County looks at dropping tax levy slightly for 2022

Updated: Aug 19, 2021

MOUND CITY – Linn County Clerk David Lamb and the Linn County Commissioners worked on finalizing the budget numbers on Monday, July 26.

Lamb asked for guidance from the commissioners on how they wanted to distribute money in the budget. He reported that the Linn County Fair board dropped its mill levy from more than .4 mills to .2 mills, which provided the county with $63,000 more to work with in other departments.

A mill is $1 of tax for every $1,000 of assessed property valuation. Kansas has a statewide assessment percentage of 11.5 percent, so a house with an appraised market value of $100,000 would have a tax assessment value of $11,500. If the tax rate on that residence is one mill, the tax levied would be $11.50.

According to Lamb, the appraiser was looking for a vehicle replacement in her department. He said she checked with the public works department and the sheriff’s office and they had nothing available.

Lamb pointed out that part of this $63,000 could be put in her budget to assist with purchasing a vehicle. He said another option for some of the money could be buying more road rock and asphalt.

It’s not that we can’t find good uses for the money, Lamb said, it is just a matter of what those uses are. So I am looking for direction from you.

Linn County Commission Chair Rick James said he understood the revenue-neutral issue and understood that if the commission cuts money, it may hurt the county next year,.

The Kansas Legislature passed revenue-neutral bills earlier this year that would limit counties and cities on how many dollars they could raise through taxes. Under the legislation, Linn County could not raise more money from tax revenue in 2022 than they did in 2021.

“At the same time, I’d like to see the contingency go away,” James said. Not the main one but the additional $129,000.

“The reason is, we’ve got a fairly good contingency now,” James explained. “If every single year we look to spend up to a revenue neutral-amount, we are never doing better than the year before.”

James said that he would always vote when possible to give pay increases and cost-of-living allowances. That is the way the county can keep employees here, and they are happy to see that we are putting forth an effort to see that they stay up with the economy, he added.

Lamb said that by using that $129,000 in contingency instead of levying for it, the mill levy for the county would be 47.742, a decrease of 2.1 mills.

James told the commission that the county had not had a challenging year on budgets for a few years now.

Lamb said the biggest concern he saw was there was so much unknown about the building project.

Commissioner Jim Johnson agreed that he could live with cutting the contingency as long as it did not go past the 2 mill decrease and it would be cutting taxes. Commissioner Danny McCullough also agreed.

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