The Mission Hills City Council on Monday approved an $8.3 million budget for 2018, providing additional money for security upgrades at City Hall, expanded storm water drainage, increased public fountain maintenance and a $500,000 boost in other capital improvements.
Overall, the spending plan represents a 14.5 percent gain over the current year. Growth in the general fund, which covers most city functions, will rise 8.5 percent to $7.7 million, but the property tax mill levy will remain unchanged at 21.95 mills.
The budget assumes that voters in November will pass a referendum to increase the citywide sales tax by ¼-cent for five years, generating an estimated $140,000 in the first year. Council members last month voted to put the referendum on the ballot as a way to generate additional revenue to address a backlog of capital projects.
The council on Monday approved the language voters will read on the November ballot. If approved, Mission Hills’ sales tax will total 1.25 percent.
Among the biggest drivers increasing the 2018 budget are a $15,000 boost to consulting services for the city’s planning commission and architectural review board; a 5.6 percent increase in the city’s law enforcement contract with the Prairie Village Police Department; the continued removal and replacement of city trees infected by the emerald ash borer; and $76,500 to install metal detectors and other security features now that residents can carry firearms into City Hall.
There were no speakers during a public hearing before the council approved the budget.
In other business, City Administrator Courtney Christensen told the council she estimates the city is facing about $300,000 in damage from two storms in July and another on Aug. 6 that caused flooding along Rock Creek and Brush Creek.
The work includes clearing debris from roads and waterways, repairing retaining walls and the footings of the new bridge on 63rd Street, replacing a fence on Indian Lane and stabilizing a water access ramp off Mission Drive. Officials also are dealing with flooding in the basement of City Hall that has caused mold problems and undetermined damage to the building’s foundation.
Christensen said she is hoping state officials declare an emergency from the storms, which would provide some additional state aid. In the meantime, she said, she’ll try to find the money.
“We do have reserves,” she said. “We’ve been building them, and they’re there for these types of emergencies.”
She added that the city wants to work with cities upstream from Mission Hills, such as Prairie Village and Overland Park, to find solutions for better managing storm water to avoid future flooding and erosion problems.
“It needs to be a partnership,” she said.
David Twiddy: firstname.lastname@example.org