Overland Park & Leawood

Overland Park approves tax increase to pay for road repairs, police positions

The Overland Park tax rate increase will raise about $3.1 million, most of which would go to speed up reconstruction on aging city streets.
The Overland Park tax rate increase will raise about $3.1 million, most of which would go to speed up reconstruction on aging city streets. File photo

Without much fanfare, the Overland Park City Council approved a 2017 budget that calls for a tax rate increase of 0.96 mills to pay for street repairs and more police.

The council voted 11-1 on the final budget. The lone no vote was from council member Paul Lyons.

The total budget is $278.6 million, but that includes non-operating expenses such as debt service and a designated fund for street improvements paid with a sales tax. Operating expenses will be $123.3 million.

It’s the first mill rate increase since 2011.

The tax rate increase will raise about $3.1 million, most of which would go to speed up reconstruction on aging city streets. About $2.65 million will enable the city to double the number of lane miles from one to two per year that will be rebuilt.

The remainder of the revenue increase will be used to add six positions to the police department.

The budget also includes a $6 increase in the stormwater utility fee to start a curb replacement program.

Lyons said he opposed the budget because he felt the tax rate increase came “late in the process.” A budget with a stormwater fee increase but no mill rate increase had been worked out at first, but was later amended to include the street and police items.

Also at the meeting, the council learned that the popular new splash pad at Roe Park, 10400 Roe Ave., is being closed early because of concerns that water is getting outside the area designers expected. City Manager Bill Ebel said the situation poses a potential safety risk if the water meets any electrical current.

The splash pad is one of the most popular features at the park, which was only opened last week after its $2.5 million renovation.

It was due to be closed Labor Day, but will close early so experts can be consulted on how to safely reopen it, Ebel said.

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