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Johnson County Government’s proposed 2019 budget would roll back mill levy for second consecutive year

Interim County Manager Penny Postoak Ferguson today submitted her proposed budget for 2019 with the recommendation to roll back the mill levy by a quarter mill for the second consecutive year. She presented the information to the county commission during a committee of the whole session.

“This proposed budget strives to balance our efforts to provide the important county services our residents rely upon and expect, be good stewards of tax revenue and provide a mill levy rollback,” said Postoak Ferguson.

With last year’s quarter mill reduction combined with the proposed 2019 quarter-mill reduction of the county mill levy, the cumulative impact is a reduction of more than a half mill. The proposed 2019 budget includes a .275 mill levy reduction to accommodate for valuation changes likely to occur before the tax roll is finalized in October.

Johnson County’s proposed 2019 budget is composed of $814.5 million in expenditures and $261.8 million in reserves. The reserves helps maintain the county’s AAA general obligation bond rating.

The total budget figure includes reserves, inter-fund transfers, and non-county taxing district funds, as well as the county taxing district working budget which totals $368 million to operate the programs and services available for Johnson County residents.

“This budget outlines the organization’s priority to serve the needs of residents of Johnson County as our community continues to grow and prosper,” Postoak Ferguson said.

The proposal reduces the county’s general taxing levy to 19.043 mills, with 3.921 mills for the library district and 3.112 mills for park and recreation.

“Johnson County has had the lowest county mill in Kansas for many years and will continue to do so with this budget,” said Postoak Ferguson.

The 2019 budget proposal includes a Capital Improvement Program (CIP) totaling more than $99 million. CIP highlights include:

  • $39.3 million for wastewater capital projects;
  • $15.8 million for the Stormwater Management Program;
  • $15.9 million for the County Assistance Road System (CARS) program;
  • $8.4 million for park and recreation capital projects.

The budget proposal funds a maximum 4,008.04 full-time-equivalent employees, including 15 new positions funded by county tax support and nine FTEs that are fee supported. The remaining new positions are 20.9 for the library and 13.6 FTEs for the parks and recreation. The budget also allocates funds for a 3 percent merit increase pool for employees who meet performance goals and for employee health care costs.

Budget timeline:

  • From May 4 to June 14, the Board of County Commissioners will conduct study sessions to review 2019 budget proposals with county agencies and departments.
  • The board is scheduled to set the FY 2019 maximum expenditure budget on June 14 for newspaper publication. Following legal publication, the county cannot, by law, increase the amount of budgeted expenditures, but can decrease the amount of the operating budget or taxing level with final board approval.
  • The public hearing for the 2019 proposed budget is scheduled for 7 p.m. July 30.

The board is scheduled to adopt the 2019 budget resolution during its business session on Aug. 9. According to state statute, the county’s new budget must be approved and filed with the county clerk by Aug. 24.