County Manager proposes FY 2025 budget for Johnson County, Kansas

2025 Budget - Johnson County, Kansas

Today, County Manager Penny Postoak Ferguson presented her proposed 2025 budget to the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners.

The proposed $1.83 billion budget and Capital Improvement Program includes $1.366 billion in expenditures and $461.7 million in reserves, with the goal of maintaining the county’s Triple AAA bond rating.

“My 2025 proposed budget maintains existing services with a few additions, invests in the high performing  workforce needed to provide essential services to the community, preserves strong reserves and includes a mill levy rollback,” said County Manager Penny Postoak Ferguson. “We accomplished all of that despite inflationary pressures, a growing population with increased needs and flattening revenue streams.”

The proposed budget includes a 0.250 mill levy rollback on the county’s property taxes from 24.360 to 24.110 mills. It would be the seventh county taxing fund mill levy rollback in eight years. In collaboration with the BOCC, the recommended rollback will mean a 2.497 mill levy decrease since 2017, creating an annual decrease of $39.1 million in property tax revenues.

The proposed 3.812 mills for the Library Taxing District and 3.022 mills for the Park and Recreation Taxing District would not change from 2024’s budget.

Overall themes of the FY 2025 proposed budget  

  • Support the BOCC’s priorities and feedback obtained from the annual community survey.
  • Maintain existing services and programs with limited expansion, including an understanding that some “above and beyond” services may be impacted due to increased demand but stable funding.
  • Preserve the progress made towards our organization’s workforce challenges by staying competitive with salaries.
  • Continued focus on cost-cutting efforts and use of technology in county operations in an environment of falling revenues and reduced resources.
  • Protecting Johnson County’s financial strength through prudent investments and reserves.
  • An unsustainable five-year forecast without future policy decisions that would significantly impact expenses or revenues. 

Revenue and expense challenges

Property values have begun to stabilize after two years of above average increases. The FY 2025 budget forecasts a 6.76% assessed valuation increase after appeals. That compares to 11.19% for the 2024 budget. Other assumptions include a decrease of $4.3 million in revenue streams including sales tax, investment interest and recording fees compared to the 2024 budget.

Far from immune to inflation, county government costs have skyrocketed, including a 95% increase in metal for culverts, 93% increase in concrete, 48% increase in cost per ton for asphalt and 38% for rock products in five years. Food service to the Adult Residential Center has increased by 42% and 33% for medical services in the Adult and Juvenile Residential Services during that period.

Another challenge is not only a growing overall population, but also increases in the community’s vulnerable populations. Since 2012, the populations of residents 65 years and older have increased by 52% and those with a disability by 25%.

What is included in the 2025 proposed budget?

The proposed budget includes 4,355.61 FTE (full-time equivalent) employees, including 37.52 new FTEs (only 3.5 new FTEs are paid for with county taxes).

  • 1 adult diversion officer for the District Attorney’s Office
  • 1 environmental health specialist to conduct sewage treatment and swimming pool safety inspection to fill the gap resulting from Overland Park no longer providing that service
  • 1 IT security architect to support mitigating technology risks, including cybersecurity.
  • .5 HR partner to support MED-ACT

One-time funding from reserves is recommend for 7 new MED-ACT crew members to support ambulance service in Olathe before a new station opens there. Other funding sources including fees, grants, existing funding and opioid settlement funds are recommended for new FTEs including:

  • 1 Mental Health co-responder for the Sheriff’s Office
  • 12 FTEs for mental health to support several of its programs
  • 2 Johnson County Library Maker Space Specialists
  • 1 JCDS Shared Living coordinator to explore new housing options for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities
  • 1 substance abuse counselor for the Department of Corrections

The budget also includes:

  • Non-personnel costs necessary to maintain services levels despite the rising cost of goods or contractual increases.
  • One-time use of general fund reserves for the Public Works road overlay program, fleet capital, funding for ambulances, equipment funding for emergency radios and public access AED replacement.
  • One-time funding for a second year of pilot programs created with COVID-19 federal funding dollars (Landlord Housing Voucher Incentive Pilot and the District Court’s Eviction Mediation Program)
  • A Capital Improvement Program totaling $381.6 million. Excluding Wastewater and other projects with dedicated funding sources, the CIP funds $25.4 million for maintaining existing capital assets and infrastructure in the county, with minimal new capital projects. 

The county continues to face a tight labor market in light of the current low rate of unemployment and labor shortages, and competitive wages/benefits are an important tool to attract and retain  employees. In 2023, the BOCC directed staff to keep salaries at market and not fall behind again. The FY 2025 proposed budget recommends a 3.5% merit pool and a 1.0% market increase for the county’s pay table for county employees. The Sheriff’s Office and MED-ACT step plans will also have a 1.0% market increase.

Postoak Ferguson’s budget message called attention to “multiple challenges” in the coming years for the BOCC and Johnson County Government.

“The five-year forecast is not sustainable. Projections indicate slowing revenue growth and grant funding not keeping up with costs, causing continued pressure on the mill levy. On the expenditure side, inflation is still high with a tight labor market causing increased costs on commodities plus the need to stay competitive with merit and market to retain and recruit employees, which continues to be a key focus for high-quality programs and services,” she said.

Next Steps

The public is invited to attend budget open houses  on June 3 at the Central Resource Library, 9875 West 87th St., Overland Park, and on June 10 at the Monticello Library, 22435 West 66th St., Shawnee. Both dates feature two opportunities (10 a.m. to noon and 5 to 7 p.m.) where the public can learn about the budget and ask questions. Budget information will also be available at the county’s Juneteenth event (June 19, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Lenexa Civic Campus Commons, 17101 W. 87th St.)

The BOCC is scheduled to finalize its budget on June 20-21, paving the way for legal publication of the county’s maximum FY 2025 Budget on June 27. Following legal publication, the county cannot, by law, increase the amount of the budgeted expenditures, but can decrease the amount of the operating budget or taxing level in final approval by the Board.

The budget public hearing/Revenue Neutral Rate public hearing, including opportunities for public comments, will take place on Aug. 20, beginning at 6 p.m. in the BOCC hearing room at the Johnson County Administration Building, 111 St. Cherry St., in downtown Olathe. The BOCC is scheduled to adopt the final FY 2025 budget resolution on Aug. 29. Details about the county’s FY 2025 proposed budget, current and previous budgets, and budget process are available at 

Board of County Commissioners
Budget and Financial Planning
County Manager's Office
News Releases