Budget woes for Barton County

GREAT BEND, Kansas-Barton County is facing a drop in revenue this year, to the tune of four-hundred thousand dollars.

“This is the first year in the twelve years that I’ve done a budget that the county’s experienced both a valuation loss and decline in revenue the same year,” said county administrator Richard Boeckman.

The county is planning to raise the mill levy, which raises property taxes, to %1.73 mills to combat the loss.

That equals out to about twenty more dollars per year for a $100,000 home.

“The commissioners have done as much as they can in this year’s budget to not pass on to the taxpayers any more of an increase than necessary,” Boeckman said.

The county says the budget would have been very easy to put together if it wasn’t for that $400,000 revenue loss, and they say half of that loss came from changes in the state taxes.

Part of that loss comes from the county also losing an employee benefits account that helped pay for the county’s share of health insurance. That loss totals to $200,000.

“We knew the employee benefit’s loss was coming, so that was something that we’ve been aware of and more anticipating so that wasn’t a surprise, having the valuation decrease was a little surprising because historically that does not happen,” said Boeckman.

The county says that what has helped them a lot over the past few years is having no debt.

“When you don’t have debt you’re not paying interest, you’re not doing debt service, you know that money can be used for more beneficial things than paying off interest.”

The budget was published on August twelfth and the county administrator will discuss the budget at the next Barton County Commission meeting on August twenty-fifth.

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