Archive for Thursday, November 11, 2004

By the numbers, city’s on the rise

November 11, 2004

— Statisticians miles away from Leavenworth County can take one look at the data and see Lansing is growing leaps and bounds.

The numbers don't lie: Sales tax revenue increasing 7.3 percent from 2002 to 2003; assessed valuation increasing 16 percent from 2002 to 2003 and an additional 10.4 percent from 2003 to 2004; population growing an estimated 4.6 percent from 2002 to 2003.

It's enough to make a city administrator blush.

"When your assessed valuation jumps $5 million this year and $7 million the year before : it shows the city is very strong and the people are saying that they want to move here," said Mike Smith, Lansing's city administrator.

The city's tax revenue stream is climbing steadily without tax increases. The city's portion of the property tax bill, in fact, is dropping slightly in the coming year.

The 2004 city budget required a levy of 36.657 mills - about $422 in taxes on a $100,000 house. For 2005, the levy is dropping to 36.010 mills - about $414 for the owner of a $100,000 house.

Smith attributes the drop to several factors, including the $5 million jump in assessed valuation from 2003 to this year.

Housing has led the way in the increase. The city issued 78 building permits for new single-family units in 2003. Through the first 10 months of this year, 57 building permits have been issued for single-family housing. Twenty-two new multifamily housing units have been added to the books thus far in 2004.

Mike Reilly of Reilly and Sons real estate said Lansing's housing boom isn't likely to end anytime soon. Reilly and Sons, for one, has plans to build another 200 to 300 homes in Lansing in the next five years.

"Wyndham Hill, on 4-H Road, we're looking at another 100 to 125 homes (in a development that eventually will total 170 homes). Rock Creek Estates, we're looking at another 150 homes (to bring it to 220 homes total)," Reilly said.

Smith, the city administrator, said commercial growth is adding to the mix, too. Within the past few years, Speedway Chrysler Dodge Jeep, Main Street Motors, Aldi grocery store, and Oasis Pools have opened shop in the city.

"Those are generators of some serious tax revenue for us," he said, noting that sales tax revenue for the city was up more than $40,000 - a healthy 7.3 percent clip - from 2002 to 2003.

Smith said that judging from the amount of traffic from new businesses coming through City Hall and expressing an interest in Lansing, the growth isn't about to end anytime soon.

The city is working to draw interest in the public-private Towne Center development. Mayor Kenneth Bernard has said he would like to see it be anchored by a large retailer and eventually develop into Lansing's central business district.

Though no firm commitments have been landed for Towne Center, city officials are confident businesses will come - if not in Towne Center, then somewhere else in Lansing.

"The last six months we've been overwhelmed with commercial business inquiries - large corporations and the moms and pops," Smith said. "They want to be here. That's why I think once it starts, it's going to be the domino effect."

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