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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Lansing City Council finalizes 2015 budget

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  • Lansing City Council members officially adopted the 2015 budget Thursday by a 6-1 vote.
    The budget holds the line on taxes, keeping the mill levy at last year's level of a little more than 40 mills.
    Council member Andi Pawlowski voted no.
    During the public hearing before the vote, two Lansing residents had advice for the council that centered on admonitions to exercise fiscal responsibility.
    Former council member Janette Holderman thanked the council for working toward no mill levy increase. However, she was concerned four items were not mentioned: the K-5 study, improving the city parks, DeSoto Road and document digitization.
    She recommended the City Council form an Employee Compensation Committee that would meet with the consultants the city previously hired to do a salary study. Holderman expressed concern there have been constant mill levy increases to cover "potentially unnecessary programs."
    Another resident, Rob Gaslin, expressed concern about the salary increases for some city employees included in the 2015  budget. He said the fact that there's been little turnover seems to indicate the present salaries are in line. Offering the best services at the lowest cost is the goal Gaslin expressed.
    He, too, expressed concern that he didn't think the city followed all of the consultant CBIZ's recommendations from the four-year-old study.
    Council member Pawlowski's no vote stemmed from her concern that the city raised the mill levy last year for the  sewer line for the high school, though the temporary notes were issued at Thursday's meeting and no payment is due until the following year.
    Finance director Beth Sanford said the money builds up the city's reserves, which were low. They had made their move last year based on the school district's planned schedule.
    Pawlowski argued it would have been better to lower the mill levy in 2015 and then raise it the following year to make payments on the temporary notes.
    Council member Tony McNeill said they had to go with the planning of the high school since voters approved the bond for it. He didn't like the idea of lowering then raising the mill levy, because he didn't like changing his mortgage that often.
    "We're getting there," he said. "I think there were some good decisions made in this budget."
    Council member David Trinkle said if the money is there in two years, the council won't have to raise the mill levy to pay for the sewer line to the new high school.
    Since there was no more discussion, council members made the 6-1 vote.

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