Rick Poppitz
Special to The Gardner News
Gardner city council heard a 2017 budget presentation which included a mil levy roll back, valuation increase, additional staff, promoting economic development and increasing infrastructure and property management.
According to the city’s proposed notice of budget hearing, the city’s net expenditures will increase from about $48,735,000 to $62,296,000, and the city’s mil levy will decrease from 29.455 to 20.544.
The complete budget is available on the city’s website, and the budget will again be discussed July 18.
A copy of the Gardner 2017 budget is available on the city’s web site.

A copy of the Gardner 2017 budget is available on the city’s web site.

2017 budget presentation
Laura Gourley, finance director, gave a presentation on the 2017 budget July 5.
As a result of Gardner becoming part of Fire District #1, the city will no longer pay $1.4 million for contracted fire protection services. The presentation noted a decrease in the mill levy equivalent to the $1.4 million payment; however, the city will still see an overall revenue increase due to increased valuation.
City valuation increased 8.2 percent compared to last year’s increase of 7.4 percent, according to the council discussion form. In addition, a substantial special assessment was paid in 2016.
“The city’s 2017 mill levy will decrease from 29.455 to 20.544. Johnson County Fire 1 is responsible for 2017 and future tax levy for fire services,” Gurley said.
Because Fire District #1 will now tax for fire protection, despite the city’s roll back equal to the contract payment, residents may still see an increase in overall property tax bills.
Gurley’s presentation also mentioned no increases in 2017 for city services.
“The projected end of the year 2017 fund balances are good and offer utility funds, and for the second year in a row, no rate increases are recommended,” Gurley said.
The presentation included the addition of several new city staff positions and estimates for vehicle replacement expenses.
Kristy Harrison, council member, asked that council be provided more detail on the new staff positions.
Harrison also suggested there was a need to develop some kind of vehicle fleet management plan. Steve Shute, council president, and Chris Morrow, mayor, made comments in agreement.
A public hearing on the 2017 budget will be held at the July 18 city council meeting. Budget documents to be discussed and will be available for public review on the city’s website.
Other Business
Council authorized a contract with Superior Bowen Asphalt Company LLC for the 2016 Pavement Management Program for granite seal and overlay street treatment.
Council accepted sanitary sewer and electric line easements for the Gardner Edgerton High School expansion.
Council adopted a resolution authorizing the city to construct improvements to certain main traffic ways and authorizing the issuance of general obligation bonds of the city to pay costs.