Overland Park proposes 14% increase for 2023 budget — Here are some key takeaways

Overland Park infrastructure group

Overland Park is in the early stages of discussing next year's budget, which spending increases in many areas, including a 32% increase for street maintenance projects. File photo.

A new annual budget for Overland Park is in the works after the city council’s Committee of the Whole received an overview of the proposed city budget for 2023 last week.

Here are some big-picture takeaways and how residents can get involved in the budget process in the coming months.

Total spending: The $374.3 million proposed budget represents a 14.3% over last year’s, according to a summary of the budget given to the city council.

  • That increase is driven in large part by a nearly 16% increase in general operating funds, which pay for most of the day-to-day operations in the city and which are projected to jump from $258 million to nearly $299 million next year under this draft budget.
  • According to city officials, the 2023 proposal is focused on primary services, technology security, keeping up with inflation and addressing a growing demand for goods and services due to growth.

Key quote: “For this year’s budget, we have emphasized really just looking at maintaining primary services, addressing challenges or issues that we have in departments and in our operations with respect to growth in demand for services,” Interim City Manager Kristy Stallings told the city council. “As well as some of the challenges we’re experiencing in connection with inflationary pressures, wage pressures, and the ever gift that keeps on giving- technology operations and security.”

Property taxes: While the property tax rate, or mill levy rate, isn’t set to go up under the proposed budget, the city does predict a 10% rise in assessed property valuations citywide, which means a rise in projected tax revenues.

  • The proposed 2023 budget predicts an extra $6 million in property tax revenue overall for next fiscal year.
  • This follow’s last year’s property tax rate increase to help fund the police department’s new mental health crisis unit.
  • Overland Park’s property tax rate remains the lowest municipal mill levy in Johnson County at 14.578, compared to neighboring Leawood’s mill levy for 2022 was 24.076 and Prairie Village’s 19.322.

Some notable increases: The proposed 2022-23 budget includes:

  • An 11% increase to $4.6 million for parks and forestry, including paying for an additional forestry crew that would be dedicated to maintaining the tree canopy in public parks and along city trails and medians.
  • A roughly 7% in several line items related to police, for total projected spending of $46.4 million, that includes additional funding for the the police department’s Victim Assistance Program and increased funds to pay for leasing office space and paying co-responders for OPPD’s new Crisis Action Team .
  • An 11% increase to $17 million for the city’s public works budget, including a 32% increase to $5.9 million for street maintenance.
  • A 12% increase to $8.9 million for information technology, which a budget summary says is driven by the need to continue to focus on “support of public safety and network and security operations.”
  • A 53% increase to $14.2 million to the city’s Golf Course Fund, part of which is projected to pay for a new full-time golf course attendant, along with capital improvements and ongoing maintenance.

Where are pandemic relief funds going? Beyond the scope of the proposed operating budget for next year, the city has come up with a range of possible directions for using federal pandemic relief funds allocated to the city through the American Rescue Plan Act. Some of those recommendations include:

  • $6.5 million toward neighborhood street reconstruction over the course of five years
  • $2 million toward restoration of the city’s urban forest
  • $100,000 toward implementation of electric vehicle charging stations

How can residents get involved? Residents can review the proposed budget this summer and attend the city’s public hearings to give input on it.

  • City Council public hearings are scheduled on Aug. 1 and Sept. 12.
  • Before those hearings, residents can tune into City Council committee meetings throughout June and July to hear how the city’s respective departments are weighing the budget.
  • The council will take final consideration of the budget on Sept. 19.