County manager Hannes Zacharias has proposed a budget for next year with the potential to roll back the mill levy by a quarter mill.
“Current revenue projections support a strong county budget,” Zacharias said. “Our proposal meets the needs of a growing community and adequately compensates staff. The budget adheres to the board’s direction to maintain a constant mill levy and creates a potential opportunity to return resources back to the taxpayers of Johnson County.”
Johnson County’s proposed FY 2018 budget totals $1.06 billion, composed of $820.1 million in expenditures and $243 million in reserves. The proposed budget maintains existing services and general fund reserves, supports health care increases and meets growing service demands.
The county manager noted in his budget message that if the local economy and revenue projections hold steady, and the state budget is finalized without significant negative impact to the county, the FY 2018 budget would provide sufficient funding to allow county leadership to roll the mill levy back by a quarter mill and therefore reduce property taxes.
The proposal holds the county’s current taxing levy steady at 19.59 mills — still the lowest mill levy in Kansas, with 3.915 mills for the library district and 3.102 mills for the park and recreation district.
The 2018 budget proposal includes a Capital Improvement Program (CIP) totaling more than $159 million. CIP highlights include:
- $77.4 million for Wastewater’s capital projects;
- $15 million for the Stormwater Management Program;
- $14.9 million for the County Assistance Road System (CARS) program;
- $14.8 million for Park and Recreation District’s capital projects.
The budget proposal funds a maximum 3,950.72 of full-time-equivalent employees, including an increase of 63.73 FTEs from the FY 2017 budget (eight of which would be funded by county taxes). The budget also allocates funds for a 3 percent merit increase pool for employees who meet performance goals.
“While Johnson County’s economy is strong and growing, both caution and optimism are in order,” Zacharias said. “The nation’s economy is currently enjoying the fourth-longest period of economic recovery in U.S. history, and a slow-down is likely imminent. The extent to which an economic downturn may affect Johnson County is difficult to predict. We stand ready, however, to continue to provide the necessary services our residents expect and deserve.”
- From May 4 to May 23, the Board of County Commissioners will conduct study sessions to review FY 2018 budget proposals with county agencies and departments.
- The board is scheduled to set the FY 2018 maximum expenditure budget on June 15 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 FY 2018 proposed budget is scheduled for 7 p.m. July 31.
- The board is scheduled to adopt the 2018 budget resolution during its business session on Aug. 10. According to state statute, the county’s new budget must be approved and filed with the county clerk by Aug. 25.