Lawrence City Commission to hold public hearings on budget that will increase property taxes

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The Lawrence City Commission on Tuesday will hold its annual hearings on the proposed city budget, which will include property tax increases.

The estimated mill levy for the new budget is 33.207 mills, which is the same as the 2023 budget.

However, because assessed valuations have increased, the city will see an increase in revenue from property taxes. The owner of a home valued at $250,000 would pay approximately $955 to the city in property taxes for 2024.

The memo to Lawrence city commissioners in Tuesday’s agenda says the city wishes to add five new firefighter/paramedic positions, which the memo says will reduce overtime by $177,000, and ultimately increase costs to the city by $280,000. The department is funded jointly by the city and county; Douglas County would contribute $140,000.

The city also wishes to add an assistant director to the finance department ($136,000), add back the golf professional and maintenance worker to the Parks and Recreation department ($163,000), and add $254,000 to the police budget in the Kansas Fights Addiction Fund. The city also plans to reduce one legal assistant position that will be vacated by a retirement before the end of the year for a savings of $83,000.

The city’s total recommended budget is about $472.3 million.

The commission must hold a hearing on exceeding the revenue neutral rate as well as on the 2024 budget.

At this point in the budget process, commissioners could still lower the mill levy, but they cannot increase it. Commissioners will cast their final votes on the budget on Sept. 5.

Commissioners will meet for the public hearings at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 22 at Lawrence City Hall, 6 E. Sixth St. The meeting will also be livestreamed on the city’s YouTube channel, youtube.com/@lawrenceksvideo.

Commissioners hear public comment in person and via Zoom; click here to register for the Zoom meeting. Written public comments can be submitted to ccagendas@lawrenceks.org until noon the day of the meeting.

See the full meeting agenda at this link.

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Mackenzie Clark (she/her), reporter/founder of The Lawrence Times, can be reached at mclark (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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Kaw Valley Almanac for May 27 – June 2, 2024

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