Archive for Thursday, July 20, 2006

Budget gets council’s tacit OK

July 20, 2006

If a lack of discussion is any indication, then Lansing City Council approves heartily of City Administrator Mike Smith's budget proposal.

The council conducted a budget work session on July 13 in which representatives from departments and organizations made presentations to the council on various supplemental expenditures for the upcoming year. The supplemental expenditures are above a base operating budget Smith has compiled.

Many of the supplemental requests heard by the council would benefit four departments: police, parks and recreation, streets and wastewater utility.

Beyond the addition of another full-time officer, the Police Department's most notable request was the purchase of a multipurpose police van, which would be used for inmate transport to and from court, serve as a motor vehicle carrier inspection station and potentially, a unit that would help test whether drivers suspected of operating under the influence of alcohol are over the legal limit.

On the Parks and Recreation front, the department has asked - and may likely be approved - to hire a "recreation programmer." The programmer would assist the department primarily with scheduling and event coordination, in addition to the regular duties shared by the department. Parks and Rec has also asked for a compact utility vehicle to be used for maintaining the Lansing trail system, among other uses.

Smith also suggested approving equipment requests by both the wastewater treatment plant and the streets department for a telescoping forklift and a new street sweeper, respectively.

Smith is requesting a levy of 34.697 mills, 0.184 mills higher than was required for the 2006 budget. A mill is equal to $1 in property taxes for every $1,000 of property valuation.

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.

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.

Council members are expected to vote on the proposed budget on Aug. 3, following a public hearing.

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