Archive for Wednesday, August 1, 2001

Council considers increasing mill levy, sewer rates

August 1, 2001

To offset shortfalls in the sewer fund, the city is proposing to raise sewer rates and the property tax rate in 2002.

On Aug. 13, the Basehor City Council will conduct a budget hearing on a proposed 12-mill increase to the city's property tax rate.

The current mill levy for the city of Basehor is 16.552 mills. It is the hope of the City Council to raise the mill levy to 28 mills to help alleviate problems the city is facing with its sewer fund.

Even with the increase, the city of Basehor would still have one of the lowest mill levies in the area as well as the state.

According to 2000 figures, with a 12-mill levy increase Basehor would be the lowest in the county except for Lansing, which has a 24.388 mill levy.

By contrast, Bonner Springs and Edwardsville both have mill levies above 40, although both cities have discussed rollbacks.

The City Council also hopes to raise the sewer rates by 12 percent.

The current sewer rate is $4.82 per 1,000 gallons of water. City Treasurer Baron Powell had suggested the City Council raise the sewer rates by 52 percent, which would eliminate a raise in the mill levy.

The council decided to split the increase between the sewer rate and the mill levy rather than raise the sewer rate all at once, City Council member Chris Garcia said.

In the future, there could be a rollback in the mill levy and the sewer rates when more homes and businesses come online with the wastewater treatment plant.

The City Council would have to look at rolling back the mill levy if the circumstances warranted a reduction, Garcia said.

The increases are due to an unforeseen error in budgeting out loan payments to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment for the wastewater treatment facility.

The city is locked into bi-annual payments of $180,000 to the state revolving loan program.

Last year, the city had budgeted out $80,000 for a payment to KDHE and then found out the payment was actually $180,000.

"It was a payment we didn't see coming," Garcia said. "If we did, we would have budgeted for it. In order to meet that payment, we've got to raise either the mill levy or the sewer rates or both. That will get us through 2003."

"If we would have left everything the way it was, we would have run out of money in that (sewer) fund by next year and wouldn't have had the money to paythat obligation. So we've got to raise it in order to meet that obligation."

Garcia said he expects the City Council to approve the raise in both the mill levy and sewer rates because there isn't any other option.

"I don't see any way that we couldn't," Garcia said. "Those are really the only two ways you can raise revenue. Something has to be done. If it weren't for that $180,000 payment we would really be sitting pretty good."

The city is also proposing an additional five-mill levy increase, in which the funds would go toward road improvements, most likely 155th Street and 158th Street.

Garcia said the additional five-mill increase is unlikely to gain approval due to the burden the 12-mill increase would place on residents.

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