Leavenworth County commissioners have approved a $57.35 million budget for the county government in 2021.

Commissioners approved the budget Wednesday following a public hearing. There was no one from the public who wished to speak during the hearing.

The 2021 budget will reduce the county’s overall mill levy by 0.25 mills.

The mill levy is used in determining property taxes.

Commissioner Jeff Culbertson said a 0.25-mill decrease is "reflective of all the little things that we’ve done this last year." He said this includes cutting waste and changes to regulations to be more development friendly.

He said this is about all commissioners can do to reduce the mill levy because about 35% of the land in the county is tax exempt.

Commissioner Mike Stieben said county residents likely will not see an overall property tax reduction unless they speak with their local school boards and other taxing entities.

Stieben said the county’s mill levy represents only a small piece of people’s overall property tax bills.

Stieben expressed appreciation to County Administrator Mark Loughry, County Clerk Janet Klasinski and others who worked on the 2021 budget. Despite the impact of the pandemic, he said, county officials were still able to come up with a budget that has a slight reduction to the mill levy.

"I think it was hard work and I appreciate it," Stieben said.

Loughry said that, excluding expenditures from sales tax revenue which are for specific projects, the 2021 budget has a spending increase of about $717,000 compared to the current year. He said this is an increase of about 1.65%.

"I think that’s very reasonable," he said.

He said this is within the consumer price index increase.

Commissioners will have another public hearing next week for a separate budget for special funds including a local service road and bridge fund and sewer districts.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR