Mill Levy Raises Despite Approval Of 2014 Topeka Budget

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW)__It took six total votes and over four hours of discussion but city council members approved a 2014 budget for the Capital City by a vote of 6-4.

In the end, council members made nearly $2.3 million dollars in cuts but the mill levy will still be raised 3.9 mills, a 20% increase from 2012. For homeowners, it means about $45 more on a $100,000 dollar home.

Seeing his colleagues in a dead lock District 9 council member Richard Harmon provided the swing vote in approving the budget, but increasing the mill levy year after year is something he says the city cannot sustain.

"We are going to have be committed at how we look into making cuts to public safety in the future. It's going to tough and very hard to do, but we have to have the political courage to go through with it."

City council members seemed to be stuck on what amount to allow City Manager Jim Colson for cuts to expenditures, they decided upon $346,000. Then the 9 member council was able to approve a balanced budget that looked at the mill levy and cuts.

Colson sided with this approach, saying, "I think everybody agreed from the beginning that we needed a hybrid approach. So council members decided to vote on a budget and move this city into prosperity going forward."

Council members also voted to cut several positions, including a finance position, a survey crew member in public works, and the city attorney's office manager position.

Earlier in the meeting council members voted to outsource services of security for the council chambers but the motion was revisited and members voted to keep contract security employees.

A city budget manager will also be added in 2014, a position left vacant in 2013.


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