The mill levy will remain flat for USD 413’s 2019-20 budget that passed unanimously Wednesday night, with board members David Siebel and Ross Hendrickson absent. There was no public comment on the published budget.
For the 2019-20 budget, there is a total of 57 mills levied for the district, plus an additional six mills that is passed through the district for the Chanute Recreation Commission.
There some differences in where the mills will be distributed this year. Superintendent Dr. Kellen Adams said that he increased the Local Option Budget (LOB) levy from 16.445 to 19.322 mills because of cash-flow concerns from county collection issues. In Kansas, the average collection from the county is 90 percent of what is taxed; last year in Neosho County, it was 78 percent. Adams explained that in most counties, the January tax collection check amounts to about 50 percent, whereas in Neosho County, it was 35 percent. This then creates a cash-flow issue as the year winds down and leads to the school district using contingency funds to make up the difference.
“It is one of many reasons for that contingency fund,” he said.
To ensure the flat mill levy rate, he reduced the bond and interest mill levy from 16.034 to 13.678. Board Member Nathan Falk expressed concern over reducing that amount, wondering if they would need to bring it up for the next year. Adams said it was a possibility, but he felt that ensuring the cash flow for this school year was the priority, with the hope that if collections were more successful, they would have the money needed to cover their expenses and then could possibly reduce the LOB.
The capital outlay budget was also minimally lowered. The capital outlay fund provides for repair and maintenance of the district’s buildings. Last year the district levied 4.617 mills for buildings; that was lowered to an even 4 mills this year. Comparatively, the capital outlay budget was 6.897 mills in 2017-18.
The largest mill levy amount will go to the general fund at 20 mills. That amount is controlled by the state.
As is typical, the budget amounts are set conservatively high to give the district the authority to spend that amount, but there is always the option to spend less. Adjustments could also be made in November or December based upon the county’s evaluations – amounts that could change by thousands of dollars.
Board President Jeff Caldwell thanked Adams for the thought put into the budget.
“It’s clear that you spent a lot of time on this and it is appreciated,” he said.