Archive for Wednesday, July 10, 2002

City Council shifts funds for street repair during budget meeting

July 10, 2002

It was a simple financial decision the Basehor City Council faced during a budget workshop Monday, July 8.

Do they pay for the renovation of City Hall parking lot or take that money, approximately $60,000, and transfer it to the street department for future repairs or maintenance?

City Council members chose the later, citing a shortage of funds in the street department.

City officials said the only money slated for repairs comes from a state and county fuel tax, approximately $70,000.

"It concerns me when the street department is going to be under funded," Council member Chris Garcia said.

The proposed budget given to council members Monday outlined expenditures for the years 2002 to 2006.

"What it boiled down to, we can afford everything the department supervisors felt was needed," Basehor city treasurer Baron Powell said.

However, the proposed budget left no additional money for street repairs so council members decided to forgo the City Hall parking lot project, which was scheduled to begin in 2002.

Instead, city officials will focus on making City Hall handicap accessible, which comes at a far less cost, estimated somewhere between $1,000 to $2,000.

During past weeks, city officials have stated their goal is to not raise the mill levy this budget season.

Powell reiterated this goal in a memorandum sent to council members in June.

A mill is $1 per every $1,000 of assessed property valuation.

In the June memorandum, Powell listed his three main goals in developing the budget:

Hold the mill levy steady at its current rate, 28.639

Ensure the city could pay off its long-term debt.

Hold utility rate increases to 5 percent or less each year.

Powell said it didn't appear the mill levy would have to be raised this year; however, Powell said bringing the number to an even 30 mills would be advisable.

"I would like to see the mill (levy) got to 30 and leave it there," he said.

The areas of significant debt for the city are:

$3.4 million in bonds for work in the Falcon Lakes development on Kansas Highway 7

$7.8 million from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment for work to the Basehor Wastewater Treatment Facility and Kansas Highway 24/40 sewer interceptor project.

The proposed budget is designed to allow the city to reduce its debt in coming years, Powell said.

"What I want to avoid is putting us deeper into debt," he said.

The utility rate increases Powell outlined were the city's sewer and solid waste rates. The treasurer said Basehor is just breaking even on the rates and the city would raise them slightly.

"My intent is to at least keep up with inflation," Powell said, noting that the increases would be moderate over the next 20 years, not exceeding more than 5 percent.

"When you go from a $5 bill to a $15 bill is when people get upset," he said.

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