Archive for Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tonganoxie City Council scales back proposed mill levy increase

July 20, 2010

After a week of reflection, the Tonganoxie City Council found ways to whittle 1.5 mills from the 5 mill increase it agreed to support in the 2011 budget.

The council Monday agreed to transfer $50,000 of the $100,000 the city received in March from the sale of property on the Kansas River to the general fund.

The transfer coupled with a decision to reduce mill levy support for economic development by $5,000, pegged the proposed 2011 to about 38.5 mills.

A mill equals $1 of revenue for every $1,000 of property value. With the state’s assessment rate of 11.5 percent on single-family homes, a mill levy of 38.5 mills would equal $664 to a homeowner.

The city bought the property near Linwood about a decade ago as a potential water source and water treatment plant site. It became expendable when the city decided to install the BPU water line, which is now under construction.

Councilwoman Paula Crook suggested the $100,000 be used for the 2011 general fund rather than the water fund, as was decided when the property was sold.

When asked where the money was placed, Kathy Bard, assistant city administrator, said it was put in the water fund as a cushion for when the city starts paying off the bond for the BPU line. The city will make a $106,000 payment in 2011 and $212,000 in payments for the remaining years of the 20-year bond, she said.

With that, Councilman Jason Ward suggested half the $50,000 be transferred to the general fund. The money would be placed in a contingency fund for emergency use in 2011.

The council also trimmed 2011 mill levy support for the downtown retail committee by at least $5,000. Bill Peek, committee chairman, said he had been frugal with the $10,000 allocated for 2010 and expected to have at least $5,000 to carry over at the end of the year.

Finally, the council agreed to reduce the city’s support to the Tonganoxie Chamber of Commerce from $7,500 to $5,000. It was agreed the $2,500 would be placed in contingency and available should the chamber need it.

Mayor Mike Vestal and Crook said from comments they heard in the last week, they expected residents to speak out against the budget’s 2.5 percent employee cost-of-living increase during the budget hearing.

Councilmen Tom Putthoff and Burdel Welsh responded the raise was only a start of what was needed to catch the city’s salary schedule up with those in neighboring municipalities. Bard added the 2.5 percent increase was less than the 2.8 percent increase in the cost-of-living index.

City Administrator Mike Yanez said he would present the budget to the council Monday for approval to publish in The Mirror. There will be a public hearing Aug. 9 on the 2011 budget before the council is to consider it for approval.

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