The city’s work to create a budget for 2011 ended Tuesday just like it began: without even a hint of increasing the city’s property tax rate.
City commissioners approved a $167.1 million budget that will hold the city’s property tax mill levy steady at 26.6 mills. Commissioners also rejected proposed increases in monthly sewer and water rates.
“When this economic downturn is done, Lawrence is going to be the leader in the state because we have our ducks in a row and we have our spending in order,” Mayor Mike Amyx said.
Among the major decisions included in the budget are:
• 11 city positions will be eliminated from the city’s payroll, but all will come through attrition rather than layoffs. The cuts include five solid waste positions, two parks and recreation positions, two in public works and one in information technology.
• Major capital improvement projects funded for 2011 include: rebuilding Iowa Street from Yale to Bob Billings Parkway; repaving and widening parts of Sixth Street from Massachusetts to Iowa and Monterey to Folks; rebuilding Kasold from Clinton Parkway to 31st Street; and about $3 million worth of unspecified infrastructure improvements related to the city purchasing the former Farmland Industries property and converting it into a business park. The budget also includes about $970,000 to buy a new quint fire engine.
• The budget for the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce will increase by $34,000 to increase its marketing efforts. The city intends for the money to be used to better market the Farmland Industries business park and new bioscience incubators in west Lawrence.
• Funding for other outside agencies that receive city funding was held basically steady at 2010 levels.
• Rates for trash service will go up 70 cents per month for standard residential customers. The increase will help cover higher tipping fees that the city will be charged by the area’s landfill operator.