Archive for Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Commission passes 2011 budget, emergency funding for Carnegie

August 17, 2010

The Leavenworth County Commission approved the 2011 budget Monday with comment limited to commissioners’ satisfaction the county’s $45.4 million budget cut overall spending by $3 million from 2010.

The commissioners’ comments came after no one spoke at the scheduled public hearing on the budget.

If commissioners were brief Monday, they did spend a large portion of June and July hashing out the budget.

The approved budget will raise the county’s mill levy from 32.052 to 33.139, with 0.767 mills of that increase to be used to fund the county’s solid waste department and the transfer station. That mill levy support replaces a county assessment on properties, which was $13.52 on single-family homes.

A mill equals $1 of revenue for the county for each $1,000 of assessed valuation. At the county’s 2011 mill rate, the county’s share of taxes for each $100,000 of valuation on a single-family home would be $381.

The approved budget only establishes spending levels. Although mill levies won’t vary much from those in approved budgets, County Clerk Janet Klasinski will establish mill levies in September, when final assessed valuations are determined.

Room was made in the budget for the $89,000 needed to hire two new dispatcher positions for the sheriff’s office and $150,000 to start a county codes court with enforcement officer and judge.

There was much more commission debate in the past week about an emergency funding request from Leavenworth’s Carnegie Arts Center for $4,500.

Carolyn Singleton, the center’s director, made the emergency request Aug. 5 with another appeal the center get $12,500 in annual line-item support from the county.

The center lost 20 percent of its grant from the Kansas Art Commission, had expensive drainage problems and had several fundraisers canceled because of weather. The art shows, recitals and classes available to residents would have to be curtailed without the emergency funding, Singleton said.

Commissioners agreed there was no chance to put the requested line item in the 2011 budget, which included no cultural funding. But County Administrator Heather Morgan said the county’s recreation fund could appropriately be used to fund the Carnegie request.

That was acceptable to Commissioners Clyde Graeber and J.C. Tellefson. On Thursday, they voted to provide $6,000 in funding for the arts center, which covered Singleton’s request and half the amount lost in the state grant.

However, Commissioner John Flower, who got no support in his attempt to respond to a request from organizers of the Basehor Dairy Days with the same fund, questioned why its use would be appropriate for Carnegie Arts Center and not the earlier request.

To ensure fairness, the commission needed to establish rules on how the fund would be used, Flower said. He voted against the appropriation not because he was against supporting the arts but because concerns about fairness and the treatment of the county south of the “Dempsey Line,” he said.

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