City approves budget

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

Leavenworth city commissioners have approved the city’s operating budget for next year.

Commissioners voted to approve the $49.28 million budget when they met Tuesday.

The vote came at the conclusion of a public hearing. No one from the public provided comment during the hearing.

The mill levy for the city’s budget will remain nearly flat, increasing it by 0.078 mills.

The mill levy is used in determining property taxes.

The total mill levy for the 2021 budget is 31.806 mills. This includes a couple of mill levies used for the Leavenworth Public Library, which has its own governing board.

City Manager Paul Kramer considers the funds generated for the library as “pass through” funds.

Kramer has placed the total mill levy for city-supported portion of the mill levy at 26.902 mills. This is an increase of 0.004 mills from the city supported portion of the 2020 mill levy.

Even with a flat mill levy, a property owner’s taxes could go up if the valuation of the property increasing.

Commissioners also approved the city’s Capital Improvements Program.

The CIP is a five-year plan that budgets for various street and building projects as well as equipment purchases. Commissioners generally review and update it each year.

Because of uncertainty regarding sales tax funding for CIP projects, Kramer said Tuesday that priority is being given to streets projects.

He said a tiered system is being used for the CIP, and the city will move forward with other projects that are being delayed for now if there is sufficient sales tax revenue.

Also Tuesday, commissioners approved a resolution to declare the necessity for appropriating private property for public purposes.

The resolution concerns property needed for easements for a drainage project at Thornton Street and 16th Terrace.

The resolution is considered the first step in a process that could lead to the city exercising eminent domain.

Commissioners also approved a contract with SCS Engineers, Overland Park, for testing related to an action plan for the site of a former city garage in the area of Third and Marion streets.

The work is necessary because of contamination at the site.

Commissioners authorized paying the company up to $33,248 for the work.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR

In other business

The City Commission:

• Approved an ordinance to establish a redevelopment, or tax increment financing, district for improvements to the site of the Price Chopper store in Leavenworth.

• Approved ordinances that authorized special use permits for 1019 Ottawa St., 1906 Cleveland Terrace and 4320 Hughes Road.

The ordinance for the SUP for 1019 Ottawa St. was approved 3-1. Mayor Pro-Tem Nancy Bauder voted against the motion. Commissioner Camalla Leonhard was absent.

The ordinances for the other two special use permits were each approved 4-0.

• Approved changes to parking in the street right-of-way in the 400 block of Chestnut Street.

• Approved ordinances for special assessments for collecting unpaid stormwater service fees, demolition costs and nuisance abatement costs.