Overland Park paves method for property tax improve to pay for psychological heath coaching, helps for first responders

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A small however impassioned group of residents argued in opposition to it, however in the long run the Overland Park Metropolis Council cleared a path for town’s subsequent proposed price range to considerably improve property tax income over final 12 months.

Councilmembers voted 10-2 to exceed the “income impartial” tax price that might offset the will increase in tax {dollars} rolling in from rising property values and new development.

The vote additionally paves the best way for a one-mill price improve that primarily would pay for behavioral well being unit and coaching for first responders to take care of psychological well being calls.

The vote was an train required by a brand new state legislation that mandates a separate vote and public listening to when extra tax cash is projected to come back in from elevated property values.

Councilmembers additionally heard separate public feedback on the price range itself, however the last vote on that gained’t occur till the subsequent assembly.

Voices in opposition

On Monday, 5 folks spoke in opposition to permitting town’s tax revenues to extend by about 10%.

That’s based mostly on a few 2.9% improve in property values utilized to the present mill levy of 13.582 mills, plus the one-mill improve. To maintain to a income impartial price, town must roll its tax price again to 13.174 mills.

Audio system in opposition to the rise stated they had been involved about residents struggling financially throughout the pandemic and anxious that retirees may be pressured to promote their houses due to greater taxes.

Carol Merritt stated the 30,000 folks over 65 dwelling in Overland Park can’t all afford to pay extra every year in taxes.

“They’re going to need to promote their houses, they usually’ve paid and paid and paid property taxes for 30 years. I believe we have to give them just a little break, don’t you?” she stated.

Erik Vining, certainly one of one other six audio system on the price range itself, stated placing more cash into psychological well being coaching and providers for police could possibly be an excellent factor, however advised a like quantity be taken from elsewhere within the price range.

“As a easy taxpayer, all I do know is that 12 months over 12 months, yearly, I write an even bigger test for my property taxes,” he stated. “You possibly can’t hold bleeding us anymore. There’s solely a lot we are able to take.”

Scott Mosher, who’s operating for metropolis council in Ward 4, additionally spoke. He stated there has not been sufficient schooling to the general public in regards to the proposed price range, and that town leaders needs to be extra clear.

Just one speaker, Mike Bensman, supported the rise. He stated he has usually appeared at public hearings in help of more cash for public security.

Councilmember opinions

Individuals who spoke in opposition to the income improve had been applauded by others within the council chambers, however at one level the onlookers had been admonished by Mayor Carl Gerlach for speaking over Councilmember Chris Newlin, who spoke in help of the psychological well being improve.

Newlin, who was chairman of the psychological well being process drive, stated the one-mill improve can pay for the behavioral unit, psychological well being response coaching, 15 further cops and 6 firefighters.

“I’m informed that’s worth,” he stated.

The duty drive was organized in response to the deadly capturing of teenager John Albers in 2018. Albers was shot whereas exiting his household’s driveway by a police officer who was there to test on his well-being after callers reported he was in disaster.

“We misplaced a baby on Jan. 20, 2018 — twelve days after I used to be sworn in — who was killed by a police officer on a psychological well being test. I don’t ever need that to occur once more,” Newlin stated.

Councilmember Curt Skoog, who’s operating for mayor, famous the rise can pay for in style facilities together with the general public security will increase. Overland Park has the bottom property tax price in Kansas, he added.

Councilmembers Faris Farassati and Scott Hamblin had been the 2 no votes.

Farassati stated he helps the psychological well being efforts however took difficulty with tax incentives given over time to builders. Town’s price range is “very manageable with what we now have,” he stated. However he added he might help utilizing reserve funds to pay for the psychological well being will increase.

Councilmember Jim Kite identified that prices are going up for town yearly as properly, significantly for wage and advantages for metropolis staff.

“This metropolis has been fiscally accountable for a era. That’s why our taxes are a lot decrease than every other metropolis within the county,” he stated.

The entire proposed metropolis price range is $327.5 million, of which $230.1 million is for common working bills.

Overland Park’s taxes signify between 11% and 14% of the entire tax invoice for all taxing districts.

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