County commissioners pass county budget with tax hike to pay for libraries, parks, transit

 

Johnson_County_Building

The Johnson County Board of County Commissions on Thursday approved a budget for fiscal year 2016 that includes the county’s first property tax hike since 2006.

The total property tax increase will be 3.3 mills, which translates to $99.12 over the course of a year for the owner of a $261,000 home, the average home value in Johnson County.

Commissioners Ron Shaffer, Jim Allen and Steve Klika joined chair Ed Eilert in voting for the budget. Commissioners Jason Osterjaus, Michael Ashcroft and John Toplikar voted against it.

The tax increase is broken down into four categories, with funds set aside for specific purposes:

  • 1.622 mills of the 3.3 increase will go to maintain existing county services, helping fill the hole left by in part by the state’s elimination of the mortgage registration fee.
  • .75 mills will go toward the implementation of the parks and recreation 15-year master plan, which will fund the development of existing but unused park land, the construction of 30 miles of streamway trails and upgrades to existing parks.
  • .75 mills will go toward implementation of the 20-year library master plan, which initially had called for the redevelopment of the Corinth and Cedar Roe libraries, but may be altered due to reduced funding.
  • .178 mills will go toward expansion of para transit options as part of the county’s public transportation system.

The Kansas Policy Institute had organized a show of opposition to the proposed tax increase. The new tax levels will go into effect January 1.