City and county governments are nearing the end of the 2020 budget process.

Riley County is looking at a total 2020 budget of $68.39 million, a $6.5 million or 10.5% increase from the 2019 budget. It includes $28.3 million in property tax revenues, with an increase of 2.148 mills to 43.062 mills in the property tax rate.

A mill is $1 in taxes for every $1,000 in assessed, taxable property.

Based on a 0.4% increase in the average value of a house in Riley County, the 2.148-mill increase means that a homeowner paying $470.55 in 2019 county taxes for a $100,000 house in 2019 would pay $497.23 for a $100,400 home in 2020. This is an increase of $26.68 or 5.67%.

Some of the budget’s largest proposed expenses include its general fund ($34.7 million), the county’s share of the RCPD budget ($5.1 million) and capital improvements fund ($9 million).

County budget officer Tami Robison said the capital improvements fund does not affect the ad valorem tax, and it is unlikely all the funds would be used in the next fiscal year.

For example, officials projected $9.38 million, but the county currently projects to spend $4.6 million from the fund.

Robison said about $863,000 of that fund in 2020 is earmarked for debt payments and almost $2 million has not been earmarked for anything in particular. The money is meant to fund proposed projects or purchases that were not budgeted from county entities throughout the year.

Robison said some of the challenging items the county has had to work around is the county absorbing the nearly $1 million costs of installing emergency radio network infrastructure and $638,000 to account for an additional county payroll period.

Commissioners said they may look at potential cuts before a public hearing on the budget July 29.

The city is looking at a total budget of $164.04 million, an $8.1 million increase or 5.2% from 2019.

City officials are also looking at reducing its proposed tax rate increase.

City finance director Bernie Hayen proposed at a commission work session to cut 1.19 mills out of the proposed 1.657-mill increase.

A mill is $1 in taxes for every $1,000 in assessed, taxable property.

This reduction brings the proposed property tax rate for 2020 down to 49.82 mills, a 0.47-mill increase over the 2019 rate of 49.35 mills.

Based on a 0.4% increase in the average value of a home within Manhattan, the proposed 0.47-mill increase means a homeowner paying $567.58 in city taxes for a home worth $100,000 in 2019 would pay $575.22 for a home worth $100,400 in 2020. That’s an increase of $7.64 or 1.34%.

Hayen said the city could lessen the property tax increase by using sales tax revenue from the economic development fund to pay a portion of the Manhattan Conference Center and Manhattan Regional Airport debt payments.

The increases in the general fund, the city’s largest operating fund, are mainly attributed to rising costs of expenses such as employee salaries and benefits, as well as nine proposed positions.

Hayen said these positions all have some sort of revenue component involved and would be instrumental in helping generate more revenue for the city.

The commission will have one last budget work session on July 25 before it will publish the 2020 budget. After that, officials cannot change the proposed expenditure amounts except to decrease them.

The Manhattan-Ogden school board is in the early stages of its 2020 budget development.