Johnson County sets maximum authority for proposed FY 2023 Budget

The front entrance of Johnson County Administration Building.

On Thursday, June 23, the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners reached consensus on the proposed Fiscal Year 2023 Operating and Capital Improvement Budget for legal publication on July 8.

The proposed FY 2023 Budget includes a full mill rollback in the county’s total property tax levy to an estimated 24.542 mills (a 1.026 mill levy reduction when compared to the FY 2022 mill levy). Due to pending exemptions, once assessed valuation is finalized in October, the mill levy is estimated at 24.568 or a 1.000 mill levy reduction.

The proposal lowers Johnson County’s three taxing districts, including 0.82 mills for the county taxing district, 0.10 mills for Johnson County Library and 0.08 mills for Johnson County Park and Recreation District.

If approved, this would be Johnson County’s fifth mill levy reduction in six years.

Even prior to the proposed mill levy reduction, Johnson County has had the lowest rate among the state’s 105 counties for several years – despite being the most populous county in Kansas.

“Because we’ve been fiscally responsible in the past, we can lower the mill levy again this year,” said BOCC Chairman Ed Eilert. “Our goal with this budget is to provide some relief to individuals and families. To do that, we are cutting property tax rates across the board.”

By agreeing to this authority and publishing the proposed budget, board members have set the maximum proposed FY 2023 Budget at $1,651,649,184, comprised of $1,162,881,734 in expenditures and $488,767,450 in reserves.

“The budget, as published, cannot be increased, but it can go down,” Chairman Eilert said. “This is not the final budget vote, we have a public hearing scheduled, and we welcome the public’s input.”

That public hearing will be held at 6 p.m., on Monday, Aug. 22, in the Johnson County Administration Building, 111 South Cherry St., in downtown Olathe.

The estimated proposed budgets for all three taxing districts (County, Library and JCPRD) for FY 2023 exceed the respective revenue neutral rates, requiring a revenue neutral rate hearing prior to the adoption of the budget.

“While reducing the mill levy rate, the proposed FY 2023 Budget uses more property tax revenue in the next budget year compared to the current year,” said Scott Neufeld, Johnson County budget and financial planning director and interim bureau chief.

Additional revenue traditionally is received from newly built homes and businesses and/or increased property valuations. This practice is commonplace and has been occurring for the past several decades with continued economic development and population growth in Johnson County and its cities.

The proposed FY 2023 Budget enhances county efforts for recruitment, retention and compensation of county employees in a challenging labor market, increased voluntary employee turnover and a low unemployment rate. 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.

The budget plan also includes additional personnel to meet increased demands for public services and public safety. Staffing includes 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, a new housing coordinator to focus on housing insecurity and affordability for the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment, and three Johnson County Mental Health Center positions.

Johnson County will also continue to invest in infrastructure. Projects funded in the proposed FY 2023 Budget’s Capital Improvement Program include $23.3 million for the Stormwater management Program, $21.8 million for Commerce Center phase II at the New Century AirCenter and $17.2 million for the County Assistance Road System (CARS) program.

Almost $10 million has been earmarked for a new MED-ACT facility in Olathe, and $5.5 million for Johnson County Library projects. Approximately $20 million will fund improvements and enhancements at county parks.

The budget public hearing and revenue neutral rate hearing at 6 p.m., Aug. 22, in the board’s hearing room on the third floor of the Johnson County Administration Building will provide an opportunity for the public to learn more about the proposed budget and comment on how county services are financed. Entrance into the building will be through the east doors from Cherry Street.

The board is scheduled to adopt the final FY 2023 Budget resolution during its regular business session at its 9:30 a.m. meeting, on Thursday, Sept. 1.

By state law, Kansas counties must adopt and file by Oct. 1, their FY 2023 budget with the County Clerk, which in Johnson County is the Department of Treasury, Taxation and Vehicles (TTV) if they exceed the revenue neutral rate.

The final setting of the FY 2023 mill levy will be established by the end of October with the latest property valuations by TTV.

The county’s fiscal year begins on Jan. 1, 2023.

Details about the proposed FY 2023 Budget, current FY 2022 Budget, previous budgets and budget process are available online.

Board of County Commissioners
Budget and Financial Planning
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