Archive for Thursday, August 4, 2005

Resident wants deeper mill levy cut, council pledge

August 4, 2005

A Lansing resident says he's going to challenge City Council members on two budgetary fronts.

Herman Visocsky wants the council to lower the property tax levy needed to fund the 2006 budget by 5 mills and he wants council members to sign a pledge that allows future tax increases only with a vote of the people.

He'll take his challenges to tonight's council meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 800 First Terrace.

City Administrator Mike Smith has proposed a city budget for 2006 that includes a reduction of nearly 1 mill from this year's tax rate. A mill is equal to $1 in taxes for every $1,000 in assessed property valuation.

Visocsky, who fought annexation of his property into Lansing late last year, called the 1-mill decrease "paltry."

"If you let me line-item that budget, I'll find a 5-mill decrease," Visocsky said.

Property owners, he said, need the cut to offset what is expected to be a 4-mill increase in the Lansing School District budget to begin paying off bonds to build a new elementary school approved by voters in April

Among the items he'd target in the city budget: a plan to change a part-time library assistant into a full-time job.

"That's a want, not a need," he said. "There's plenty of 'wants,' I'm sure, in the city budget."

In addition to the mill-levy cut, Visocsky said he would ask each of the eight council members plus Mayor Kenneth Bernard, to sign a "Taxpayer's Bill of Rights" pledge.

Those who sign the document make three pledges:

¢ Annual city spending should be limited to the rate of population growth and inflation.

¢ Excess revenues collected above the limit should be used to create reserve funds and be refunded to taxpayers through tax cuts and rebates.

¢ Tax increases should only be enacted by the people's vote.

"If you believe in fiscal responsibility, fiscal restraint : then put your money where your mouth is," Visocsky said. "I just want the council members on the record."

Visocsky said he planned also to take a similar challenge to the Leavenworth County Commission.

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