City council approves 2001 budget
The DeSoto City Council approved the 2001 budget Thursday, which will decrease property taxes enough to satisfy the state's "roll-back" formula.
In 1999, the Kansas Legislature passed a truth-in-taxation law that required local governments to pass a special ordinance at budget time if they didn't reduce their mill levies enough to avoid taking advantage of increased valuations.
During a public hearing on the budget Thursday, City Administrator Gerald Cooper said the 2001 budget's 24.923 mill levy is a large enough reduction over the 2000 levy of 25.881 mills to meet the state's roll-back standards. During two budget workshops earlier this summer, the council assumed a 2001 levy of 23.079 mills - city auditor Tom Singleton's first roll-back estimate.
When Singleton started plugging in city numbers, however, he came up with the higher mill levy, Cooper explained.
Thursday, Councilman Tim Maniez said the city should stick with the earlier figure.
"I just have a problem with it," he said of the budget. "I knew the average increase in appraisal was 10 percent, but a majority of people I talk to had a 20 percent increase, including myself."
The budget was adopted 4-1 over Maniez's objections.
The $5.14 million budget will fund a full-time recreation director-swimming pool manager for the city park department, Cooper said. The budget will also eliminate one full-time position in the street department.
The council also considered how to spend the $100,000 Community Development Block Grant it will receive from the state this year. The city administrator suggested the money be spent to improve the Community Center. As possible projects, he suggested upgrading restrooms to American with Disabilities Act standards, air conditioning for the gymnasium and replacing the gym's ceiling.
But, noting the building's high heating and cooling costs and predicted increases in natural gas prices this winter, Cooper recommended the city use the money to install energy-efficient doors and windows.
The council gave the city administrator permission to explore the energy-saving projects.
In other action, the council:
o Scheduled the public hearing for Mr. Goodcents' tax abatement/bond hearing for 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 7, at Desoto City Hall. The company wants to build a franchise training center near Custom Foods and Sealright.