Leawood approves final $66M budget with same property tax rate — Here are the details

Leawood budget

The Leawood City Council gave final approval to the city's $66.1 million budget for 2023 last night, which includes an increase in resident public arts fees and an intent to exceed the revenue neutral tax rate. Photo of Leawood City Hall by Lucie Krisman.

The Leawood City Council on Tuesday night gave final approval to the city’s $66.1 million budget for the upcoming year — as well as the city’s intent to exceed the state-mandated revenue neutral by keeping its property tax rate steady.

How it compares: At $66.1 million, Leawood’s 2023 budget is a 3% decrease from the city’s $68.3 million budget for 2022.

  • Total city revenues for 2023 are projected to be $64.4 million, which is also a slight decrease from 2022’s projected total of $66.7 million.
  • Out of that total, 44% is expected to come from property taxes, 26% will come from sales and use taxes and 27% is expected to come from other sources — including franchise fees, grants and license and permitting fees.

Looking closer: The budget includes a $600,000 increase for the Parks and Recreation department — $400,000 of which, city staff said, will go toward improvements at Ironwoods Golf Club.

  • The budget also includes an increase in annual resident fees going towards the city’s public arts fund from $5 to $7, which is expected to bring in an additional $68,092 in revenue overall.
  • Some funds for ongoing projects included in the city’s separately-approved capital improvement plan are $17.2 million for improvements along Mission Road, $9.2 million for continued construction of Fire Station No. 1, and $14.9 million for a new parks maintenance facility on Overbrook Road.
Leawood budget
One of the largest shares of the Leawood budget next year — about $12 million — will go towards city parks and recreation. Above, children play at Leawood City park earlier this year. File photo.

Why the differences? City staff say the decrease in expenditures from 2022 is driven partly by a decrease in budgeted funds for street improvements — which are down $7.6 million from what was budgeted for 2022.

  • There are five street improvement projects included in the 2023 budget, whereas nine were included in the 2022 budget.
  • Interim Finance Director Loretta Morgan said the decrease in projected revenue is due, in part, to the city recently paying off special assessment project fees, as well as permitting and licensing fees.

Where will the money go? Leawood’s $66.1 million in projected spending for 2023 will be broken down in the following ways:

  • $13.5 for public works — including $1 million for routine building maintenance
  • $12 million for parks, recreation and arts — which includes the $2 increase in annual resident fees for the city’s public arts fund
  • $11.9 million for the police department
  • $8.6 million for the fire department
  • $8 million for administration, including $2.5 million for department decision packages and 3.9% merit-based wage increases for city employees
  • $7.7 million for debt service
  • $4.4 million for general operations, including $1.4 million for the replacement of city vehicles

Property taxes: The 2023 budget includes a property tax rate — or mill levy rate — of 24.076 mills.

  • This is the same tax rate included in 2022’s budget, which the city intends to hold steady next year.
  • Though the tax rate isn’t changing, rising property values mean the city will still take in more in property taxes than it did in 2022, thereby exceeding the revenue neutral rate as laid out by state law.
  • Leawood has not increased its property tax rate in 20 years, but it is one of a number of Johnson County cities expected to exceed the revenue neutral rate this year without doing so.

What Leawood’s property tax rate looks like in real dollars

A mill is equivalent to $1 for every $1,000 of a property’s assessed value.

  • Residents can estimate their share of taxes owed the city of Leawood by multiplying the assessed value of their home by the mill levy rate and then dividing that by 1,000.
  • The average appraised value (or fair market value) of a Leawood home is $662,979, for which the assessed value would be $76,243.
  • If you multiply $76,243 by Leawood’s mill levy of 24.076, and then divide that by 1,000, then the average Leawood homeowner would pay $153 monthly in 2023 property taxes to the city — or $1,836 annually.
  • In contrast, an average Leawood homeowner owed roughly $140 monthly in property taxes in 2022, adding up to roughly $1,684 for the whole year.