The McPherson City Commission approved the 2019 Budget at a hearing on Monday and has now sent this budget off to the state for final clearance. Work on the proposed 2019 budget began in April, according to City Administrator Nick Gregory. Department heads were responsible for projecting the next year’s revenues and expenses. In May, June and July, the commissioners prioritized the requests and developed the budget. The 2019 Budget had a mill levy of 51.618 and a budget authority of $61,533,007.
Mayor Thomas Brown talked about the budget and how, overall, it has worked out well in 2019.
“Of the small value increase, personal property valuation dropped 8.4 percent,” Brown said. “New improvements in the city were up and that gave us that very small increase we had. The individual people should have, overall, seen a decrease.”
Here’s the city’s official statement on the 2019 budget:
For the 2019 proposed budget, the City of McPherson was able to hold the mill levy very close to the 2018 adjusted mill levy by examining and holding down expenditures wherever it could. By law, once the budget has been published in legal form, the budget cannot be increased. However, after taking input at the public hearing, the commission could choose to decrease the budget.
The 2018 budget authority was $61,533,007 with a mill levy of 51.618. This budget authority includes expenditures for all funds that derive their source from various user fees, ad valorem taxes, sales taxes, reserves, and other revenue sources. During the 2019 budget process, the city commissioners revised the 2018 expenditures to actual spending level of $33,208,746. They are looking at a 2019 budget authority of $62,329,842. The actual budgeted dollars levied with ad valorem taxes went from $6,430,264 in 2018 to $6,464,712 in 2019 which translates to a small increase of the $34,448. The 2019 budget will be funded by an estimated mill levy of 51.843 which is slight increase over from the adjusted mill levy for 2018 (51.668) which is just over the 51.392 average of the last ten years. This mill levy still allows for anticipated increased costs of a fully staffed police department, three (3) new fire department positions (partially grant funded for three years), an increased levy of Industrial Funds for MIDC, KPERS and KP&F retirement, anticipated increased operating costs and furnishing for the newly renovated community building, health care insurance costs as well as other various expenditures. All general fund departments with the exception of law enforcement and fire departments as well as all other levied funds were in compliance with the Kansas Tax Lid requirement for limiting growth to a 1.4% of the preceding five-year average change in the consumer price index as published by the US Department of Labor (K.S.A. 79-2925c).
Estimated assessed valuation for 2019 is $124,696,729, up from the $124,572,983 estimated assessed valuation in 2018. While personal property valuation dropped 8.41% from $4,341,691 from the expected amount in 2018 to an expected amount of $3,976,959 in 2019, new improvements within the city limits of $1,056,600 helped to result in an increase of .09% of the expected 2019 assessed valuation over the prior year.
Work on the proposed 2019 budget began in April, according to City Administrator Nick Gregory. Department heads were responsible for projecting the next year’s revenues and expenses. In May, June and July, the commissioners prioritized the requests and developed the budget. “The 2019 Budget preparation as in the past years was an exercise in prioritizing the most essential needs within the city organization as well as insuring compliance with the state mandated tax lid. Department heads brought focused lists of needs, and the City Commission went through a painstaking process to consider and review all requests. In an effort to maintain a moderately flat mill levy, only the most critical needs were funded for 2019 Budget.” Gregory also pointed out that “Everyone is striving to operate as efficiently as possible.”
“Though our proposed 2019 assessed valuation increase was less than we anticipated,” Gregory further believes that “both our departments and our local elected officials have come together to present a budget that limits ad valorem increases for our citizens. Through the governing body efforts towards managing the budget the proposed levy for 2019 is $53,887 below computed tax levy limit. There will be even more difficult decisions and intense prioritization to be made by the City Commission in future years that may result in delayed equipment replacements and reduced overall services. All departments continue to evaluate during 2018 and 2019 services, functions and other expenses that can be adjusted, if required, to make any cuts when preparing the 2020 budget”.
In summary, the City has held a tight rein on the mill levy gain this year, as this year’s budgeted mill levy is only slightly higher (.175 mills) more than the 2018 adjusted mill levy (51.668).