Archive for Thursday, July 19, 2007

Decrease in mill levy OK’d

July 19, 2007


A budget that reduces the mill levy was approved Wednesday night by the Douglas County Commission.

The decrease is slight - .013 of a mill - but it more than met the commissioners' goal of fighting off an increase. A mill is $1 for every $1,000 of assessed valuation.

The county's reduction comes at a time when the Lawrence public schools and the city of Lawrence are increasing their levies. County commissioners said they felt a special need to hold down their budget because of those increases.

"I think the commission went in with the understanding that we were going to hold the line on the levy, and we stuck to our initiative and our goal and we succeeded," Commissioner Jere McElhaney said.

To get the mill levy decrease, commissioners approved more than $700,000 in reductions from the budget initially proposed a couple of weeks ago by County Administrator Craig Weinaug. Weinaug's proposal called for a three-quarters of a mill increase over this year's levy.

The 2006 mill levy, which supported this year's county government budget, was 30.013 mills. The new levy will be 30 mills which will support the 2008 budget.

Earlier this week, commissioners came up with more than $500,000 in proposed spending reductions and asked Weinaug to come up with another $186,000 in reductions to keep from increasing the levy. On Wednesday, Weinaug and Assistant County Administrator Pam Madl recommended reducing the amount of money set aside for risk management insurance. Their formula for doing that amounted to a savings of $200,000.

The risk management fund's end of the year cash balance was expected to be $668,992. The fund is used for catastrophes, such as a Greensburg type of tornado, Weinaug said. But the fund would be "a drop in the bucket" for that type of catastrophe and would still require tens of millions of dollars in relief from the state and federal levels, he said.

Commissioner Charles Jones voted for the budget even though he said he had reservations about making changes to an insurance fund, but he said he was generally happy with the budget decisions.

"I'm glad we didn't have to do any harm," he said. "On the other hand you always worry about if we put ourselves in a good position for next year, and I guess we'll find out next year."

Commissioner Bob Johnson, who spent a career in the insurance business, was less concerned.

"The good news is, if we have put ourselves in a tough position, then next year we've done it to ourselves and the three of us will be here," he said. "We'll have to look ourselves in the eyes and come to grips with whatever the reality is."

Among other recent budget highlights, commissioners:

¢ Reduced by $100,000 the amount put into a medical insurance reserve fund.

¢ Cut $388,000 in an economic development fund that would have been used to prepare land for industry was removed. Commissioners left $125,000 in the budget for the Kansas bioscience spec building.

¢ Allowed $63,480 for an employee at the jail to develop a program to help inmates re-enter society.

¢ Approved $18,195 to pay for overtime at Douglas County Youth Services.

¢ Cut an increase in spending for court operations by $18,600.

¢ Estimated an increase in sales tax collections at 1.5 percent, or $76,140.

Although commissioners approved the budget, a public hearing will be held sometime next month when they will formally adopt the budget.


kshiker 10 years, 10 months ago

Kudos to the Douglas County Commission! At least one governmental body in the area continues to be accountable to the voters that put them into office. Lets hope the City Commission follows suit.

craigers 10 years, 10 months ago

Job well done Douglas County Commission.

I have a question for whoever will answer... What is the mil in Lawrence and what is the mil in Eudora? I'm just curious as to whether Eudora is cheaper to live in, in the sense of property taxes. Thanks,

jayhalkjen 10 years, 10 months ago

Yes, we are blessed to have a county commission and administration so intuned to citizen needs. We should all be thanking them more! Craigers, here's a link to all township and city mill levies within the county.

craigers 10 years, 10 months ago

thanks jayhalkjen. Eudora is cheaper, but they are catching up. I had no idea Baldwin was that bad though. Sheesh.

bmwjhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

If my calculations are correct, I just saved 32 cents!

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 10 years, 10 months ago

Apparently I am the only person that remembers that these county commissioners, whom all of you are applauding, gave themselves about a 50% raise not too long ago. I also recall it was their Christmas present to themselves using our money. This was at a time when most of us were trying to find enough money to buy presents for our families. Also these same commissioners completely closed the bridge at Lecompton, disrupting the lives of many, and causing us to drive many extra miles when gasoline is over $ 3.00 a gallon. You can be assured I will vote against any of them I can at the next election. Thank you, Lynn

somebodynew 10 years, 10 months ago

Lynn731 - I was wondering if somebody would remember that. I certainly did. Yes they MAY have done a decent thing, but let us not go overboard.

As a resident of the county I tend to follow the county commission decisions. What I do not understand is that they regularly allow more homes/businesses and development in the county and then expect all the departments of the county to provide service to these areas and DO NOT allow increases in budgets. But- it is OK for them to get a larger raise than anyone else who works for the county.

Maybe before the next budget the one commissioner who did the "shopping thing" a few years back will do that again. He might be surprized.

KsTwister 10 years, 10 months ago

"....and the city of Lawrence are increasing their levies." Which goes to show you how much they manipulate the population of taxpayers. I think it well may be time to propose a bill that cities cannot raise property taxes without State and voter approval. Enough is enough. More taxes--the Lawrence Commission's answer to not being able to budget or plan.

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