Elected officials should ask these questions

The editorial titled “Topeka City Budget puts Taxpayers First” (6/27/2019) brings to mind that all elected city, county, school district and special district officials in Shawnee County make difficult decisions when developing and approving their current operating and capital outlay budgets. Difficult decisions arise when officials weigh the requests for more and better services for residents and visitors, and functions that support these services. At the same time, officials want to avoid increases in the sales tax rate, property tax mill levy and/or service fees paid by taxpayers.

Officials of two or more local governments have opportunities to minimize difficult decisions by examining similar services and functions their governments provide to residents and visitors. Officials ask themselves the following questions:

1. Can we maintain the quantity, quality and/or timeliness of the service or function, and reduce the sales tax rate, property tax mill levy, and/or service fees?

2. Can we maintain the quantity, quality and/or timeliness of the service or function, and maintain the sales tax rate, property tax mill levy, and/or service fees?

3. Can we increase the quantity, quality and/or timeliness of the service or function, and reduce the sales tax rate, property tax mill levy, and/or service fees?

4. Can we increase the quantity, quality and/or timeliness of service or function, and maintain the sales tax rate, property tax mill levy, and/or service fees?

Officials would answer “yes” or “no” to question 1, 2, 3 or 4. If officials answer “yes,” they consolidate the service or function. If officials answer “no,” officials do not consolidate.

Allyn O. Lockner, Topeka