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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Fire District puts tax question to voters

  • Voters who live in Leavenworth County Fire District No. 1 will be asked in November if they would approve of the district raising its tax levy to more than 9 mills.
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    • Story at a glance ...

      • Leavenworth County Fire District No. 1 will be asking voters if they would approve of the district increasing its mill levy to more than 9 mills.


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      Story at a glance ...

      • Leavenworth County Fire District No. 1 will be asking voters if they would approve of the district increasing its mill levy to more than 9 mills.



      • The question will appear on the Nov. 4 ballot.



      • Mills are used in determining property taxes. A mill is $1 per $1,000 of a property's assessed value.



      • The district's 2015 budget sets the mill levy at 7.7 mills.

  • Voters who live in Leavenworth County Fire District No. 1 will be asked in November if they would approve of the district raising its tax levy to more than 9 mills.
    Mills are used in determining property taxes. A mill is $1 per $1,000 of a property's assessed value.
    Fire District No. 1 provides fire services to the city of Lansing and the Delaware and High Prairie townships. The mill levy for the current year is 6.29 mills. The district's 2015 budget has a mill levy of 7.7 mills.
    Dean Moburg, chairman of the district's governing board, said there is confusion regarding whether the board's taxing authority is capped at 9 mills.
    He said there is statutory language indicating voters should approve levying more than 9 mills. But, the board also has statements from the Kansas Attorney General's Office suggesting there is no cap on mill levies for fire districts.
    "It's confusing, but we decided, 'Let's hear what the taxpayers have to say,'" Moburg said.
    He said the district board is not proposing to increase its mill levy to more than 9 mills, but voters will be asked if they approve of such a measure if the need arises in the future.
    The question will appear on the Nov. 4 general election ballot in Fire District No. 1. The question will ask if the district's governing body shall be "authorized to annually levy an ad valorem tax of more than 9 mills."
    The language of the question appears in a resolution that was unanimously adopted by the board Aug. 4.
    "We may never go above 9 (mills)," Moburg said.
    He said the district board has been frugal with taxpayer money.
    Moburg said he's been on the board for about seven years, and during that time, the district's mill levy consistently has been at 6 or 7 mills.
    Fire District No. 1 is a mostly volunteer fire department but has seven paid employees.
    Moburg said going to a fully paid department would require an increase to 15 or 16 mills.
    "We do not want to go to that," he said.
    He said board members want to stick with volunteers, who are doing a good job.
    But, the question has been raised as to whether the board even could increase the mill levy to that level.
    He said the 2015 budget will allow the district to hire two new paid employees for the purpose of manning the department's Station No. 2 in High Prairie Township. The department's main station is in Lansing.
    If the idea of exceeding 9 mills is voted down, the board might have to come back to voters in the future if, for example, the district needs to build a new station, Moburg said.
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