Archive for Thursday, July 13, 2006

Budget plan calls for rise in city levy

July 13, 2006

City Administrator Mike Smith is proposing the first mill levy increase in Lansing in three years for the city's 2007 budget.

Smith is requesting a levy of 34.697 mills, 0.184 mills higher than was required for the 2006 budget.

The increase is included in the city's 2007 annual program of services, which will be discussed by City Council members at a work session scheduled for 7 p.m. today, July 13, at City Hall, 800 First Terrace. Preceding the work session will be a special council meeting at 6:30 p.m., which will largely be conducted in executive session.

Smith said the proposed mill levy increase was necessitated by a number of factors, including increased city services.

"I'm very sensitive to any tax increase, but as the city grows : these are things the community needs," Smith said.

For example, Chief Steve Wayman will request an additional full-time officer for the Police Department. Recreation director Jason Crum is seeking a full-time programmer for his department. The city will add a finance director in the coming year. The Main Street project liaison will be on the books for another year.

"For years, we didn't have the staff we needed to get the job done that needed to be done," Smith said. "I've been trying to take care of that the past several years."

Equipmentwise, the city in 2007 will continue to pay off leases for five police patrol cars and a Street Department dump truck. Also proposed is the addition of a new street sweeper for the Street Department, a compact utility vehicle for Parks and Recreation and a multipurpose van for the Police Department.

Plus, Smith said, the council already had approved setting aside $120,000 in 2007 for a drainage improvement fund and it will complete the first phase of work on Lansing Community Park next year.

At tonight's work session, Smith and his department heads will lay out their capital and supplemental requests to the council. On Aug. 3, the council will conduct a public hearing on the budget before voting whether to accept it.

Smith said the mill levy increase would amount to a property tax increase over last year of $2.13 on a residential home valued at $100,000. A mill is equal to $1 in taxes for every $1,000 of assessed valuation.

But the average residence in Lansing increased by an average of 12.9 percent this year, according to the Leavenworth County Appraiser's Office.

In other words, a home valued at $100,000 in 2005, on average, is now valued at $112,900. Taxes on the fictional home would increase to $450.49 this year from last year's 396.89 - a 13.5 percent increase to pay the city portion of the property tax bill.

"That's a $4 or $5 a month increase," Smith said. "With the growth we're seeing in the services we provide to the city, I think that's a heck of a deal."

The proposed mill levy is based on an overall valuation of $66.69 million, up about 10 percent from last year's valuation of $60.27 million.

To calculate the amount of property tax you would pay to the city under the proposed 2007 budget, enter the 2005 valuation of your home in the blank and click on "Calculate."

Property Tax Calculator

Note: values shown are provided for informational purposes only and are based on an average home value increase of 12.9% and the proposed mill levy of $34.7o per $1000 and may not reflect your new property tax amount. Javascript is required to use this calculator.

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