Memorandum

City of Lawrence

City Manager’s Office

 

DATE:

06/14/12

TO:

David L. Corliss, City Manager

FROM:

Casey Toomay, Budget Manager

CC:

Cynthia Wagner, Assistant City Manager

Diane Stoddard, Assistant City Manager

Jonathan Douglass, Assistant to the City Manager / City Clerk

RE:

Mill Levy Option for 2013 Budget

 

Pursuant to your request, information on an optional increase to the general operating fund mill levy to provide increased resources for police resources and pavement marking for the 2013 budget is provided below.

 

Background

The City’s total mill levy is currently 28.612 mills.  The breakdown by fund is as follows:

 

General Operating Fund

16.639

Debt Service Fund

8.510

Library Fund

3.463

Total

28.612

 

For purposes of building the 2013 budget, it is assumed that the assessed valuation will decrease one percent.  This means that one mill is equivalent to approximately $848,000.   When budgeting revenues from property tax, the City only assumes that we will receive ninety-seven percent of the revenue generated by the mill rate.   The difference can be attributed to property tax appeals and late tax payments. 

 

Mill Increases Needed To Address Commission Priorities

A mill levy increase of 0.77 mill would provide an additional $635,000 in 2013.  These funds could be used toward addressing two of the priorities of the City Commission – police resources and pavement markings. 

 

Police equipment.  One of the top priorities of the police department is increased operating funds for equipment.  Due to limited resources in recent years, funding for the provision for maintenance and replacement of equipment and technology has not been incorporated into the department’s operating budgets.  Instead these needs have been provided through the use of one-time funds.  By increasing the mill levy, it would be possible to provide an ongoing revenue stream to support an increase in the baseline police department budget in the general fund.  An increase of .36 mill would provide $300,000 of additional resources for the department.  The attached memo provides a plan for how those funds would be spent over the next four years.

 

Police staffing.  One of the top priorities of the police department is additional staffing.  A multi-year plan has been developed and staff has created a model to project the costs and the revenue requirements to fund that plan.  The police department has indicated that additional officers for patrol is the most immediate need.  An increase of .33 mill would provide 3 additional positions, as well as equipment, training, one additional vehicle, fuel, and maintenance. 

 

Pavement marking.   The City has not been able to devote appropriate annual resources to pavement marking in the community.   To help address this issue, the City Commission authorized  the purchase of a paint striping machine in 2011.  The one-time purchase was made with proceeds from the infrastructure sales tax.  An increase of 0.07 mill would provide an on-going revenue increase for pavement marking supplies and maintenance of the machine.  While other resources (e.g. infrastructure sales tax) could assist in this effort, this would only mean a reduction in available resources for continued street maintenance.

 

Conclusion

A mill levy of .77 mill would allow for an ongoing revenue increase in the General Fund.  The increase could be used to address some of the Commission’s top priorities – police resources and pavement marking.  The increase would bring the total city mill levy to 29.382 mills.