A second public budget forum in Roeland Park Tuesday night only turned out about a dozen residents to walk through the presentation boards and meet with department heads and council representatives.
The 2013 budget forums filled the community center with residents sometimes challenging the property tax increases that were imposed that year. The budget that year planned to hold the tax rate steady for at least three years at 33.38 mills and that is the rate proposed for the 2016 budget in Roeland Park.
The Roeland Park budgets, which in 2013 started planning for the loss of Walmart sales tax revenue, have had some relief from that pressure as a result of the continuing delay in the Gateway project in Mission. The Gateway development originally was slated for completion by the end of this year with Walmart moving out of Roeland Park and taking its sales tax with it. The latest Roeland Park budget predicts a Walmart move by February 2017, but that is looking less likely as time passes without a new proposal from the Gateway developers.
Roeland Park did see an increase of approximately four percent in its total assessed valuation this year, a sign values are recovering from the drop during the recession. Charts prepared by the city show that it has a low city staffing size per capita among its Johnson County peers and about an average out-of-pocket property tax cost for the average home.
The city gets about 29 percent of its revenue from sales tax and depends on property tax for 33 percent. The city does not have a separate stormwater fee which a number of cities charge on the property tax bill, but which is not part of the property tax rate.
Information shared Tuesday night showed overall general fund spending for 2015 predicted to come in lower than budgeted and the 2016 spending at only slightly higher levels than budgeted for 2015. The city has been able to move money to street maintenance and plan for replacement of failing corrugated storm drains. The council also has been working on designating more money for park maintenance.