On Thursday, Sept. 2, the Johnson County Board of Commissioners adopted the FY 2022 Operating and Capital Improvement Budget, totaling approximately $1.45 billion, with another authorized reduction in the county mill levy.
The budget was crafted with an estimated mill levy of 25.497 mills, a .30 reduction from the FY 2021 mill levy. With pending exemptions, once the latest assessed property valuation is determined in October, the anticipated final mill levy will represent an estimated .25 mill levy reduction.
“Due to the growth in property values, we are again in a position to return some resources back to taxpayers through mill levy reductions. This is the fourth reduction in five years without impacting the county’s exceptional programs and services to which Johnson County residents are accustomed,” said Chairman Ed Eilert. “With this budget, we will also maintain the reserve level that helps us achieve the best credit ratings available.”
Johnson County Manager Penny Postoak Ferguson agreed.
“The adopted budget maintains the county’s solid financial condition,” she said. “This budget adheres to the commission’s direction to maintain a sufficient General Fund reserve, puts resources towards the programs and services that align with the commission’s strategic priorities and incorporates feedback received in the annual community survey.”
The strategic priorities include completing existing projects, serving the county’s vulnerable and aging populations, developing a vision for a financially sustainable transit plan and focusing on innovative initiatives that enhance operational effectiveness and efficiency.
The FY 2022 mill levy is 18.514 mills for the county’s taxing levy, retaining Johnson County’s traditional position of having the lowest mill levy among all 105 Kansas counties. The budget has slight decreases to the mill levies for the Library Taxing District (3.896 mills) and Park and Recreation Taxing District (3.087 mills) to account for the pending exemptions. One mill equals $1 on every $1,000 of a homeowner’s assessed valuation.
The amount of county taxes (estimated October mill levy 25.547 mills) based on an average $362,000 residential property in 2022 will be about $1,064, or approximately $88.67 per month. That is an average monthly property tax increase of $3.17. The average residential property was estimated at $346,000 in 2021 with average county taxes of $1,026 or $85.50 per month.
The budget, with slightly more than $1 billion in expenditures and roughly $445.1 million in reserves, will fund more than 30 departments and five agencies that comprise Johnson County Government to support and protect a county population of 609,863 residents, according to the 2020 Census.
Highlights of the FY 2022 budget include:
The CIP also lists $3 million for a new Household Hazardous Waste Facility (which needs to relocate due to major improvements planned for the Nelson Wastewater Treatment Plant where it currently resides) and $3.8 million for a new Med-Act facility in Lenexa.
The budget includes an additional $250,000 for Aging Care Services for the Department of Aging and Human Services following $250,000 in the FY 2021 budget as well as an additional $1.53 million for micro-transit and approximately $400,000 to enhance county software, including a product that helped county staff build the COVID-19 dashboard.
By state law, Kansas counties must adopt and file their FY 2022 Budget with the County Clerk, which in Johnson County is the Department of Treasury, Taxation and Vehicles, by Oct. 1 if they exceed the revenue neutral rate.
The final setting of the FY 2022 mill levy will be established by the end of October with the latest property valuations by the Department of Treasury, Taxation and Vehicles. The mill levy calculations are only for Johnson County Government and do not include other taxing entities, such as the state of Kansas, cities or townships and school districts. County Government traditionally represents approximately 15% of annual property tax statements.
The county’s fiscal year begins Jan.1, 2022. Details about the FY 2022 Budget are available online at jocogov.org.