Johnson County sets maximum authority for proposed FY 2024 Budget
On Thursday, June 29, the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners set the maximum proposed FY 2024 Budget at just over $1.79 billion for legal publication. It is comprised of $1.26 billion in expenditures and $528.64 million in reserves. Once published, it cannot be increased, but it can be decreased before being adopted.
Information on the mill levies
The proposed FY 2024 Budget includes a mill levy rollback in the county’s total property tax levy to an estimated 24.319 mills (a 0.289 mill levy reduction when compared to the FY 2023 mill levy). Due to pending exemptions, once assessed valuation is finalized in October, the mill levy is estimated at 24.358 or a 0.250 mill levy reduction. One mill equals $1 on every $1,000 of a homeowner’s assessed valuation.
“In this budget, we are able to fund the programs and services upon which our residents rely, ensure equitable pay for our workforce, and still be fiscally responsible in balancing our 2024 budget by again rolling back the mill levy rate for our residents. If approved, this will be the sixth mill levy rollback in seven years,” said BOCC Chairman Mike Kelly.
Even prior to the proposed mill levy reduction, Johnson County has had the lowest rate among the state’s 105 counties for several years. The estimated mill levies in 2024 for Johnson County’s three taxing districts are:
- 17.522 mills for the county taxing district
- 3.815 mills for Johnson County Library
- 3.021 mills for Johnson County Park and Recreation District
What is in the FY 2024 proposed budget?
As in past years, the proposed FY 2024 budget aligns with the BOCC’s priorities and feedback from the annual community survey. It also addresses some of the challenges of our current economic uncertainty, including high inflation, higher-than-typical county employee turnover and a decrease in job applicants compared to prior years. A key budget priority was addressing a recent comprehensive salary and benefits study showing the county’s salary grade structure was below market by an average 6.1%.
“A skilled, high quality workforce is imperative to serving our community,” said County Manager Penny Postoak Ferguson. “This budget addresses our below-market salary structure, builds in funding to address the inflation we are facing and adds a few enhancements that align with the priorities of our board and our community. In addition, it allows us to continue to provide high quality programs and services for our community.”
Highlights of the proposed budget include:
- A Capital Improvement Program totaling $376.8 million. Most of the funded requests focus on maintenance of existing capital assets. It includes funding for improvements now underway at the Nelson Wastewater Treatment Facility in Mission and construction of a new Human Services Building for Mental Health and the Department of Health and Environment.
- The CIP also includes $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.
- Fully funding the salary and benefit study at $18.9 million, the MED-ACT market review at $2.6 million, and transitioning the Sheriff’s Office $13.2 million step plan from one-time to ongoing funding.
- A 5% combined merit increase, and market movement is recommended for county employees.
Next steps: public hearing and budget adoption
The estimated proposed budgets for all three taxing districts (County, Library and JCPRD) for FY 2024 exceed the respective revenue neutral rates, requiring a revenue neutral rate hearing prior to the adoption of the budget. The June 29 board action also included notifying the county clerk of the proposed intent to exceed the revenue neutral rate and setting the public hearing/revenue neutral rate hearing.
The proposed FY 2024 Budget public hearing and revenue neutral rate hearing will take place at 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 21, in the board’s hearing room on the third floor of the Johnson County Administration Building, 111 South Cherry St., in downtown Olathe. Entrance into the building will be through the east doors from Cherry Street. The public hearings will provide an opportunity for the public to learn more about the proposed budget and comment on how county services are financed.
Two other opportunities for the public to learn about the budget and ask questions took place on June 22 (Olathe) and June 27 (Mission).
“The residents who attended one of our budget open houses had very engaging and robust discussions with staff, and several said they were highly satisfied with the event,” said Chairman Kelly. “We welcome the public’s input, which is essential to the budget process, as the board finalizes the FY 2024 budget.”
The board is scheduled to adopt the final FY 2024 Budget resolution during its regular public business session at its 9:30 a.m. meeting, on Thursday, Aug. 31, in the board’s hearing room the Administration Building. By state law, Kansas counties must adopt and file by Oct. 1.
Details about the proposed FY 2024 Budget, current FY 2023 Budget, previous budgets and budget process are available at jocogov.org/budget.