Archive for Thursday, May 15, 2003

County seeking $1.1 million for budget

May 15, 2003

Leavenworth County commissioners, reeling from a $1.1 million reduction in funding from the state to finance this year's budget, are looking for ways to raise taxes to cover the revenue shortfall.

Employing a little-used process, the county can levy taxes next year to make up this year's $1.1 million reduction in money from the state. The process, called issuing no-fund warrants, essentially allows the county to sell warrants that it would have to pay back within a year.

No-fund warrants are used when public entities have unforeseen revenue losses or expenditures.

The loss of state funding should qualify Leavenworth County for the warrants, county officials said.

The county would levy enough property taxes next year to repay the warrants. County officials estimate it would take 3 mills to raise $1.1 million.

A mill is $1 in taxes for every $1,000 in assessed property valuation.

So the county -- which, again, had been expecting about $1.1 million from the state to shore up its 2004 budget -- will have to increase the levy by another 3 mills.

County officials said that to issue the warrants, which oftentimes are purchased by banks, the county must receive permission from the Kansas Board of Tax Appeals. In addition, the law provides for a protest period.

The tax appeals board conducts a hearing, and likely would rule within a week, according to Tony Folsom, executive director and general counsel for the board.

The county has not yet formulated its application, but anticipates asking for the full $1.1 million, officials said.

Banks or other governmental entities typically purchase the warrants.

Because the county would receive the full $1.1 million, if approved by the state, the county would invest the balance it didn't need to operate the county in an effort to lessen the sting of borrow costs.

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