The owner of a $150,000 home in Lawrence is paying nearly $2,000 in property taxes for this year, and that's less than in all but two of the state's 10 largest cities.
And, after seeing a list of the comparison rates, city and Douglas County officials hope to keep it that way.
"It's good news," said Craig Weinaug, county administrator.
Added Mike Wildgen, city manager: "I'm always happy to see us ranked low, in this case, as opposed to high. I'm very pleased to be able to say that."
Lawrence's combined 2001 tax rate for taxes assessed by the city, county, school district and other taxing entities for the 2002 budget year came in at 110.7 mills, or enough to get $1,910 from the owner of a $150,000 house. Only Overland Park ($1,755) and Salina ($1,839) came in lower among the largest cities in Kansas.
A mill equals $1 in taxes for every $1,000 of a property's assessed valuation.
A listing of tax rates for all cities, counties and school districts in Kansas recently was compiled by the League of Kansas Municipalities. The list does not include other sources of tax revenue, such as sales taxes.
But for the owner of a home, commercial building or industrial plant assessed for property taxes in December and June, the tax rate garners plenty of interest.
No wonder it becomes a hot topic at budget time.
"Many, many people look at their property-tax bill," said Wildgen, who noted that the city, county and school district all assess taxes at different rates but property owners pay all three at once. "People look at what they're paying the bottom dollar. That's what's important."
Wildgen said he was compiling a proposed city budget that would keep the city portion of the tax rate steady, if not reduced.
Weinaug, meanwhile, is working under directions from the Douglas County Commission to present a 2003 budget that does not boost the tax rate at all.
"We're not going to raise property taxes," said Jere McElhaney, commission chairman. "No way."
Lawrence also ranks third on a list of area cities with the lowest tax rates. Here is the list, which includes each city's combined tax rate in mills and the tax bill on a $150,000 home:
Lecompton, 98.331, $1,696.
Overland Park, 101.736, $1,755.
Lawrence, 110.700, $1,910.
Olathe, 121.680, $2,099.
Tonganoxie, 125.305, $2,162.
Baldwin, 125.534, $2,165.
DeSoto, 130.227, $2,246.
Basehor, 130.837, $2,257.
McLouth, 135.753, $2,342.
Oskaloosa, 139.667, $2.409.
Topeka, 141.981, $2,449.
Atchison, 144.394, $2,491.
Leavenworth, 149.829, $2,585.
Edgerton, 153.001, $2,639.
Wellsville, 157.135, $2,711.
Ottawa, 158.553, $2,735.