Friday, March 25, 2016

Tax Lid Negative Impacts for Shawnee

It is estimated by using the last budget cycle that if the tax lid were in place then it would have resulted in between $400K-$800K of lost revenue. We have not had a mill levy increase in 10 years because we were able to capture property value growth, even during the recession. The needs in the community continue to grow as the city grows and we currently struggle to meet all of those needs in our existing budget. Additionally, by not allowing us to capture the growth once an incentivized project comes onto the tax rolls would kill us as it would be impossible to support the growth if we can’t capture the growth. Example, we like to have X # of police per capita. We build more commercial and homes out west but then are not allowed to capture the growth to grow our police,fire, and public works accordingly. If they want mill levy increases  to go to the ballot, fine, but don’t take  our valuation growth away from us.


Here are a few of them:


·         Our fire response times in Western Shawnee continue to grow (some areas are 10-12 minute response time).We NEED two new fire stations as is with national standards per capita and geographical size. At minimum, we will need to construct a new fire station in the northwest portion of the City soon.


·         Our residents continue to respond on the citizen satisfaction survey that they want better codes enforcement, particularly for rental properties. At this point, we have a predominantly complaint driven system. To be proactive on enforcement, we will likely need to hire additional staff.


·         We continue to struggle with funding the growing need for stormwater infrastructure maintenance in our community. While we have a Stormwater Utility Fee, it is also supplemented with $750,000 of General Fund Revenue. In the past few weeks we have had a storm water pipe on Holliday drive fail costing us a million dollars and one on 73rnd and Quivira costing us $250,000. These repairs have eaten up our entire budget for storm water leaving no additional funds for proactive maintenance to prevent these emergency failure repairs.


·         Our Police Department is looking to implement body cameras. As you know this is a best practice in the profession and something community members and even legislators are wanting cities to move towards. There are significant costs to implementing their use. This cost comes from not only on the cameras themselves, but the retention and review of data.


Finally, there is something to be said about the uneven playing field everyone will find themselves in when the cap goes into place. For example the current mill levy in Shawnee is 24.536 and each mill is worth about $768K. The mill levy in Lenexa is 31.807 and each mill is worth $975K. As you can see the revenue difference is quite significant. This is not to say one community has too high of a mill levy, but it just demonstrates the disparity of revenue communities will be locked into.


They don’t like the Feds telling them what to do but they want to tell the cities what to do who provide the most impactful daily services to the residents. Their budget is an absolute mess and we are a nationwide laughing stock on Seth Meyers and other shows. The city has a very conservative and responsible budget and bond rating, they do  not., They are so far in  debt they will never see daylight. are they wanting to put us in the same mess they are in? Not only do none of them understand local government, none of them bothered to respond to, or reach out to the local governments they claim to represent to understand the impact. Instead, they don’t allow for input and pass bull s**t under cloak and dagger in the middle of the night.
The ONLY reason they did it was because they raised the largest sales tax in history and had to save political face by putting a lid on us!! That way they can say yeah we raised your sales tax BUT we stopped your property tax. It was a complete political and self serving move. NOT what's BEST for the communities they represent!
Add to that, State Sen Mary Pilcher-Cook voted against the emergency personnel exemption to the tax lid and State Rep Brett Hildebrand voted against the mutual aid bill.
What is going on?