The Unified Government on Thursday night set a maximum mill levy by one-half mill each for the city and county over the rate proposed by the administrator, while saying it was just for purposes of flexibility in handling the budget.
The move will give the UG the flexibility to shift costs back and forth from the city to the county and vice versa without having to republish the budget, according to the mayor. The budgeting process is different for the Unified Government, dealing with both the city and county budgets at the same time.
“No other city and county has a combined government in Kansas,” Mayor Mark Holland said at the meeting.
The UG did the same thing last year when it considered the budget, raising the amount from the administrator’s proposed budget when the commission set the maximum mill levy, then switching funds around and coming back to the original amount on the final budget vote.
The half-mill equals about $500,000 each, according to UG chief financial officer Lew Levin.
If the commission wants to move a tenth of a mill from the city budget to the county budget, or vice versa, it could still do that with the higher mill levy rate, UG Administrator Doug Bach said.
If the UG adopted the mill levy proposed earlier this week by the administrator, then it would not have the flexibility to move these items between budgets, he said. It would have to cut something and then move it between the budgets.
The commission is currently discussing changes to the proposed administrator’s budget in a series of workshops being held at City Hall. UG Commissioner Ann Murguia stated that while she is open to flexibility within the budget that the UG already has, she was not in favor of adding last-minute items because of emotional appeals.
Commissioner Hal Walker said the idea of commissioner initiatives should come earlier, and not later, in the process. He said he had a couple of ideas to present with some cost to them. He supports the commission deciding earlier in the process of whether some of the projects would move forward. Eleventh-hour ideas are generally smaller projects, Walker said, and sometimes there was not an opportunity to get a commission discussion or consensus on them earlier.
Mayor Holland agreed with working on commission initiatives earlier, and said the commission has done that, with the UG going over several commission ideas earlier.
The administrator’s proposed budget announced July 13 had a $323 million total, and an 82-mill rate for the combined city and county.
The Kansas City, Kan., proposed maximum mill levy was set at 43.973, a half-mill higher than the 43.473 mill rate proposed by the administrator earlier this week. The maximum mill rate for the county also was increased a half-mill to 38.988, increased from the original 39.488.
There was unanimous UG Commission approval of both changes.
The maximum mill levy for the downtown self-supported municipal improvement district was set at 12.500 mills. It is very little changed from the past two years. This applies to downtown Kansas City, Kan., and the district was started voluntarily by downtown merchants to provide extra services.
The public hearing date on the budget will be at 5 p.m. July 27 at the Commission Chambers, City Hall, 701 N. 7th St., Kansas City, Kan.
Budget documents are online at the UG’s website at www.wycokck.org, budget information is available at www.wycokck.opengov.com, and hard copies of the proposed budget are at the public libraries in Wyandotte County.
See earlier story at http://wyandottedaily.com/ug-property-tax-rate-proposed-to-remain-same-valuations-up-in-wyandotte-county/.