Hillsboro Mayor goes over city budget process

We just published the 2020 Budget for the City of Hillsboro. The published mill levy for 2020 is 45.87 mills. At this point, this is an increase of 1.702 mills over the 2019 budgeted mill levy of 44.168. Now before you start calling your city councilman, we still have our Budget Hearing on August 13 at 4:00 PM where we will hopefully hear from you, the public on our budget and it will be a time for the council to consider making adjustments to the budget prior to its adoption.

As we are talking about the mill levy, some historical information for your consideration; our mill levy has stayed fairly flat and in the mid 40s for the last 10 years or so. We do compare favorably to our Marion County neighbors; Marion’s mill levy is 71.117 and Peabody is at 101.553 compared to our 44.168. This is primarily a factor of our size and valuation. Hillsboro has the largest metro population and also the largest valuation base compared to our sister cities in Marion County.

I can tell you that without our valuation we would be paying a lot more for the services (police, fire, streets, etc.) that we have all come to expect and enjoy.

Some additional factors to consider when you look at your total property tax bill. It’s not just about the City of Hillsboro’s levy. Here is the breakdown for all the pieces of the pie that make up your total property tax mill levy of 181.694 mills; Marion County requires 74.237 mills (40.86%) to take care of county roads and services, USD 410 needs 61.789 mills (34.01%) to provide the excellent education our children receive and then comes the city’s 44.168 mills (24.31%) and finally the State of Kansas adds a 1.5 mill levy (0.82%) on the top.

I can promise you that a lot of work has already gone into the budget to minimize the impact to the mill levy. The problem that we have is no different than any of us has in trying to manage our family budget, things we all need cost more each year. Finding creative ways to balance our city budget requires a lot of work and attention. It’s something that your City Council and I take very seriously.

No one wants to pay more taxes, but at the same time, I don’t believe anyone wants to receive less in services or amenities to live in Hillsboro. So I would encourage everyone who has a concern about our city budget to join us in the council room on the 13th of August at 4:00 PM. I look forward to hearing from you!

Thanks!

I can’t thank everyone enough who has participated in our East Grand Avenue Rebuild Project. The folks that have come out to lay bricks in the sweltering conditions are an amazing bunch. I got a kick out of one of our volunteers who took the time to tell me that citizens from all walks of life and position were all out “doing the exact same thing”. I would say that is a great example of democracy in action!

Of course we aren’t quite done, so we will appreciate your continued help as we work to finish this awesome project.

Final Thoughts

I spent a lot of time talking about budgets and I would like to close this week’s column by telling you that we have not just been working on a year-to-year plan. We have some long term strategies under consideration that will help us to manage our city business in the years to come. We know that we have to be planning ahead, and not just for the next budget year.

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