The City of McPherson was able to hold down the mill levy again this year by efficiently reducing expenditures wherever it could. A public hearing on the proposed budget is scheduled for 9 a.m. Monday August 4, 2014 at the Municipal Center. Anyone who is interested may speak at that time. By law, once the budget has been published in legal form – which will be done this week – the budget cannot be increased. However, after taking input at the public hearing, the commission could choose to decrease the budget.
The 2014 budget authority was $36,450,363 with a mill levy of 51.022. During the 2015 budget process, the city commissioners revised the 2014 expenditures to a level of $24,509,506. They are looking at a 2015 budget authority of $36,962,468. The city commissioners will work to restrict the 2015 expenditures to a level similar to 2014. The 2015 budget will be funded by a mill levy of 51.322 which is slightly higher than the 51.202 average of the last six years. This mill levy still allows for increased costs of fuel, paving, KPERS, KP&F and other expenditures.
Holding the mill levy was hard to achieve because of declining revenue while experiencing only a very slight increase in the total assessed valuation of property. Expected assessed valuation for 2015 is $108,319,244, up from the $106,040,085 assessed valuation in 2014. New improvements within the city limits of $706,909 helped to result in an increase of 2.15% of the expected 2015 assessed valuation over the prior year.
Work on the proposed 2015 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. Since some of the traditional sources of income have been reduced or eliminated because of the State of Kansas financial condition, developing a budget was a challenging time again this year. “With only a very modest increase in assessed valuation, combined with various street improvements, rising fuel, rising retirement costs, as well as other costs, the commissioners and department heads have worked very hard to maintain stability in the mill levy again this year.” Gregory also pointed out that “Everyone is striving to operate as efficiently as possible with the available resources.”
The City is looking forward to the completion of First/Hartup/Hill reconstruction project in the next few months as well as the construction of Oxford Pointe/Certainteed drainage improvement and additional housing development later this year and into 2015. This year’s budget reflects some delays in equipment purchases where possible, and the elimination of most overtime as well as some seasonal positions. If an employee leaves the city, non-essential positions will not be filled right away, if at all.
In summary, the City has held a tight rein on the mill levy again this year, as this year’s budgeted mill levy is up only 0.300 of a mill (or 0.588%) over the prior year and up only 0.120 of a mill (or 0.235%) over the average of the last six years.
Specific budget information is available at the office of the city clerk and also will be available at the budget hearing.