Archive for Thursday, May 22, 2003

No New Taxes

City Council reviews preliminary budget; no mill increase expected

May 22, 2003

If preliminary budget numbers hold true, city of Basehor residents should have more money in their pockets and better streets to drive on.

During a work session Monday, May 19, the Basehor City Council began reviewing the budget with city treasurer Baron Powell.

Powell said early budget figures indicate Basehor shouldn't need to raise taxes this year or in the near future.

"This (budget) does not call for a mill levy increase," Powell said. "In fact, it doesn't call for one until 2007."

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

The city's current mill levy is 28.639 mills.

City officials said the mill levy could be adjusted if Leavenworth County comes through with re-evaluated property valuations. The budget could also change if special projects are funded this year, city officials said. (See related story, page 1A.)

The budget shown to City Council members Monday night is in its infant stage and could be adjusted before the final budget is submitted later this summer.

"What you see are my projections based on assumptions based on prior history," Powell said.

The budget follows through on a City Council initiative of setting aside more funds for street repair.

The preliminary budget calls for $250,000 to be allocated annually from 2004 to 2007 for street repair, according to Monday night's budget totals.

The budget also allocates an additional $100,000 for street repair this year.

City officials said budget reductions implemented by the state should have little bearing on the city's 2004 budget.

"There's really not much to affect us," Powell said. "We don't receive a great deal of money from the state, per say."

The budget reviewed during the work session is a long-range plan ranging from 2004 to 2007.

"We look for trends," Powell said. "We want to make sure we have money available five years out."

That long-range plan indicates the city will be able to meet its debt obligations, approximately $9.1 million. City officials said the budget allows them to meet its monthly state revolving loan payments, which were borrowed to fund the Basehor Wastewater Treatment Facility.

In addition to budgeting for next year, the plan includes financing for department heads, new employee salaries and special projects.

"Basically, we can fund everything department heads need," Powell said.

One new hire budgeted for next year is the position of city administrator.

Although there shouldn't be a need for a tax increase next year, city officials are planning to increase monthly sewer rates by approximately 3.7 percent.

Overall, City Council members seemed impressed by the preliminary budget and especially pleased that taxes wouldn't need increased in this downtrodden economic climate.

"I think we need to be aware of the financial situation of everybody," City Council member John Bonee said.

"We need to tell people we're considering the situation of everybody and let people know we're thinking about them," he added.

The City Council will host budget meetings throughout the coming months.

A public hearing on the final budget will take place in mid-August, and the final budget will be submitted to Leavenworth County by Aug. 30.

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