A city budget surplus will contribute to McPherson residents paying less property taxes in 2008.
Because the city has more money than expected, the amount of property tax needed will be reduced from this year’s total.
In the 2008 proposed budget, the city is projecting spending $26.4 million, a million dollars more than this year’s budget. The proposed budget includes hiring two new police officers. A 48.8 mill levy in 2008 is needed to cover expenses.
In comparison, the 2007 mill levy was 50.168.
An owner of a $100,000 house,would pay $561 in city property taxes, which is $15.73 less than this year’s total. Last year the same homeowner paid $26.16 more in city property taxes.
A McPherson City Commission public hearing on the proposed budget is scheduled for 9 a.m. Aug. 13 at the Municipal Center.
By law, once the budget has been published in legal form — which was done last week — the budget cannot be increased, but it could be decreased after the commissioners take public input into account.
Expected assessed valuation for 2008 is $101.7 million, up nearly three quarters of a million from the $101 million assessed valuation in 2007, with a $2 million increase for the new improvements in the city.
Work on the proposed 2008 budget began in April, according to City Clerk and Administrator Gary Meagher. Department heads were responsible for projecting 2008 revenues and expenses.
In May, commissioners then prioritized the requests and developed the budget.
Since a traditional source of income — demand transfers from the state — was eliminated in 2003 and most likely will not be restored until 2009, developing a budget was a challenging time again this year.
“Commissioners and department heads had a difficult job again this year,” Meagher said. “Everyone this year, as in the past few years, will be tightening their belts and trying to keep services as they are by operating efficiently.”
The city will have two major projects anticipated to be completed in 2008 — the Library Building Improvement and the Wastewater Treatment Plant, which will begin later this year.
The library project will be funded by the 1/2-cent sales tax after the Water Park bonds are paid off later this year. Funding for the Wastewater Plant improvement will be paid through the sewer rate increase. Increases in the future may be required to meet the debt requirements.
The 2008 budget reflects an increase in the funding for the addition of four positions with the City of McPherson, two police officers, a fire department training officer and the restructuring of the cemetery department generating a full-time employee. Upcoming projects include continued work on Kansas Ave. from 1/2 block west of Cherry to Maple and paving of Maxwell Street south of Ave. A.
Preliminary design for portions of Northview Road and First Street has been added to the 2008 budget.
by LISA LUCERO, McPherson Sentinel DAILY