Commission looks for further reductions

By Bryan Richardson

City staff members are seeking direction on further reductions to the 2015 budget for the final work session on the topic July 22.

The Flint Hills Discovery Center budget and business plan also will be a topic of discussion.

Currently, the proposed 2015 city budget is around $134.3 million with a mill levy of 44.936 mills, an increase of around $3.5 million, or 1.512 mills, from 2014.

Considering the average home valuation has increased 2.3 percent, a homeowner paying $499.38 for a $100,000 in 2014 would pay $528.65 for a $102,300 home in 2015.

At the first budget work session on May 27, the 2015 budget was $135.025 million with a levy of 46.078 mills, an increase of 2.654 mills from 2014.

One of the big differences in budget development since then is removing a $250,000 sales tax transfer to the bond and interest fund, which reduced the 2015 city mill levy by 1 mill.

Mayor Wynn Butler said he wanted to look for additional savings such as the city’s business travel budget, which he said is around $200,000.

He singled out stopping the use of tax dollars on sending city officials to the annual regional leadership retreat in Overland Park.

“That would set the example we’re absolutely serious about the budget,” Butler said.

Commissioner Usha Reddi said conferences are important for getting ideas and promoting Manhattan. She said she doesn’t want the trip to seem like a fringe benefit.

Reddi, a first-grade teacher at Ogden Elementary, said she takes unpaid personal days and makes substitute plans in order to travel on city business.

“Neither one of them is something I want to do, but this is the dedication and commitment we made as commissioners,” she said.

A public hearing on the 2015 city budget will be held Aug. 5.









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