County administrator to present 2018 budget

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Opinion column

by Murrel Bland

County Administrator Doug Bach will present the proposed 2018 Unified Government budget when the Unified Commission meets at 5 p.m. Thursday, July 6, in the Commission Chamber at City Hall.

Bach, who spoke at a membership meeting of Business West Wednesday, June 28, didn’t reveal what the dollar amount of the budget might be. However, he did confirm that the city-county mill rate—used to compute property tax bills—would be two mills less than 2016. Kathy Briney has confirmed that property valuations generally have increased.

Bach said, consistent with a strategic plan, the Unified Government is increasing efforts to eliminate blight. The “SOAR” program (Stabilization, Occupation And Revitalization) focuses on eliminating vacant, abandoned and poorly maintained property. This is part of a five-year plan to reduce the negative impact on neighborhoods.

Bach said that thanks to the sales tax revenue from businesses in the Village West area, the Unified Government has more than $12 million it can invest in services.

Bach said the Amazon warehouse, which should be operational later this month, will provide 2,000 new jobs. This development is one that could be the keystone for other development along the Turner Diagonal from K-32 to State Avenue. However, better access to I-70 will be necessary for this area to expand and truly realize its potential.

Construction on the U.S. Soccer National Training Center is expected to be completed by the end of the year, Bach said. Proposals for a convention center in the Village West area have been received, Bach said, and are being evaluated.

Property owners complained about the “city hall bureaucracy,” particularly for the small investor. Joe Vaught, a commercial Realtor, said he has lost prospects because of “slow walking” in dealing with officials at City Hall.

Bach has been county administrator for the past 3.5 years. He has been with the Unified Government since 1997.

Murrel Bland is the former editor of The Wyandotte West and The Piper Press. He is executive director of Business West.

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