Financial report shows Roeland Park built equity as planned in anticipation of Walmart departure


By Holly Cook

Roeland Park’s fiscal year 2016 equity increased from $14.3 million to $16.5 million over the previous year, according the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report presented during Monday’s council workshop. The 15 percent increase in assets was prompted by the council’s efforts to build a reserve in anticipation of Walmart leaving the city.

The financial audit reported that “economic conditions are currently positive” for the city due to increased property valuations and Walmart agreeing to keep its Roeland Park store. However, the report also noted the recently passed Kansas law tying property taxes to the Consumer Price Index could impact the city’s ability to capitalize on future valuation increases.

For fiscal year 2016 property tax revenue increased by almost $198,000 following an 11 percent jump in property valuations, and sales/use taxes increased by almost $109,000.

At the end 2016 Roeland Park’s general fund had almost $2.7 million in unassigned funds.

“The City has built substantial reserves to ensure ongoing operations at current day levels,” the report stated.

City staff will use the report to shape the fiscal year 2018 budget, said assistant city administrator Jennifer Jones-Lacy.

“Going into the budget, this guides us,” she said.

The preliminary 2018 budget includes a 2-mill decrease, which would result in a loss of $144,000 worth of taxes. Other notable items include $130,000 for sidewalk upgrades and $100,000 worth of salary increases for city employees.