State tax lid legislation will lead to 1.5 mill reduction in Roeland Park property tax rate

To comply with the state’s tax lid bill, Roeland Park will reduce its property tax rate by at least 1.5 mills.

Roeland Park’s property tax rate will be rolled back by at least 1.5 mills in 2019 in compliance with a state tax lid law which restricts local government from collecting property tax revenues beyond the rate of inflation without public voter approval.

The reduction will put the city in compliance with the 1.4 percent consumer price index growth cap, City Administrator Keith Moody told councilmembers Monday.

Moody said he expected to see other northeast Johnson County communities decrease property tax rates to stay in step with the law.

“I’m sure there will be cities that roll back their mill,” he said. “To what degree, I don’t know yet.”

Roeland Park’s property taxes make up about 19 percent of the city’s total revenues and 32 percent of general fund revenues. According to a staff report since 2009 “actual taxes collected and levied has grown an average of 8 percent.”

The report also noted that the tax lid law will limit the city’s ability to take advantage of the expected 13 percent increase in assessed value of Roeland Park properties, among the steepest year-over-year increases in the county this year.

Moody said that if councilors wanted to decrease the property tax rate by more than 1.5 mills they would need to address the loss of income by reducing an ongoing expenditure.

Last year the council voted 5-3 to decrease the city’s property tax rate by 2.5 mills and offset the $187,500 reduction in taxes by paying debts using reserves instead of issuing new bonds in 2018. The 2.5 cut saved the average homeowner about $48 in property taxes.

Roeland Park saw the steepest hike in average single family home appraised value this year on account of demand from first-time home buyers.