Mayor recaps budget concerns
City officials prepared for a public hearing for Eudora's 2002 city budget in part by going over a list of issues from Mayor Ron Conner, who recapped budget items he said had caused the most confusion and concern.
Conner said that during the budgetary process the mill levy came down from the originally proposed 33 to just under 18.3, lower than 2001's 18.4. He said actual taxes collected by the city will increase by about $1,800, but council members differed in their opinions on the rate.
"I think we could get by with a little less," council member Tom Pyle said, adding that the mill levy should be brought down to 17.
Ken Hite, a certified public accountant with Lowenthal, Singleton, Webb and Wilson of Lawrence, who served as the city's auditor, disagreed.
"It would be good to hold your levy rate," Hite said. "If you decrease for too long and get hit with a series of capital improvements, it could spike the mill levy. I think it's a pretty balanced approach here."
Conner also addressed the flexibility of the budget, which allows the city to set aside money for a city administrator or engineer and a full-time fire chief, but also allows council members to decide later whether to push ahead with those endeavors.
Police Chief Bill Long said the city had an additional full-time police officer budgeted in five years before one was hired.
Hite identified potential problems in the budget concerning the utilities' figures. The cash flow coming in dropped from the 2001 projection to the 2002 budget, Hite said. However, expenditures in utilities increased.
"What that amounts to is either possibly too high of expenditures or too low revenue," Hite said. "If it did all get spent, it would be an alarming trend."
Rex Burkhardt, in his fifth year on city council, said the city usually added to the budget during the budgetary process rather than trimming as the council had on the 2002 budget.
"This is probably the one I feel the best about," Burkhardt said.
A public hearing for the 2002 budget is set for 7:30 p.m., Aug. 13 at Eudora City Hall.