The Gardner council approved their 2017 legislative agenda, only slightly modified, at the Jan. 3 meeting.
Although council members tinkered with wording, and removed one item in the agenda, one item that was approved as recommended by staff had to do with the “property tax lid.”
The property tax lid ties tax increases to the rate of inflation. Originally passed in 2015, the (cap) requirement was set to take effect in 2018, but last year Governor Sam Brownback signed legislation that moved the cap to January, 2017.
Since the 1990’s, county appraisers have been charged with valuing personal property at fair market value. If property values increase, government entities receive more revenue, unless mill levies are rolled back. Property owners do have the right to protest appraisals individually.
According to staff’s legislative agenda recommendation: “modify the property tax lid so that a public vote is based on a protest petition petition.”
Generally speaking, a protest petition means a tax increase would be approved unless a citizen protest petition is signed, validated and approved for a public vote. A protest petition on property tax increases could be construed as similar to school district’s limited option budget (LOB).
Last year’s legislative statement was a bit more convoluted, saying: “Property Tax Lid – Gardner supports the current exemptions to the property tax lid. Removal of the exemptions could prevent the city from investing in critical infrastructure and increase the cost of debt. Gardner encourages the Legislature to amend the law to address conflicts regarding the mandatory election calendar and budget timelines.“
At the Jan. 3 meeting, Matt Wolff management analyst, presented the staff’s position to council. Cities and counties review the state’s agenda then outline their own agenda platforms to assert common positions. Johnson County added six items to the state’s agenda. Gardner city staff advised acceptance of all the items in county agenda, and added three items.
Council removed the support of Medicaid expansion thru KanCare which was section 9, and removed the word “fledgling” from item 10 having to do with the state’s economy.
Also on the legislative agenda were transportation issues including:
-Capacity improvements are needed at the intersection of US-56 (175th/Main St.) and Cedar Niles to service expanding business at New Century Air Center, and Midwest Commerce Center, as well as areas south and west of the intersection.
-Capacity improvements are needed at I-35 and Gardner Road (Exit 207) interchange to address a functionally obsolete narrow two-lane overpass.
-Capacity improvements are needed on I-35 south of the new Lone Elm interchange to at least the Johnson County line. This includes adding a third lane.
The legislative agenda also includes home rule and local control, cell tower placement and zoning issues, K-12 education funding, water supply restoration, control of local right of way, real property appraisal classification (agriculture), and KPER’s funding.
The city’s complete legislative agenda is online at: http://www.gardnerkansas.gov/homeshowdocument?id=3524