Commission moving forward with budget

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

Leavenworth County commissioners are moving forward with a 2021 budget that, if approved, would reduce what is known as the county’s mill levy.

However, one commissioner has advocated keeping the mill levy flat.

The mill levy is used in calculating property taxes.

During the last two weeks, county commissioners have had a series of meetings to review different portions of the proposed 2021 budget.

Their most recent budget meeting took place Wednesday. That meeting focused on requests from agencies outside of the county government that have asked for funding. During the meeting, Commissioner Jeff Culbertson expressed opposition to a reduction of the mill levy.

County officials say the budget as proposed would reduce the county government’s mill levy by 0.25-mill.

Culbertson said the reduction would result in only a small savings for the owner of a $150,000 home.

County Administrator Mark Loughry said the 0.25-mill levy reduction would equate to a cut of about $4.31 in property taxes for the owner of a $150,000 home. But Loughry said he does not know if $150,000 is the average price of a home in Leavenworth County.

Culbertson argued the county government has hurt itself by lowering the mill levy in the past to offset property tax increases initiated by other local taxing entities.

“Let the cities and schools cut their mill levy,” he said.

Commission Chairman Doug Smith said property valuations have increased in the county.

A property owner’s taxes can increase, even if the mill levy remains flat, if the valuation of a property increases.

For now, the 0.25-mill reduction remains in the proposed budget.

Commissioners will have to conduct a public hearing on the budget before they can vote for its approval.

No date has been set for the public hearing.

“I would like to have the hearing by the 20th of August,” County Clerk Janet Klasinski told commissioners.

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