Archive for Thursday, July 15, 2004

Basehor budget public hearing planned Aug. 16

July 15, 2004

Basehor city officials this week scheduled a public hearing Aug. 16 for members of the public to view and weigh in on the city's proposed 2005 budget, City Clerk Mary Ann Mogle said Tuesday.

During a workshop following Monday's City Council meeting, Treasurer Barron Powell presented the proposed amended budget that the council will eventually vote on. Powell's proposal, which present Council members Keith Sifford, John Bonee and Julian Espizona appeared to agree upon, will not call for a mill levy increase, at least in 2005.

"Honestly, I see a modest increase sometime in the future," Powell said. "When? Obviously that depends on the Council and now they appear very opposed to it."

In a previous budget workshop, members of the Council debated between enacting a 2005 budget without a mill levy increase and approving one with a mill levy of 32 mills. Council members Espinoza and Sifford, along with Mayor Joseph Scherer who does not have a vote on the matter, appeared to favor a property tax increase to provide additional services and plan for the pending growth that will affect the city. However, the matter died when Council members Bonee, William Hooker and Iris Dysart, who was absent from Monday's Council meeting and budget workshop, opposed the matter.

The mill levy, which Powell explained will be determined directly following a state evaluation in October, is calculated at a $1 tax for every $1,000 of a residential property's assessed valuation. By law, assessed valuation is set at 11.5 percent of a home's fair market value.

The general fund for 2005 will increased by about $700,000 over the 2004 general fund, but Powell said individual departments will not be receiving much more than they did this year. Instead, more money will be transferred to infrastructure funds and account for the majority of the difference. The 2005 budget includes $2,438,992 in the general fund compared to the 2004 budget that included $1,731,473 in the general fund.

Other highlights from the city's proposed budget include an increase in business license fees from $10 to $50 and an annual increase of sewer connection fees. Because the mill levy was not increased, the proposed budget does not call for any new city personnel hires in 2005 or any large equipment purchases.

Throughout the series of budget sessions, members of the Council had

expressed concern about paying for the city's sewer system and maintaining enough dollars in the general fund cover all expenses. Powell said the budget will be sufficient funds on hand to cover all expenses through the end of 2008. Additionally, he said the plan will fully cover the sewer costs for the duration of the city's loan.

However, in the event that an unexpected major equipment replacement becomes necessary, Powell said it will negatively impact the budget for 2006.

"Let's say there is a high-speed chase and two police cars crash," he said. "That money has to come from somewhere."

Ultimately, Powell said he hopes the budget, which includes a five-year plan, will be more reflective of the city's long-term vision.

"My hope... is that we can marry the financial plans and the long-range plans," he said. "We're not quite there yet, but we're getting there."

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