Human Resource Director Jamie Madison, left, Atchison County Vice-chairman Eric Noll, Chairman Jack Bower and Commissioner Henry W. “Bill” Pohl review and discuss the 2020 budget proposal during a workshop Wednesday in the commission room at the courthouse.

Although the mill levy county leaders are sending in for publication shows more than a half a mill increase, expectations are there might be a decrease in the proposed mill levy yet to come.

County Commissioners Chairman Jack Bower, Vice-chairman Eric Noll and Commissioner Henry W. “Bill” Pohl gathered for a special workshop session for more than two hours Wednesday, Aug. 7, with Human Resource Director Jamie Madison to review the projections. Commissioners agree they can reduce the mill levy, but they can’t increase it after publication of the proposed budget.

The proposed mill levy for the 2020 budget year checks in at 53.903 mills that shows a .766 mill increase from the current year. However, commissioners were in agreement they expect to meet with department heads to determine how to make more reductions to possibly reduce the mill levy as well as look at what special revenue funding might be available to utilize.

Each mill on the budget carries a value of $172,454 based on the county’s assessed valuation calculated from the 2019 assessment figures.

A public hearing will be at 1:05 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 20 in the commission room at the Atchison County Courthouse, 423 N. Fifth St. for citizens to voice concerns, objections or ask questions.

Even though the notice of hearing has been sent to the newspaper of record for publication in the Saturday, Aug. 10, Atchison Globe edition, commissioners agreed the publication represents a request for the authority to spend an amount not to exceed about $9.3 million in taxpayer dollars on expenditures.

This compares to about $8.6 million in taxes levied for the current year. If the proposed mill levy is approved as published taxpayers who own a $100,000 dollar home will pay about $619.89 in 2020 property taxes on their house. That is an increase of about $8.81 from their current year’s tax bill. To avoid any property tax increase, commissioners would have to meet a 49.936 mill levy according to Globe’s rollback rate calculations.

At the start of the workshop on Wednesday, the initial look at the budget reflected a 55.674 mill rate to raise about $9.6 million in property taxes, despite the calculated “desired mill rate of 54.137 mills” at the start of the workshop. Commissioners agreed they would be making some cuts to the rough draft. Less than two hours later, they reached their proposed mill rate.

Some variables might determine whether or not a lower mill levy will result when the 2020 budget is said and done. During preparations one of the main concerns is the costs of benefits including health insurance and wages. That topic and a review of wish list priorities are what commissioners indicated they plan to discuss with county department heads.

Bower said he would like to be able to lower the mill levy about $150,000 more for taxpayers.

Mary Meyers can be reached


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