Mill levies headed down, property taxes maybe not
Nearly every taxing jurisdiction that receives support from De Soto property owners decreased its mill levy this year, but that doesn't necessarily equate to a tax decrease in a city where single-family homes increased in appraised value by an average of 8.7 percent.
The city, Johnson County, De Soto USD 232, the De Soto Cemetery District and Johnson County Community College all project 2005 mill levies to be less than those of 2004. The state of Kansas has a levy of 1 mill that has stayed steady for years.
The only jurisdiction to increase its mill levy for the coming year is Johnson County Rural Fire District No. 3, which raised its mill levy from the 2004 total of 6.46 mills to 8.948 mills in 2005. Chief Mark Billquest said the increase was needed to pay for the expansion of the department's Kill Creek Road station and to offset revenue lost from the termination of the department's contract to provide service to the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant.
Still, city residents of the fire district will see a 3.602 reduction of their overall mill levy because of a large decrease in the city's share of the total mill levy.
In all, De Soto residents living in old-town De Soto served by the city fire department will see a projected overall levy of 129.617 mills for the various budgets approved in recent weeks for the next year. This year's mill levy was 132.244. Those living in that part of the city served by the fire district will see a projected total mill levy of 128.646 mills.
Current mill levy figures are based on final valuation totals the Johnson County Appraiser's Office developed in early July. There will almost certainly be slight changes in the final official numbers the Johnson County Clerk will release in October.
For John and Rae Shultz the result of the overall mill levy decrease and the increased appraised value of their home appears to be a wash. The couple's 83rd Street home saw a 2-percent increase in its appraised valuation last spring. Their total property tax bill for 2005 will be $1,216, the same as it was this year.
Toni and Mike Caldwell had a much different experience. The Johnson County Appraiser slapped their Corliss Road home with a 20-percent valuation increase last spring. Although the couple lives in the fire district part of the city that saw the biggest decrease in the overall mill levy, their property taxes will increase $822 this year.