Johnson County Board of County Commissioners adopts 2024 budget
On Thursday, Aug. 31, 2023, the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners adopted the county’s fiscal year 2024 budget totaling slightly more than $1.79 billion. The budget is comprised of $1.26 billion in expenditures and $528.64 million in reserves.
The BOCC approved a total estimated county mill levy of 24.319 mills, including a 0.250 mill levy reduction. It is the sixth mill levy reduction in seven years. Since 2018, the county has reduced the mill levy by 2.249 mills.
“Due to the growth in property values, we are again in a position to return some resources back to taxpayers with another mill levy reduction,” said Chairman Mike Kelly. “With this budget, we also maintain the reserves that helps us achieve the best credit ratings available, saving money for our taxpayers when we issue debt for large projects.”
County Manager Penny Postoak Ferguson agreed.
“The adopted budget maintains the county’s solid financial position,” she said. “This budget funds on-going operating expenses with on-going revenue sources and puts resources towards the programs and services that align with the Board’s priorities and feedback from our annual community survey.”
The estimated mill levies in 2024 for Johnson County’s three taxing districts are:
- 17.495 mills for the county taxing district
- 3.80 mills for Johnson County Library
- 3.016 mills for Johnson County Park and Recreation District
Even prior to the proposed mill levy reduction, the Johnson County taxing district has had the lowest rate among the state’s 105 counties for several years – despite being the most populous county in Kansas with a current population estimated at nearly 620,000 residents.
Just over one-third of budgeted expenditures, about 34.8%, fund infrastructure. The county plans to spend roughly 26.5% on public safety, judicial and emergency services, including the $115.9 million budget for the Sheriff’s Office, an increase of $14.6 million from 2023. The 2024 budget allocates 11.9% towards cultural and recreation and 10.5% for human services.
In addressing a challenging labor market, the budget prioritizes the county’s employees by investing in them through fair compensation, benefits, retirement plans and other incentives to make county government’s work possible and public services and programs available. The FY 2024 budget fully funds ($18.9 million) in addressing a salary and benefit study showing the county’s salary grade structure was below market by an average 6.1%. A MED-ACT market review at $2.6 million and $13.2 million for the Sheriff’s Office also have been transitioned as on-going funding step plans in 2024.
“This budget focuses heavily on retaining employees and attracting talent,” said Postoak Ferguson. “County employees are the backbone of this organization. When we invest in them, they are driven and empowered to provide the best customer service experiences and best public services possible for our residents.”
Highlights of the budget include:
- A Capital Improvement Program totaling $376.8 million. Most of the funded requests focus on maintenance of existing capital assets. The CIP includes funding for improvements now underway at the Nelson Wastewater Treatment Facility in Mission and $83.4 million for construction of a new Human Services Building for Mental Health and the Department of Health and Environment.
- Other CIP funding includes:
- $23.3 million for Park and Recreation capital projects
- $21.5 million for the Stormwater Management Program
- $18.1 million for the County Assistance Road System (CARS) program
- $10.4 million for library projects
- $7.8 million for airport projects
- $1 million for design costs for a video court project at the New Century Adult Detention Center
- 4 FTEs for problem-solving beds to provide support to individuals transitioning from incarceration back into the community; 10 Sheriff’s Office FTEs previously authorized as temporary positions to provide support for court security and detention, 9 FTEs for MED-ACT including 2 for a new Community Paramedicine program, as well as new positions for Mental Health Center, District Attorney’s Office and Department of Aging and Human Services.
- Increased funding to the Election Office for the 2024 presidential election and an additional presidential primary election.
By state law, Kansas counties must adopt and file by Oct. 1, their FY 2024 budget with the county clerk, which in Johnson County is the Department of Treasury, Taxation and Vehicles (TTV).
The final setting of the FY 2024 mill levy will be established by the end of October with the latest property valuations by TTV. Johnson County property owners will receive their tax statements after Nov. 1. The county’s fiscal year begins on Jan. 1, 2024.
Details about the FY 2024 Budget, previous budgets and budget process are available at jocogov.org/budget.