There is no significant commercial development revenue included in Gardner’s biennial forecast period, as the associated revenue will lag until anticipated development becomes reality or projects currently under construction are complete, according to the budget report reviewed by the city council at their June 17 meeting.
The city’s taxable assessed valuation increased 8.9 percent, and Gardner’s 2020 estimated mill levy is 20.720; the same mill levy as FY 2019. Monies collected will increase due to the increased valuation.
There is a planned water rate increase of 3.7 percent in 2020. The electric rate changes will be budget neutral in 2020, and there are no planned wastewater rate changes for 2020. The council may alter rates at any time by approval of an ordinance.
The FY 2020 budget includes a citywide 3 percent merit compensation.
Other key financial highlights included in the budget document include:
Update Promote Economic Development
• Expand water treatment capacity 2 MGD – The water treatment plant expansion was moved up from 2021 to 2019. The new estimated cost for the project is $21,500,000. The design is already in progress. Construction is anticipated to start this year and the City will issue general obligation Bonds next year to finance the project.
* Update the Transportation Master Plan, including the I-35 & 175th Street southeast planning area – The Transportation Master Plan update started in 2018 and is expected to be complete by the end of 2019.
• Innovation – “wired city” and “entrepreneurial ecosystem” – Staff is developing an RFP and plans to solicit proposals from qualified firms in 2019.
• Tuscan Farm Residential Development – Phase 1 of Tuscan Farm is anticipated to begin in 2019. Approximately $3.5 million in new public infrastructure is needed to support the project and it will be financed through two new special benefit districts.
• Main Street Market Place – The city established a new Tax Increment Financing District and Community Improvement District to support the new commercial development. The city anticipates issuing CID special obligation bonds in 2020. Improve Quality of Life
• New Justice Center – The project is on schedule and the facility is expected to open this summer. Increase Infrastructure & Asset Management
• Transportation network improvements –
• Improvements to Santa Fe from Waverly to Poplar were delayed from 2018 to 2019 due to design constraints including drainage and traffic control. Final Plans and easement acquisition are nearly complete for the project. The construction is anticipated to begin in the fall of 2019. The estimated cost is $4.2M.
• The Gardner Lake Downstream Channel Improvements (spillway) was evaluated in 2018. The design work and construction award moved from 2018 to 2019. The anticipated costs for the spillway improvements are approximately $766,000.
• The design is in progress for Gardner Rd. and I-35 Interchange. The first phase of construction improvements are anticipated to start in 2020. The total project cost increased due to changes in the scope of improvements from approximately $4M to $6M, but the increase will be offset by an additional $2M in economic development funding from KDOT.
• Design work is in process for Waverly from 175th to Madison with construction of the improvements moved from 2019 to 2020
• Police vehicle replacements – Replaced four police vehicles in 2019 and four more are scheduled for replacement in 2020.
• Citywide merit compensation – The 2020 budget includes a 3 percent merit pool. Improve Fiscal Stewardship
• Inflow & Infiltration Reduction Program – The analysis started in 2018 and will continue into 2019.
• Smart Meters – The project moved up from 2020 to 2019. The installation process will begin in 2019, but will not be complete until 2020.