The annual city budget process is an opportunity to match a financial plan to the governing body’s goals and community’s needs.
Spring Hill’s 2017 budget, approved 4-0 by the council at its Aug. 25 meeting, achieves this balance without raising the tax rate through the city’s mill levy.
While many Kansas city and county agencies have increased their mill levies for 2017 to combat the impending property tax lid, Spring Hill’s council has elected to keep a level mill levy for the coming year.
“Over the course of the Legislature’s passage of the property tax lid, we’ve seen communities around us raise their mill levy for the sole purpose of trying to counter the property tax lid,” Steven Ellis, mayor, said during the Aug. 25 Council meeting. “We felt like that was contrary to the spirit of the law. We didn’t feel like that was a good business model for the City of Spring Hill.”
Spring Hill City property taxes account for about 18 percent of the total tax bill for Johnson County and 25 percent of the total tax bill for Miami County. Staff took care to see that these tax levels be maintained without sacrificing the level of service and types of services expected by residents.
The 2017 budget accomplishes level budget appropriations for agency requests such as the chamber of commerce, Spring Hill Cemetery board, utility assistance fund, United Community Services and Johnson County Fire District #2 for contracted fire services.
The budget also provides for level support of current services provided by Spring Hill. It supports only minimally increased dollars toward capital and community improvement projects, public safety and equipment to provide city services.
Spring Hill has a proven history of making the most out of tight budgets, Ellis said after the budget’s approval. Over the last 11 years, he added, Spring Hill has maintained a nearly level mill levy without laying off employees while weathering an economic recession.
“During that period of time, we did not run back to the taxpayers and ask for increases to meet our basic needs,” Ellis said. “We tightened the belt, and we found new and innovative ways of doing things to drive the cost out of our model.”
Over the next year, the council and administration will be faced with the challenges of funding community improvement projects such as the Civic Center enhancements, repairs to the Spring Hill dam, road and bridge improvements, road intersection safety, parks features and trail additions. This feat will be addressed by continued focus on efficiencies, maximizing revenue, focusing on development, leveraging grant dollars and establishing fund balance targets.
Details on the 2017 budget can be found on the city’s website at springhillks.gov. Further questions can be directed to the finance director at (913) 592-3664.