Manhattan city commissioners on Tuesday approved the 2020 budget with a 1.5% increase in property taxes from 2019.
The vote was 3-2, with commissioners Jerred McKee and Wynn Butler opposed.
“I can’t support the budget because … we could knock the rest of that (increase) out of there if we had to,” Butler said. “It just isn’t the willpower to do it.”
McKee said he didn’t like how the increase would affect lower- and middle-income people.
Commissioners Usha Reddi and Linda Morse — who voted in favor of the budget along with Mayor Michael Dodson — both defended the increase, and they said it benefits the city as a whole.
“This is an ever-so-slight increase that we should be able to tolerate and make it work for us,” Morse said. “I am committed as usual to giving our employees raises. That has to be the last thing before the lights go out kind of approach, because we ask a lot of them.”
The property tax rate for 2020 is proposed at 49.76 mills, a .41-mill increase from the 2019 rate of 49.36. A mill is $1 in tax for every $1,000 in assessed, taxable property value.
Based on a 0.7% increase in the average value of a home in Manhattan, a .41-mill increase means a homeowner paying $567.58 in city taxes for a home worth $100,000 in 2019 would pay $576.24 in taxes for a home worth $100,700 in 2020.
That is an increase of $8.66 or 1.5%.
The total 2020 budget is $163.9 million, an increase of $9.5 million or 6.15% from 2019.
The property tax total comes in at $29.14 million in 2020, which is an increase of $757,816 or 2.7% from 2019.
No individuals spoke about the budget during the public hearing portion of the meeting.
The city also approved the first reading of an ordinance aimed at increasing reclaiming fees for pets at the T. Russell Reitz Animal Shelter. If a pet is registered with the city, reclaiming a pet will cost $40, which is a $10 increase. When a pet is not registered, the owner must register the pet and pay a $50 fee, which is also a $10 increase.
In addition, the city commission approved the first reading of an ordinance rezoning the Colbert Hills Stay and Play complex. The rezoning proposes the construction of an indoor practice facility for the Kansas State University men’s and women’s golf teams as well as two 6,000-square-foot lodges.
The proposed lodges are available for rent for golfers and other individuals.
The construction of the lodging is first, with no timeline set for the practice facility.
Additionally, commissioners approved an amendment of a city ordinance allowing contractors to change the Lee Mill Village planned unit development. The change aims to allow construction of a potential clubhouse as well as the reduction of off-street parking spaces. Seventeen of the 52 lots are developed.
Commissioners also approved the first reading of an ordinance establishing an equipment reserve fund for the city. The reserve aims to fund future projects within the city.
“I’m not a big fan of it, but I will support it,” Morse said.