Archive for Thursday, June 26, 2003

Tax hike is certain, county says

June 26, 2003

Work continues on next year's budget for the Leavenworth County Commission. Throughout recent weeks, the county commission has reviewed budget numbers with each department head, trimming costs where it can, Leavenworth County Commission chairman Joe Daniels said.

Funding reductions to Leavenworth County from the state have made a mill-levy increase a foregone conclusion. The state, facing $1 billion in revenue shortfall, has cut back funding to Kansas counties.

The current mill levy in Leavenworth County is 40.163 mills.

A mill is $1 for every $1,000 of assessed property valuation; three mills is the equivalent of $3 million in tax revenue for Leavenworth County, officials said.

Thus far, there is no telling how high the mill increase might be, Daniels said.

The chairman said county officials are waiting to see how much money they can carry over from last year to this year's budget.

An audit, finished last Friday, is under review and will be more telling in indicating how much money the county commission can use for this year's budget, Daniels said.

"We need to know how are we going to manage what we have now," Daniels said. "We're waiting with baited breath to see how much money we have to carry over to help stem a tax increase."

To help ease possible tax increases, Daniels said the county could use funds slated for renovation of the courthouse toward the budget.

"We could take money to offset taxes and take short-term notes out for projects," he said.

In recent months, county officials have taken steps to stem the financial shortfall by placing a freeze on new hirings and employee raises and reviewing whether to replace positions where employees have quit.

A public hearing on the budget will take place in mid-July; the final budget must be submitted to the state at the end of August.

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