The Leavenworth City Commission has approved the city's operating budget for 2018.

The Leavenworth City Commission has approved the city's operating budget for 2018.

The vote came during Tuesday's commission meeting.

The $49.2 million budget was unanimously approved by the four commissioners who were present. A fifth commissioner, Lisa Weakley, was absent.

City Manager Paul Kramer said the budget will leave the city's mill levy unchanged from its current level, which is 31.343 mills.

The mill levy is used in determining property taxes.

Kramer said the budget will provide additional funding for the Leavenworth Police Department for addressing drug, cyber and traffic crimes. He said the department also will receive help for recruiting and retaining officers.

"I don't have any concerns with it," Mayor Nancy Bauder said of the budget.

The vote to approve the budget came after a public hearing. No one from the public addressed the commission during the hearing. But Jessica Forbes, executive director of the Alliance Against Family Violence, addressed commissioners earlier in the meeting.

She made a funding request of $15,000 to assist the organization after it lost a grant that has been used in the past to pay for utilities for a shelter. She said the Alliance also recently lost another source of revenue.

The two sources of revenue would have totaled $35,000 for the organization.

The Alliance Against Family Violence provides services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. The organization serves all of Leavenworth County.

Forbes, who recently took over as the executive director, said she is still reworking the budget for the Alliance.

Mayor Pro-Tem Mark Preisinger said the Alliance Against Family Violence is an outstanding organization. But he said there are other worthy organizations in Leavenworth.

With the request coming at a late date, Preisinger said it was a tough decision for commissioners. He also said that without budget information for the Alliance, "we don't know where you stand financially."

Bauder said the Alliance already receives $8,862 in Community Development Block Grant funding from the city.

When later discussing the budget, Bauder said she was in favor of taking no action regarding Forbes' request.

Commissioners Larry Dedeke and Charles Raney said they agreed.

Raney said he was concerned because of the limited information provided about the Alliance's budget and reserves.

Leavenworth's 2018 operating budget includes $6,000 that is being set aside to increase the compensation the city provides to the commissioners.

In 2018, each commissioner will receive an additional $100 per month in compensation.

Currently, the mayor is paid $500 per month and the other commissioners each receive $400 per month.

The increased compensation was not discussed during Tuesday's meeting. But a majority of commissioners reached a consensus last month to include the pay increase in the 2018 budget.

Kramer said commissioners also will have to pass an ordinance to raise their compensation.

Also Tuesday, Preisinger suggested using increased transient guest tax revenue to "beef up" the city's Christmas decorations this year.

The transient guest tax is charged to people who stay at hotels and motels in the city. The money generated from this tax has to be used for tourism related programs.

"I think that can be considered tourism related," Preisinger said of Christmas decorations.

He said the city is on track to take in more transient guest tax revenue than was budgeted for this year.

Preisinger suggested spending $25,000 to improve the city's Christmas decorations.

Bauder said this figure could be set as the maximum amount that can be spent on the project.

The mayor said she also would like to look at the city taking on the responsibility of organizing a downtown festival.

"I would really like to see us look at that for the future," she said.

Kramer said after the meeting that the community festival idea will be brought back to the commission during a future study session.

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