City approves 2022 budget

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

Leavenworth city commissioners have approved the city's budget for 2022.

Commissioners unanimously approved the $54.9 million budget Tuesday at the conclusion of a public hearing.

The public hearing took place during a special meeting that followed a study session of the City Commission.

City Manager Paul Kramer said the budget includes funding for a splash park in the city as well as new restrooms at Havens Park and Stubby Park.

He said the budget also was crafted to support the implementation of the city's new comprehensive plan.

"The worst thing you can do with that effort is have the plan sit on the shelf," he said.

He said the budget also invests heavily in personnel. He said 2022 will be the final year of the five-year implementation of salary increases resulting from an employee classification and compensation study.

Kramer noted the budget reduces the city government's overall mill levy by 0.66 mills.

The mill levy is used in determining property taxes.

Kramer acknowledged that even with the mill levy decrease, the city will be exceeding its revenue neutral rate for property taxes.

This means the city will collect more in property taxes in 2022 than it has this year. The additional property tax revenue will result from increases in property valuation.

A new state law required commissioners to hold a separate public hearing for exceeding the revenue neutral rate. That hearing took place last month.

Kramer said half of the additional property tax revenue next year is already obligated for economic development incentives with the money being distributed to businesses and property owners.

He said the remaining portion of the additional property tax revenue will cover the increased cost of commodities.

"Gas has increased more than $1 a gallon since we started the formulation of the budget," he said.

Kramer also said the city sometimes has unexpected expenses such as a spike in the cost of natural gas this past winter.

No one from the audience asked to address commissioners during Tuesday's public hearing on the budget.

Commissioner Mark Preisinger said there is not a bunch of fluff in the 2022 budget.

"We're spending this money properly," he said.

In addition to approving the city's 2022 budget, commissioners approved a resolution to establish the budget for the city's public housing program and an operating budget for Planters II, a low income housing facility operated by the city.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR

In other business

The Leavenworth City Commission:

• Reached a consensus to authorize city staff to work with Dr. Kristen Simpson, owner of Life Family Chiropractic, for the possible development of land at 301 Delaware St. The city currently owns the land at that location.

• Received a briefing about a planned demand-response busing service the city will operate in partnership with The Guidance Center.

• City Manager Paul Kramer reviewed funding the city has received as a result of federal COVID-19 relief legislation.