The Leavenworth County Commission got a bit of good news Thursday as they prepare to enter the budget setting sessions for fiscal year 2014.
County Clerk Janet Klasinski said she recently received word of the county's valuation figures for the year, which were better than expected.
“We did have some good news in Leavenworth County,” she said. “Our valuation actually went up $4 million.”
How much the county earns per mill, the unit of property taxation, is directly affected by its valuation, meaning the county can raise more tax revenues per mill if valuation increases. The communities in the county will use the most recent numbers as they prepare their 2014 fiscal year budgets.
County Administrator Pat Hurley said he was almost ready to begin public budget hearings for the the county with different departments, using a similar approach to last year.
“It's been my hope all along that as we did last year, we're able to say you can do 2014 base without having to consider a mill levy increase,” he said. “And any request over the base would be treated as enhancements.”
The majority of the valuation increase was due to state assessed property ― things like utility company property and railroads ― which increased by about $3 million, Klasinski said.
Real estate values increased overall somewhere between $500,000 and $600,000, Klasinski said, with places like the cities of Tonganoxie and Leavenworth recording slight decreases in their overall real estate valuation.
“Some of the area that I noticed, other than state-assessed, is the way farm ground is assessed,” which also contributed to the increase, Klasinski said.
And aside from the budget implications, she said the increase indicates something about the overall economic health of the county.
“I think we're very lucky, it shows, I believe that Leavenworth County is still on the movement for growth,” she said. “Last year, our valuation was very stable. One year it went down by $3 million. So we're moving in the right direction.”