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‘Good news’ and ‘taxes’ not mutually exclusive terms

Overland Park residents will be taxed at a lower rate in 2018 because of the city’s relatively stable financial situation and strong property values.
Overland Park residents will be taxed at a lower rate in 2018 because of the city’s relatively stable financial situation and strong property values. file photo

Overland Park residents will be taxed at a lower rate in 2018 because of the city’s relatively stable financial situation and strong property values.

The city recently gave final approval to a $292 million budget, which is a 4.9 percent increase from the current year. Of that, $128 million is for day-to-day operating expenses.

The unanimous vote set the taxing rate at 13.55 mills, a decrease of .25 mills from this year. That doesn’t necessarily mean total tax bills will be lower, though. Property taxes are tied to a home’s value, and values were generally higher in the county this year. The owner of a $300,000 home in Overland Park would pay $467 in taxes for city services next year.

The budget anticipates an 11 percent increase in major maintenance projects but a decrease in debt service of about 20 percent.

It also adds 11.55 full-time-equivalent positions to the city work force of 1,077.46. Sales tax revenues are projected to grow by about $6 million – or about 8.7 percent – next year due to the new .25 percent sales tax to build a county courthouse. The county shares that revenue with the cities. Without the courthouse tax, the sales tax growth rate would be 3.3 percent.

The city council also has moved forward on a visioning plan by appointing 25 people to the steering committee. The committee includes a mix of city and county leaders and staff as well community leaders, with Greg Musil and Brenda Sharpe as co-chairs.

The visioning plan is intended to get public residents thinking about what direction they want Overland Park to take in coming years. Council members started discussing it in 2016 and named consultant Planning NEXT to get the process started.

The steering committee will meet Sept. 20 to discuss how to get the public input. A kickoff event is tentatively planned for January, 2018.

In other action, the council set a public hearing for Sept. 18 on a special taxing district to support a mixed use development on the northwest corner of 115th Street and Nall Avenue. Developers are asking for a 1 percent sales tax in the area, which is on land owned by Sprint.

The $182 million development would include apartments, retail, grocery, entertainment and office space, with an expected completion in 2020.

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