Archive for Wednesday, August 14, 2002

Council keeps pledge on property taxes

August 14, 2002

Basehor City Council members followed through with their pledge to not raise the property tax rate in 2003.

In a meeting Monday, Aug. 12, the council unanimously approved next year's final budget without raising the mill levy.

"Overall, the mill levy is exactly the same as it was last year," city treasurer Baron Powell said to council members during a budget presentation outlining expected revenues and expenditures through 2006.

A mill is $1 levied per $1,000 of assessed property valuation. The city's mill levy is currently 28.669, "This mill levy, except for Easton, is the lowest in Leavenworth County," Powell said.

According to the budget, the total expenditures for the city in 2003 will be $7,263,935.

Council members were enthused about this year's budget, but asked Powell whether a decrease was possible because of the dramatic tax increase residents were hit with last year.

Last year, council members approved a 12-mill increase.

Powell said a decrease this year, or in the immediate future was not advisable.

"I'm not aware of or will endorse a reduction in the mill levy," he said. "I don't believe we can adequately fund city services (with a reduction)."

Powell said the best option for the city would be to bump the mill levy to an even 30 mills in the future.

"I would like to see us hold the mill levy constant," he said. "I can see 30, but not anymore than that."

Although the mill levy will stay the same, city residents could notice an increase in their sewer and solid waste charges in 2003.

If city projections are correct, residents will see a 5 percent increase in the sewer rate and 3.9 percent increase in the solid waste rate.

The city's average monthly sewer charge is $34.23 and the average solid waste rate is $9.

During the budget hearing, city officials discussed possible plans concerning the city's wastewater treatment facility.

City officials said the treatment facility is operating at 80 percent capacity and might need to expand in the near future.

Phase two of the city's sewer plans calls for the plant expanding its pump and motor speeds to accommodate more users. However, growth is occurring so rapidly, the city may need to skip phase two.

"We're actually looking at skipping phase two and going to phase three," City codes administrator Mike Hooper said. "Phase two won't add what we need based on growth. It's happening a lot quicker than anticipated."

Phase three for the treatment plant calls for adding more storage capacity to the treatment plant.

While the city held the mill levy steady, Leavenworth County officials are considering a decrease for 2003.

County officials said they could lower the county mill levy by one to two mills when finalizing the budget next week.

The county mill levy was increased by nine mills last year, 32.031 to 41.138.

The Leavenworth County Commission will have a public hearing on the budget at 1:30 p.m. Monday, August 19 at the Leavenworth County Courthouse.

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