Council asks to reduce mill-levy hike
Tonganoxie City Administrator Shane Krull last week suggested a mill levy increase of just more than 3 mills for the 2004 budget, but city council members didn't want that steep of an increase.
"I hope we can pare it down," council member Velda Roberts said at a special meeting last Thursday. "I think the people are going to get hit awfully hard.
"I'd rather you raise my water bill as opposed to my mill levy."
Considering economic struggles and reduced revenue from the state, Krull had suggested a 37.04 mill levy rate for the upcoming year compared to this year's 33.9 rate. The 2002 rate was 34.5. A mill is $1 in taxes for every $1,000 in assessed property valuation.
The council hopes to finalize the budget in another special meeting at noon today in council chambers before adopting it at Monday's council meeting.
Net expenditures for this year are earmarked at $10,695,098, up dramatically from the $6,335,943 mark this year.
The two biggest projects for the city in the last year -- a new wastewater treatment facility and the city's water issue -- will affect that number the most.
Krull said Tuesday that he budgeted for the maximum amount on the treatment facility and a water solution.
The council last year rejected wastewater bids because they were too high, but Krull budgeted for a maximum of $4.8 million. The city originally had hoped to build the facility for $3.2 million, but received bids at about $3.9 million. Krull said that discussions with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment have been going well in regards to better using a Community Development Block grant for the project.
"The sewer is on the high end of the estimate," Krull said. "If and when it's approved it will probably be less."
Krull also budgeted $2.5 million in case Tonganoxie must extend water lines from the city of Bonner Springs to ensure adequate water for the future. However, the city administrator is hopeful a proposal to share water with Rural Water Districts 6 and 9 finally will become a reality and negate the need to extend water lines.