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  • Roger Sims, Journal Staff

Pleasanton council approves budget, property condemnation

Updated: Oct 6, 2022

PLEASANTON – The Pleasanton City Council in two special hearings on Monday, Aug. 15, approved a budget for 2023 and moved to condemn a house at 355 Laurel Street. Three council members – Joe Whitaker, Rochelle Schreckhise and Jake Mattingley attended the hearings; Aaron Portman and Melanie Staton did not attend.

The approved budget met revenue-neutral guidelines. That means the overall amount of taxes the city will collect next year won’t exceed the amount collected this year even though the valuation of property in the city has increased.

The valuation of property in the city for 2023 is $7.3 million, up from nearly $6.38 million in 2021. That reflects a 14.6 percent increase as the result of real estate prices spiraling upward over the past two years.

However, according to City Administrator Teresa Whitaker, retirement of bonds, lease-purchase agreements and other debts enabled the city to reduce the proposed taxes to be levied. And that allowed the city to reduce the mill levy to about 85.84 mills, down nearly 8 mills from 93.38 mills last year.

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.

The budget anticipates net expenditures for 2023 of about $1.86 million, up about $206,000 from more than $1.65 million this year.

In a separate hearing that same evening, the council on a split vote approved the condemnation of a residence at 355 Laurel Street, including the removal of inoperable vehicles and debris from the lot where the residence is located.

Sandy Atkisson, city codes officer, cited a list of conditions in favor of condemnation. Those included inoperable vehicles, trash and debris on the property, overgrown weeds, and auto parts laying around. She also said the house had broken and boarded up windows and other damage.

“It looks like a junk yard,” Atkisson said. “This was supposed to be taken care of three years ago.”

Atkisson was asked if the house, which belongs to Michael Miller, was still occupied, and she said she thought it was.

Council Member Joe Whitaker made a motion to approve condemnation, and Jake Matingley seconded the motion. Both men voted for condemnation; Council Member Rochelle Schreckhise was opposed.

In a separate interview, Schreckhise said she would always oppose condemnation if the residence was being occupied.

“I’m not for houses being torn down when they have a family in it,” she said.

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