Lyon County Courthouse

The Emporia Gazette

The Lyon County Commission approved the 2022 budget during its Thursday morning meeting at the Lyon County Courthouse.

The budget shows a 1.5 mill decrease to the mill levy.

The commission also approved a resolution to exceed the revenue neutral rate — or the difference between past and current year valuations. Taxing entities have been passing resolutions like these as a result of Senate Bill 13, which requires governing bodies to be more open with taxpayers about the budget planning process.

Commissioners also heard from Garret Nordstrom with Western Consultants who provided an update on the A-1 Pump & Jet Economic Development expansion project. A public hearing was held, during which a resident questioned why taxpayer dollars were being used to pay a consulting firm for the grant. Nordstrom advised his firm was being paid by A-1 Pump & Jet directly. The resident also asked why the loan was not made public, however, Nordstrom said all businesses are welcome to apply for these grants.

Commissioners then approved a quote from Cline Auto Supply Inc. for a 4-Post Rotary 18,000 pound vehicle left and installation in the amount of $25,920.17. The purchase will be paid from the Multi-Year Fund.

Commissioners also approved an agreement between Lyon County Community Corrections and Image Quest for a 60-month lease on three new printers for the department.

A new position within the department, an addiction recovery mentor, was also established, with a starting wage of $13.50.

(3) comments

FreeLunch

The writer forgot to mention that the Commissioners approved a 9% property tax increase for 2022. Kansas has some of the highest effective property tax rates in the nation. Kansas continually makes the top 10 list of states that people are leaving. Many of those are retirees that are going to states that are tax friendly. Kansas is one of the least tax friendly states for retirees.

Commission Chair Rollie Martin apologized for not having the person in attendance who was responsible for putting the budget together. The individual departmental financial information was not available online either much to the surprise of the Commissioners. That part of the agenda could have been tabled until he was available to answer public questions.

I don't recall seeing or hearing anything via local media about the property tax meeting scheduled for Thursday morning. I did find it on the Lyon County government website. The agenda was published on Tuesday.

Our Commissioners have a thankless job and I appreciate their willingness to serve. But, I think we need to take a deep breath and get over lockdowns, let businesses recover, then reassess later. We can make do with the current budget one more year. Yes, we know people want raises to be competitive so we don't lose them, need new equipment., etc., etc. You also don't want to lose the tax base of retirees and others leaving for a more tax friendly state.

Rationa1

A significant reason behind our property and sales tax levels is tied to the income tax reductions in 2012. When those cuts decimated the State's budget, the State was forced to reduce assistance to counties and municipalities. In turn, local governments had to increase sales and property taxes to maintain basic services and infrastructure. You want to rebalance our tax structure, tell your legislators they need to improve our tax balance. There are no lockdowns, and reassessment must be continual. Putting things off until later is how we end up with crumbling infrastructure, expensive-to-repair buildings, and the like. A 2014 study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that people generally don't leave states for taxes. In a report titled "State Taxes Have a Negligible Impact on Americans' Interstate Moves," they noted the most common reasons for U.S. residents to move to different states was to be near family or for jobs, and that retirees more commonly move for climate reasons...not taxes.

FreeLunch

There were lockdowns. Several sources, USA Today, Kiplingers, Moneywise, etc. state high state taxes encourages retirees to leave. I'm suggesting raising taxes on people who have suffered financially might need a break.

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