An error by Johnson County forced the Edgerton City Council to call a special Council meeting on Oct. 30. Council members voted to amend the city’s 2021 budget, reducing revenue generated from property taxes by more than $86,000.
CBeth Linn, city administrator, said the county is statutorily required to provide the county clerk budget information sheet including valuation information as of June 1 to each city. This year, Johnson County Records and Tax Administration neglected to include a pending exemption for one of the properties at Logistics Park Kansas City. The county gave the city an incorrect property valuation number that the city uses to set the annual budget.
“Our city council set the budget based on a goal of reducing the mill levy by one half mill in 2021. When we found out the county was planning to increase the mill levy as a result of the final assessed valuation, we knew we had to reduce our revenues from property taxes,” said Linn. “The valuation numbers from the county changed between August 14, after we passed our budget, and the end of October.”
Donald Roberts, mayor, said the only reason they found out about the change in final assessed valuation and corresponding mill increase was thanks to Johnson County Fire District #1.
“The Fire District was trying to figure out why their valuations had decreased unexpectedly. We immediately went to the county to figure out the problem. The county made an error that could have cost taxpayers in Edgerton,” Roberts said. “None of the taxing entities—the city, the fire district, USD 231, etc. — knows the final assessed valuation until we’re provided the numbers by the county. Those valuations must be accurate so that we can set our individual budgets.”
Roberts saud he’s just thankful that the city found out before the tax levy rates were certified by Johnson County on Nov, 1.
“No one on the Edgerton City Council wants to increase taxes,” he said. “The council was able to delay some expenditures and keep that mill levy going down.”
The c now plans to wait to hire some key staff members. “We have three vacant positions currently that will not be filled for several more months,” says Linn. “While it’s impactful, I’m thankful that our staff is willing to wear multiple hats for the short-term.”
The positions impacted include the building inspector, parks and recreation coordinator, and assistant city administrator.