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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • City budget approved

  • When they met Tuesday, Leavenworth city commissioners approved the city's 2014 budget.
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    • In other business
      When they met Tuesday, Leavenworth city commissioners took the following action:

      They voted to appoint Mayor Pro-Tem Mark Preisinger to the Board of Directors of the Lewis an...
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      In other business
      When they met Tuesday, Leavenworth city commissioners took the following action:
      They voted to appoint Mayor Pro-Tem Mark Preisinger to the Board of Directors of the Lewis and Clark Research Institute. Preisinger was appointed to replace Commissioner Davis Moulden who resigned as the city's representative on the board. The action was taken after commissioners met behind closed doors in executive session to discuss potential litigation.
      They approved a resolution calling for the demolition of a fire-damaged house at 703 S. Broadway as an unsafe structure and a 60-day extension for a fire-damaged home at 607 N. 12th St.
      They approved the appointment of Greg Kaaz and Teresa Commerford to the Leavenworth County Port Authority's board.
      They approved a contract with Affinis Corporation for inspection services as needed for an amount not to exceed $24,840.
      They approved a bid from Central Salt for 650 tons of crushed deicing rock salt in the amount of $36,712.
      They approved ordinances for rezoning 405 Choctaw St., demolition assessments and nuisance assessments.
  • When they met Tuesday, Leavenworth city commissioners approved the city's 2014 budget.
    The $25 million budget, which was passed unanimously, will maintain a flat mill rate. City officials initially had proposed a 1.73 mill levy increase, which would have resulted in a property tax increase.
    "I think it's safe to say that was not a particularly well received budget," Finance Director Dan Williamson said Tuesday.
    He reviewed some of the cuts that were made in order to avoid the mill levy increase. The cuts included the elimination of a downtown parking enforcement program, not filling a vacant animal control officer position and not making contributions to the Leavenworth Main Street Program and the Leavenworth County Development Corporation.
    The elimination of a firefighter position is one of the other cuts. The elimination of the position will be achieved through the retirement of a member of the Leavenworth Fire Department.
    During a July 23 meeting, supporters of Main Street and LCDC expressed concerns to commissioners regarding the cuts to city funding for the two organizations. The acting fire chief also discussed some of the difficulties that could result from the elimination of a firefighter position. But a majority of commissioners reached a consensus for publishing the budget with the cuts.
    Williamson said Tuesday that 2014 will be the 11th consecutive year the city's mill levy has either been reduced or left flat.
    Williamson's comments came during a public hearing that was held before commissioners voted to approve the budget.
    No one from the audience asked to address the commissioners during the public hearing.
    After the public hearing had been closed, Commissioner Larry Dedeke said he wished to make a comment. He said city officials had tightened their belts. But the Leavenworth Board of Education may nullify the city's effort to avoid the mill levy increase.
    That's because officials for the public school district have proposed a 3-mill increase. The Leavenworth Board of Education won't vote on the district's budget until Aug. 21.
    Dedeke said school officials have to realize Leavenworth is not a bottomless pit.
    Commissioner Davis Moulden said he agreed with Dedeke's remarks.
    Commissioner Lisa Weakley said the 2014 budget is the most difficult one the commissioners have ever worked on.
    Weakley said she's looking forward to moving ahead with an idea of putting a proposed sales tax increase before voters for the purpose of reducing property taxes in the city.
    "So far, it's been very well received," she said.
    Mayor Pro-Tem Mark Preisinger said next year's budget may be tougher unless some things are done such as the proposal for a sales tax increase as well as measures to increase the city's property tax base.
    Page 2 of 2 - "We're putting everything on the backs of the property owners," he said.
    Mayor Laura Janas Gasbarre said she wishes people would go to the Leavenworth Board of Education meetings and let board members know how they feel.
    Dedeke suggested people will think the city is responsible for raising their property taxes.
    Preisinger said city commissioners have no decision making authority regarding the school district's budget.
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