Council pushes back budget amendments again; discuss mill levy

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Topeka's governing body will wait another two weeks to iron out their spending plan for 2020.

When it came time to discuss amendments to next year’s budget, Deputy Mayor Sandra Clear proposed increasing the mill levy by a small amount this year, so they don't have to raise it by a large amount next year.

“Next year we're either going to have to cut more or we have to raise the mill levy and that’s what I am under the impression that will happen,” Clear said. “Instead of hitting people with five mills increase in one year, do one this year, two next year and maybe two the next.”

Councilwoman Karen Hiller said to avoid any mill levy increases, the council and staff should look harder for efficiencies.

“Each of us brings a different lens on what's happening and background that we can bring to the table,” Hiller said. “We owe it to ourselves as a team with the staff, as well as the citizens, to spend that time and to look for those and to suggest those economies and efficiencies."

Hiller added that a utilities increase is already on its way and she doesn't want to double down on making people pay more.

“I'm already looking at that happening to our rate payers and citizens,” Hiller said. “I don’t want to incrementally raise the property tax just to take it easy."

But Clear said the more citizens want from the city, the more money they will need.

"You’ve got to keep up and it takes more money every year,” Clear said. “It takes the city more money every year."

The amendments to the budget will need to be done and voted on by the council's next meeting on July 23, so they can set the public hearing for the August 13 meeting.