Saturday, December 20, 2014

City tax rate: $45 each month

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer | 7/10/2013

Forty-five bucks might not fill a gas tank — depending on the vehicle — but it will cover the monthly tab for police and fire protection, road maintenance, the public swimming pool and many other City of Ottawa services and amenities, the city’s finance director said.

Scott Bird broke down the city’s estimated 2014 mill levy for Ottawa city commissioners during their study session Monday by showing them what a person’s tax bill would cost on a monthly basis.

Forty-five bucks might not fill a gas tank — depending on the vehicle — but it will cover the monthly tab for police and fire protection, road maintenance, the public swimming pool and many other City of Ottawa services and amenities, the city’s finance director said.

Scott Bird broke down the city’s estimated 2014 mill levy for Ottawa city commissioners during their study session Monday by showing them what a person’s tax bill would cost on a monthly basis.

Based on the city’s estimated 2014 mill levy of 47.507 mills, a person who owns a home valued at $100,000 would have a city property tax bill of $546.33, Bird, city finance director, said. He stressed that figure did not include county and school district property taxes. Those are separate mill levies, he said.

Using the $100,000 home example, Bird said the city property tax bill of $546.33 equals $45.53 per month.

He listed all the services a city property taxpayer received for $45.53 per month. Those included: fire protection, police protection, public parks, snow removal, library, public pool, flood plain management, animal control, traffic control, city planning services, road maintenance, street lighting, municipal court, new road construction, city airport, city cemetery, code enforcement, trails maintenance and several others.

“I like that you’ve broken it down into a monthly cost, because that’s the way most people think [about expenses] when they pay their monthly bills,” Mike Skidmore, city commissioner, told Bird.

Bird planned to make city budget information available for attendees of the 2014 City/County Budget Open House from 6 to 8 p.m. today in the Franklin County Commission Chambers, 1428 S. Main St., Ottawa, he said. The session is open to the public. City and county department heads, as well as elected officials, will be available to answer questions about budgets, provide information about goals for the coming year and take suggestions from residents for future budget considerations, city officials said.

The city’s estimated 2014 mill levy of 47.507 mills would be a 2.58-percent increase over the city’s 2013 levy of 45.6523 mills, Bird said.

One reason that precipitated the potential mill levy increase, Bird said, is a 1.4-percent drop in the city’s assessed property valuation from $82.080 million in 2013 to an estimated $80.911 million in 2014. The city’s assessed valuation affects how many property tax dollars a city is able to levy per mill. A drop in assessed valuation requires a higher mill levy to make up for the dollars lost by the lower valuation.

The city’s 2013 mill levy of 45.6523 mills accounted for 26.4 percent of an Ottawa property owner’s tax bill last year, according to city figures. The Ottawa school district/Ottawa Recreation Commission mill levy of 64.8680 mills accounted for the largest slice of the pie at 37.6 percent, followed by Franklin County’s 59.4730 mills or 34.4 percent.

The State of Kansas’ 1.5000 mills accounted for 0.9 percent of the tax bill, while the Franklin County extension office’s 1.2360 mills represented 0.7 percent, according to a city report.

The estimated 2014 mill levy has not been finalized and is subject to change. Ottawa city commissioners likely will adopt the 2014 budget in early August, city officials said.

The city/county open house tonight does not take the place of a public hearing the city must conduct before it adopts its budget, city officials said. That public hearing is expected the first Wednesday in August, but no date has been set.

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