A budget forum this week in Roeland Park turned out many fewer people than showed up for similar community discussions a year ago.
One noted difference between the two years is the 2013 sessions included an increase in property tax rates. This year, the city is not proposing an increase in the tax rate. In fact, the 2013 increase was anticipated to hold for three years.
A key driver in last year’s budget was the loss of sales tax revenue around the expected move of Walmart to Mission. With the delays in the start of the Mission Gateway construction, that has given the city a bit of breathing room in preparing for the revenue drop. The proposed budget now projects that Walmart will leave in October 2015.
The general fund budget for next year is proposing more than $400,000 in additional expenses coming from areas such as Emerald Ash Borer tree replacement, street maintenance and additional personnel costs.
Information provided at the forum showed that Roeland Park gets 23 percent of its general fund revenue from sales tax and 39 percent from property tax. The remainder comes from franchise fees and a variety of other sources. The proposed general fund increase for next year is 9.5 percent to just over $5 million.
The 2015 budget is still being completed and additional public comment sessions will be held before the council votes on it.