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City commission approves 2020 budget

During its regular meeting Wednesday at City Hall, the Concordia city commission approved a fiscal year 2020 operating budget which calls for a slight decrease in the estimated tax rate.
The vote by the commission to approve the budget followed a budget hearing during which nobody spoke.
The proposed budget authority for expenditures for 2020 is $9,633,068 with an estimated tax rate of 57.309 mills.
Expenditures for 2019 totaled $7,916,263 with an actual tax rate of 57.310 mills.
The tax rate to fund the 2018 budget was 57.143 mills.
The assessed valuation for the city has increased from $23,599,777 in 2019 to $23,919,653. One mill in 2020 will generate approximately $23,920 as compared to $23,617 in 2019.
The 2020 budget calls for $5,132,530 in spending for the general fund with an estimated tax rate of 37.259 mills as compared to $4,298,605 in expenditures in 2019 with a tax rate of 36.287 mills.
Information provided the commissioners by city finance director Amber Farha stated that the budget includes an increase in transfers to the equipment reserve fund of $115,040 and an increase in transfers to the capital improvement projects fund of $66,000.
A cost of living adjustment of 2.5 percent for all employees will amount to $65,912 and longevity pay increases (STEP increases) will remain intact at approximately $6,754.
There is no change in the health insurance costs for 2020.
The budget includes an increase in payments to the Cloud County Resource Council of $2,000 and Cloud Village of $1,200.
The city will allocate $20,000 towards the rehabilitation of the tennis courts and basketball court in City Park.
Also during the meeting, the commission approved two resolutions setting a public condemnation hearing for September 18, at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall for a house located at 603 Matthew St. and a garage located at 303 West Second St.
City building inspector Bruno Rehbein informed that commission that the house at 603 Matthew St. is uninhabitable. He was asked to evaluate it by the Concordia Fire Department because of conditions they found during a visit by the Division of Children and Families.
“So we are going to set a public hearing and see if they respond and see what we can do,” Rehbein said.
The garage at 303 West Second St. had been damaged by a fire and was in danger of falling down.
The commission approved placing a house owned by Dave Clemons at 316 East 14th St. in the city’s demolition program.
Information provided to the commission stated that the house has been vacant and a blighted influence on the neighborhood for years.
The commission authorized city manager Amy Lange to sign the contract with the owner based on the lowest bid of $7,500 from Koch Excavating. The reimbursement amount will be $3,750.
Charter Ordinance No. 26 was approved by the commission  repealing Charter Ordinance No. 24 concerning the election and tenure of city commissioners.
The Kansas State Legislature in 2015 changed the local elections from April to November. That changed the date that commissioners took office to January.
The state statute called for city officials to take office on the second Monday of January, meaning the city needed to have a meeting on that date rather than have someone taking office too soon or risking a lapse of a few days.
Senate Bill 105, which took effect in July of this year, allows cities to choose when they will swear in new officials and permit them to take office. The earliest it can happen is December 1, and the latest is the second Monday in January.
City Clerk Stacey Smith informed the commissioners that staff had decided that the final meeting in December would be the best time to swear in new commissioners.
An ordinance to set the time and place of the regular commission meetings for the commission room at City Hall at 5:30 p.m. on the first and third Wednesdays each month, except when those days fall on legal holidays, and may be adjourned from time, was approved by the commission.


Concordia Blade-Empire

510 Washington St.
Concordia, KS 66901