As Prairie Village starts 2019 budget process, officials weigh impact of city mill levy on homeowners

Prairie Village Mayor Laura Wassmer

Preliminary 2019 budget figures produced by Prairie Village’s administration suggest that the city would take in around $725,000 in additional revenue from property taxes next year if the council holds its mill levy steady — though Finance Director Lisa Santa Maria cautioned that the figure will likely be lower given the large amount of appraisal appeals expected this year.

During a presentation kicking off the 2019 budgeting process on Monday, Santa Maria presented a set of assumptions about revenue sources for 2019. If the mill rate holds, property taxes are projected to be the largest source of the city’s revenue at $7,782,328 — or around 33 percent of the total general fund budget of $21,102,583. Prairie Village has seen its total property tax revenues jump 5.1 percent in 2017 and 11.6 percent in 2018.

While the council did not delve into revenue or expenditure discussion in any significance, the question of whether the governing body should consider reducing its mill levy rate did come up. Prairie Village has not adjusted its property tax rate since 2012, when in added .662 mills to pay for two new police officer positions. The current city property tax rate is 19.311 mills, or about 16 percent of the total property taxes levied on homeowners in Prairie Village.

Ward 1 Councilman Chad Andrew Herring said he knew that there were many people in the city who would be hit hard by the valuation increases. (Prairie Village had more homes that saw jumps in value of 20 percent or more from last year to this year than any other Johnson County city). But he also noted that the city runs a lean operation, and that the city accounted for only a small portion of the total property taxes residents pay.

“I think there is no way to get around the fact that these increased assessments are going to pinch our residents pretty significantly,” he said. “That being said, it’s a small proportion of the overall property levy.”

Mayor Laura Wassmer noted that for an average Prairie Village homeowner with a property valued at just above $300,000, property taxes paid to the city would go up the equivalent of about $5 a month if the Prairie Village mill levy holds at 19.311.

“If we were to roll back our mill levy, that’s the money we’re looking at — is really $5 a month for the average Prairie Village citizen,” Wassmer said. “So it’s not significant compared to the school district, Johnson County and others.”

Santa Maria’s full budget process overview document is below:

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