Kansas Watchdog – Overland Park 2012 Budget Public Hearing

Link: http://watchdog.org/36958/ks-overland-park-2012-budget-public-hearing/

 

Overland Park 2012 Budget Public Hearing

By   /   August 2, 2011  /   No Comments

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OVERLAND PARK — A public hearing was held on Monday evening for interested citizens to give city leaders feedback on a proposed 4.1 mill levy increase in city property taxes.

Citizens addressed the Overland Park City Council on Monday night about a proposed 4.1 mill levy tax increase

Thirty-tree residents signed up for an opportunity to address city leaders for 3 minutes.

Roughly the same number spoke for and against the tax mill increase.

Before the public hearing Overland Park city manager Bill Ebel gave an overview of the proposed 2012 city budget.

Ebel explained that the tax bill for a typical $250,000 house in Overland Park would increase by about $118 with the proposed increase.

Click on table above to view summary document about Overland Park’s 2012 Budget

The videos below show the comments in order of appearance.

Overland Park 2012 Budget Public Hearing (1 of 3) 

  • 00:00  Mark Frutiger: “I support the 4.1 mill increase.”
  • 01:23  Gus Meyer: “I stand with you.  I believe the vision you have for the city and the quality of life is the right thing we need.”
  • 03:32  Mike Bensman: “I believe that the mill levy raise is a justified one and it’s in the best interest of all Overland Park residents.”
  • 06:04  Horace Davis: “I ask you not to raise taxes 40 percent with the economy the way it is. … We pay $4000 here.  In North Carolina I get the same service … I only pay $1600.”
  • 09:36  Earl Long:  “I come here to offer two suggestions:  one is a cost savings idea you may not have looked at, and the other is a suggestion you might want to look and make sure that you’re not providing too much services that we don’t want.”
  • 12:52  Richard Worrel:  “None of the things I take for granted, low crime rate, well-maintained streets, quick snow removal, parks, pools, and soccer complexes are free.  There is a cost. … You have earned my trust. … My family, my business, and I support the 4.1 mill levy increase.”
  • 15:24 Diane Simmons:  “As a senior this is an imposition.  Everything goes up but my income.  … I’m 74 years old.  I’m still working so I can have health insurance.  … I don’t have even long distance on my phone because I can’t afford it.  And I really can’t afford an increase in my taxes.  I’d like to live the last few years I have left instead of just exist. … By the way, I’m glad to see women on the council.  We need more of them.”
  • 16:38  Leonore Rowe:  “We do appreciate the kinds of services that we have here.  … I do hope that you will support the 4 mill increase.”
  • 18:01  Ben Craig:  “I’ve lived in this vicinity for over 50 years.  … It’s a cost-effective expense.  It’s the cost of doing business.  We don’t like tax increases either.  … I commend you for what you are about to do.  I”m confident that the majority of people in our community will support you, even though it costs us more money.”
  • 20:57  Tracey Osborne, president of Overland Park Chamber of Commerce:  “I represent the collective interests of the business community … you’re well aware of the Chamber’s endorsement of the 4.1 mill levy increase …”

Overland Park 2012 Budget Public Hearing (2 of 3) 

  • 00:00  Becky Eisman:  “Everyone sitting in this room has made cuts.  … But when I see you are supporting soccer fields, when I see you’re supporting art …, when I see fancy bridges and light fixtures that we simply do not need in this current environment, I have to say ‘you haven’t done enough. … You haven’t red-lined enough. … You don’t touch essentials — soccer fields are not essential.”
  • 06:15  Matthew Bell:  “I come here from Long Island to seek a better life, and since I’ve moved here I’ve experienced that. … I don’t think anyone in their right mind should support a tax increase. … I do agree with Becky that we should not be funding soccer operations. I’m a huge soccer fan.  I played for 17 years, but our tax money should not go to that. … You’re playing dodge ball here. … I’m against the increase.”  [09:54 exchange with Mayor Carl Gerlag over “playing dodge ball.”]
  • 10:17 Jeff Caldwell, Johnson County Chair for the Libertarian Party of Kansas:  “Washington is printing money out of thin air and increasing the amount of bills in circulation, which then increases the cost of valuable goods and services that the city pays for. In essence, we have to raise taxes in order to keep paying for the services the city pays for.  We need an alternative solution … Increased property tax equates to lower population growth.”
  • 13:15  Larry Winn:  “My concern is one of perception.  … You’re either going forward or you’re going backward.  Some of our neighbors … where the perception was that it just wasn’t as good a product as it used to be. Once that perception hits, there’s not much you can do to turn it around. … I actively support your mill levy. “
  • 16:06  Barbara Larison makes reference to comments made by Diane Simmons in video 1:  “I’m retired. I’m on a fixed income. I had the misfortune … my retirement is nothing.  I have to work really hard to survive on my income.  My property taxes have gone up every year although the value of my property has gone down every year.  The increase in the mill levy is just one more thing.  When you’re on a fixed income … it’s tough to survive.  I think I’m speaking for a lot of retirees in Overland Park. … We’d like to continue to live here, but you may make it not possible. “
  • 17:19  Andrew Davis makes reference to Larry Winn’s comments about “perception”:  “I thought that was a good thing to bring up, although I’m going to go at it on the other side.  My perception … what I see is my tax rates are going up and I see things going on in Overland Park that I don’t necessarily think are necessary.  A great example would be the Metcalf beautification project.”  [at 18:16 Mayor Carl Gerlach explains the cost of street lights that are no longer rented from KCP&L.  Gerlach:  “We’re paying a lot less money” since they are no longer being rented.]
  • 19:07  John Ainsworth:  “I believe the reason that we’re really here is because of the state use tax. … Typically businesses pass cost of goods, cost of services, and overall costs on to their customers, which means ultimately not only are we paying the 4.1    mill levy — or 46% increase — on our homes, we’re also going to be subsidizing the businesses’ personal property tax that they pay as well. … I know that regardless of what we say, you all are going to do  whatever you want to do.  We basically have no control over that.”

Overland Park 2012 Budget Public Hearing (3 of 3) 

  • 00:00  Drew Quinn:  “I don’t envy your position, however,  I’m going to disagree with the idea of a 46 percent increase in the mill levy tax.”
  • 03:03  Jeff Melcher:  “owning a commercial property … we’ve experienced some real tough times in trying to find tenants to fill space, when lease rates are declining.  Then we see taxes  increasing, it makes it very difficult for us. The fact that Overland Park has a historically low mill levy is a good thing.  It created a competitive advantage. … Don’t lose that. “
  • 08:51  Terry Horan:  “I’d like to support this mill levy increase.  I don’t make that comment lightly. … I’m a blue collar worker.   My family and I have had to make some sacrifices of our own.  We don’t have cable TV, we don’t have a TV. … What we do have is each other. … Overland Park has been a good community. … Mediocrity is just not something this community is familiar with.  It’s not something I’m familiar with.  … You’ve been good stewards and I trust you with that increase.”
  • 11:14  David Nowlin:  “I’m not sure that there really is a relationship between quality of service, quality of life and high-level of service and property values.  Property values are outside your control.  … I would encourage you, implore you, humor you if necessary to vote against the increase.”
  • 18:43  Greg Musil:  “I choose to live in Overland Park for a lot of reasons.  … It is so easy for you to say ‘no’ to a property tax increase.  It takes courage and leadership to say ‘yes’. … Overland Park will change if you don’t pass a mill levy increase to get us back on track with reserves and infrastructure investment.  … You have made the cuts, and it’s time to look at the only alternative you have if we are to maintain our city as one of the top cities in the country.”
  • 21:21  Gustavo Vergara:  “I am new in this area.  I came here four years ago.  … I came to oppose the tax levy, but then I heard the magnificent presentation by Mr. Ebel, the good answers that you the council gave, and good questions.  I am not happy to spend $200 more per years because I am retired, and my wife is retired, but it seems from my short experience in this chamber that you are very qualified. … I urge you only to make the question, ‘is it nice’ or ‘is it necessary’?”
  • 22:16  Andrew Smith:  “You guys have a tremendously tough job … there is something that maybe we haven’t looked at, and that’s just the effort of volunteerism. … There are lots of areas to cut, because I probably know more than I should …  I think about my grandmother on fixed income … I think if we could also look at  volunteerism in terms of tax increases …  “
  • 26:16  Brenda Karlin:  “I just want to be a voice for no taxes, whether they’re city, county, state, federal.  I’m sure you’re all aware of what’s going on right now at the national level. … That is impacting every single citizen.  … The cry for America is ‘no taxes, cut spending’ and that is what I would ask this council to do. … There are areas that can be cut.  … I’m going to ask you that even though you are predisposed, that you go back and take  a second look.   And just because you can, doesn’t mean that you should.”
  • 29:57  Beth Gramly:  “A tax increase will hit us both … as personal homeowners and rental property owners. …  Almost universally I’m against tax increases, nationally, state, every level.  However, I have high respect, extremely good experience with Overland Park, and because of that trust and respect, I accept that you will look for any additional cost savings you can make that does not cause problems for Overland Park. … Maybe there is something that could give some kind of break to people, particularly retired people who are limited in their incomes.”

Related: 

Overland Park Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFR) to compare taxes, spending from previous years:

Contact: Earl F Glynn, earl@kansaswatchdog.org, KansasWatchdog.org 

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