City Administrator Shane Krull, who on Monday gave city council members a preview of the 2003 proposed operating budget.

Property in the city of Tonganoxie was valued at $16.99 million when officials were figuring the 2002 city budget. Now, that valuation has increased to $19 million, Krull said.

The valuation increase is attributed to new development, as well as higher valuations placed on property by the county.

The 2003 Tonganoxie operating budget will be financed with a levy of 34.552 mills, the same amount used for the 2002 operating budget, as well as other revenue sources.

"I think the citizens at large will be happy we're not going to have a mill levy increase, at least for the operating budget," said Steve Gumm, city council member.

A mill is equal to $1 in taxes for every $1,000 in assessed property valuation.

The operating budget represents about half the budget picture. At the July 22 meeting, Krull will present a more detailed budget to council members, including the proposed 2003 capital budget. The capital budget will center on projects, including the city's new wastewater treatment plant, which will come on line late in 2003.

"What we're looking at in terms of the capital budget would be primarily funding from the justice center sales tax and other items," Krull said.

And a public hearing on the entire budget will be conducted at the Aug. 12 council meeting.

On Monday, Krull reviewed some highlights of the operating budget, including:

A 20 percent increase in property and casualty insurance.

Up to $250 a month to pay the mayor and up to $25 a meeting for city council members. Council members have not yet decided whether they will be paid.

An increase of 20 percent in health insurance costs for employees.

It's possible, Krull said, that Leavenworth County commissioners will ask the city to pay $10,000 for emergency dispatching services. That issue has not been decided yet, he said, so it is not included in the budget.

"I like our current deal with them, and I'd like to see it continue for another year," he said.

Currently, the city does not pay the county for any dispatching services.

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