Archive for Tuesday, July 8, 2008

2009 budget forces grim choices on Eudora City Council

4 mill increase proposed

July 8, 2008

A proposed 2009 budget City Administrator Cheryl Beatty presented to the Eudora City Council week would as resident to make up revenue lost to the current housing downturn with higher property taxes and fees for city services.

Look for more on the proposed budget in Thursday's issue of The Eudora News and at this Web site.

Beatty shared the proposed budget at a work session attended last week by the Eudora City Council members and city department heads. It would increase the mill levy from 24.144 to 28.354 mills while keeping the city's overall expenditures at $10.6 million, down from last year's $11.08 million in the current year.

The city was caught between a revenue shortfall brought on by the housing crunch that reduced the number of housing starts in Eudora from about 100 a year earlier this decade to near single digits.

Beatty said the mill levy value has been flat for the year, but that there have been large increases in operational costs as a result of rising fuel and materials costs.

At the same time, the only revenue increase came from a natural gas franchise fees, which didn't offset revenue losses from sales tax and development fee.

"With revenue drop and increased prices, we're in this crunch just like everybody else," Beatty said.

In order to save money, Beatty recommended a freeze on all salaries and an elimination of a 3-percent cost of living raise for city employees. She also proposed a reduction in overtime for the police and street departments.

In order to increase revenue, Beatty recommended increases for municipal court costs, aquatic and recreation center fees and request the police department issue more tickets.

Beatty said the council also would investigate annexing part of the Kansas Highway 10 corridor in order to have a greater area to issue more tickets.

The proposed cuts and increases would add up to about $230,000

A public hearing on the budget will be at city council meetings on either July 28 or Aug. 11. The new budget is due to the county by Aug. 25.

The current mill levy is 24.144 and Beatty has recommended a mill levy of 28.254

City officials also set aside time decided against the purchase of Durr house.

The land - a 3.5 acre parcel in the Intech Industrial park - would have cost $150, 000 and moving the house would have cost between $20,000 and $40,000.

"On top of everything else, we did not have a commitment from any specific group or organization that was going to take the house after we moved it," Beatty said.

USD 491 has had interest from bidders and will further discuss the issue at Thursday's Board of Education meeting.

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