Financial management and budgeting
The BOCC, leadership and staff endlessly strive to be good stewards of taxpayer funds. Every effort is made to provide fair and equitable property appraisals and manage the tax rolls/collections for the entire county. We aim to provide sound ﬁnancial management and planning for our budget, which allows us to serve the community, as well as manage our own organization’s ﬁnances.
We have maintained our coveted “Triple Triple A” bond rating. A testament to our budgeting and financial management, this credit rating from all three bond agencies allows the county to obtain money for projects at a very competitive interest rate and is an achievement that places us in the top 2% of all U.S. counties.
Moving forward through...
…budgeting that invests in priority areas and helps overcome community and workforce challenges
While we always have the budgetary goal of aligning our resources with the priorities of the Board and the community, in 2022 we saw two emerging priorities… addressing our workforce market pressures along with our community’s property tax pressures.
On Thursday, Sept. 1, after many months of crafting, analyzing and debating, the BOCC adopted the Fiscal Year 2023 Operating and Capital Improvement Budget. It included reductions in the mill levies in all three of the county’s taxing districts for a total 0.960 mill levy rollback. This represented the county’s fifth mill levy reduction in six years.
With a challenging labor market in 2022, work was done on a budget that prioritizes the county’s employees by investing in them through fair compensation and benefits to make county government’s work possible and public services and programs available. Actions include additional funding to address issues with pay compression, a 3% merit pool for individual 2022 performance (ranging from 0-5%), a 2% increase for market adjustments, and increasing the county’s maximum match from 3% to 4% to supplemental employee’s retirement.
Even with the rollbacks and prioritization on addressing workforce challenges, staff and leadership cooperated on a budget that moves the county forward in many ways:
- $21.8 million for Commerce Center phase II at the New Century AirCenter;
- Approximately $20 million for capital projects and enhancements at county parks and $5.5 million for Johnson County Library projects, including approximately $1 million for De Soto, Spring Hill and Edgerton Library improvements
- Additional personnel to meet increased demands for public services and public safety, including four Sheriff’s Office positions; two positions for the Department of Emergency Services to answer 9-1-1 calls and dispatch first responders; a victim advocate for the District Attorney’s Office to help address a backlog of cases; and three Johnson County Mental Health Center positions.
…enhanced communication and transparency regarding the Revenue Neutral Rate
2022’s budget cycle was the first one following the Kansas Legislature’s law passed in March 2021 requiring Kansas county clerks to send taxpayers estimated tax notices. The Treasury, Taxation and Vehicles department successfully implemented this new mailing in August 2022. The notice pulled together a wealth of data from all taxing subdivisions, clearly communicating notifications of jurisdictions’ plans to exceed or not to exceed the Revenue Neutral Rate, information on specific property values and taxes and details of planned public hearings for taxing subdivisions who planned to exceed their RNR.
The first time for any type of new program or communication has the potential to cause confusion for the public. The TTV department partnered with the county’s public information office to coordinate communication efforts with various cities, school districts and other taxing subdivisions. They worked together on coordinated communications including a dedicated webpage to help eliminate confusion.
…strategically and equitably investing federal funding in our community
Due to the pandemic, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 led to the award of approximately $117 million in State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds to Johnson County. In 2022, after going through a similar process with CARES Act funding awarded in 2020, Johnson County developed a framework to utilize our $117 million award towards the following efforts:
- Expanding the workforce
- Expanding access to affordable housing
- Keeping our families and communities safe.
In 2022, the BOCC made several allocations using this funding, including $7,253,000 to address struggling small businesses and diminishing childcare capacity within Johnson County, and $2,085,000 to address housing and food insecurity within Johnson County.