Leavenworth city commissioners are moving forward with a 2019 city operating budget with the same tax levy that was proposed by city staff.

Leavenworth city commissioners are moving forward with a 2019 city operating budget with the same tax levy that was proposed by city staff.

Commissioners did not take a vote when they wrapped up a budget work session Thursday. But they also did not make any major changes to the nearly $50 million budget. Commissioners will take a vote to approve the budget next month.

City Manager Paul Kramer has said the proposed budget maintains a flat mill levy for funding city operations. But the budget includes a 0.385 mill increase for an employee benefit fund for the Leavenworth Public Library.

The city levies taxes for this fund on behalf of the library, and library officials have requested the increase, according to Kramer.

The mill levy is used in determining property taxes.

The proposed mill increase for the library employee benefit fund would increase property taxes for the owner of a $150,000 home by about $6.60 for the year, according to Kramer.

City commissioners conducted two budget work sessions this week. During the first work session Wednesday, Kramer suggested that increasing funding for annual street maintenance probably would require an additional increase to the mill levy.

Commissioner Mike Griswold said Thursday that he recognizes “this is not the year for a mill increase.” But Griswold said he may want to look at increasing funding for street maintenance in another year.

Kramer said commissioners will have a public hearing on the proposed 2019 operating budget Aug. 14.

Commissioners will be able to approve the budget at the conclusion of the public hearing.

Kramer said the 2019 proposed budget includes a rate increase for city trash service of about $1.20 per month. He said fees charged for city sewer service will increase by 5 percent.

Kramer also noted that new fees for repairs to the city’s stormwater system will be implemented for 2019.

Owners of single residential properties will be charged an annual fee of $84 as part of the new stormwater management program. Fees for commercial properties will range from $162 to $3,125 per year depending on the size of buildings. Fees for industrial properties will range from $337 to $3,125 depending on the size of buildings.

During Thursday’s work session, commissioners agreed to increase the amount the city pays to the Leavenworth Lions Club for distributing rolls of garbage bags twice a year to residents who use the city’s refuse service.

The city has been paying the Lions Club at a rate of 45 cents per each package delivered. Members of the Lions Club requested this rate be increased by 10 cents for each delivery.

Kramer said this would increase the amount of money paid to the Lions Club by about $2,000 per year.

He suggested the city could pay for the increase by charging more to people who purchase rolls of garbage bags from the city that are in addition to the ones delivered to their homes.

The city currently charges $6 for each additional roll that is purchased.

Under Kramer’s proposal, that price would increase to $7 per roll in 2019.

Commissioners agreed with this proposal.

Mayor Mark Preisinger said Thursday that he is not proposing a pay increase for commissioners for 2019. But he said he may offer a proposal for increasing the pay for the following year.

At the end of 2017, commissioners approved an increase to their salaries. Each salary was increased by $100 per month. A $50 per month technology allowance also was approved for each commissioner.

According to Commissioner Larry Dedeke, this was the first time the pay for commissioners had been increased in 13 years.

Preisinger suggested that future pay increases for commissioners could be tied to raises given to city employees “so it’s no longer a political football.”

“I’m not proposing that, but next year maybe I will,” he said.

Dedeke suggested including a sunset for such a proposal. He said a commissioner could have a substantial increase in pay after 20 years.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR