Organizations from across the city on Tuesday requested funds for 2020 from the Manhattan City Commission.
In a series of presentations, organizations including the Manhattan Arts Center, Aggieville Business District and Manhattan Public Library explained why each entity is an important asset to the community as they sought financial help for proposed projects and investments. Commissioners applauded the organizations for their efforts in the community.
City commissioners are examining a budget that includes a proposed 2.317-mill increase in the city’s property tax rate.
A mill is $1 in tax for every $1,000 in assessed, taxable property value.
Based on a 0.4% increase in the average value of a home in the city, the 2.317-mill increase means that a homeowner paying $567.58 in city taxes for a $100,000 home in 2019 would pay $596.60 for a $100,400 home in 2020. That’s an increase of $29.02 or 5.11%.
Social Services Advisory Committee Chair Sarah Barrett explained specific funding requests for organizations under the committee, including Big Brothers & Big Sisters and Thrive! Manhattan, among others, requesting $477,677 for 2020. This is an increase of $500 from 2019.
Special Alcohol Committee Chairwoman Jurdene Coleman discussed the impact of the committee toward several areas within the community, including USD 383, toward seeking $485,800. That amount is $4,200 less than what it requested in 2019.
Manhattan Public Library Executive Director Linda Knupp listed specific goals for 2019-20, including an effort to increase readership. The library is requesting a 4.12% increase in money for its general fund. That’s $110,700 more than it received in 2019.
The library receives its money from a dedicated property tax. The library is proposing an increase of 0.182 mills.
“To look at the budget review in our 2020 general fund, we have four sources of revenue, and 72% of all library revenue comes from the general fund. And it’s the primary source of funding for public libraries all across the state,” Knupp said. “It funds staffing, collections, equipment, supplies and the upkeep and maintenance of the building and grounds.”
Additionally, the Flint Hills Area Transportation Agency presented ridership information for the commissioners and showed popular bus stops within the city. The agency did not ask for any additional funding for 2020, requesting an amount of $129,882.
Downtown Manhattan requested $78,000 toward events and other operations for 2020, the same amount as 2018 and 2019.
The Manhattan Arts Center discussed initiatives and activities including pottery and theatre productions. The center is requesting an increase of $2,300 in 2020 for a total of $46,000.
“We would really appreciate it if you can help us to the $46,000,” said Penny Senften, Manhattan Arts Center executive director. “We have appreciated your support all these years.”
Aggieville Business District Executive Director Dennis Cook requested $60,000 toward the district’s standard operating budget in 2020, which is the same amount requested in 2018 and 2019.
“Aggieville has shown tremendous improvement this past year, and we continue to strive to be the best shopping district in Manhattan for locals, visitors and temporary residents,” Cook said.
In addition, Butler discussed using sales tax revenue from the the economic development fund as a resource to pay for some projects following the presentations by the agencies.
Commissioner Linda Morse also presented concerns about recent rain affecting Tuttle Creek with Ron Fehr, city manager, during the meeting.
“We’re watching it close,” Fehr said. “We’ll see what happens. We’re ready to ramp (emergency operations) back up again.”
The commission meets again at 7 p.m. Tuesday.