Off the Cuff episode 4: The Budget

The extensive budget process begins in February starting with commissioners with all the department heads and county management. Then it proceeds to two public hearings in July and August then to a final vote and an adoption of the 2023 budget, scheduled to be on August 25th.

Keep two things in mind when discussing the 7-month process for adopting a budget. 

  1. The budget should represent the things we value in Sedgwick County. All of this should be encompassed into a budget because this is about the services the government provides. 
  2. What do we want the county government to do? The budget should reflect this question in mind. 

Think about this year’s budget, you’ll get a $480 million budget for Sedgwick County and when you ask the question why is it relevant, you have to understand that the government doesn’t produce revenue like that of a business. Government produces revenue through taxation and fees. Forty percent of the revenue generated in a county budget is roughly 40% property taxes. 

Property taxes are based on what we call a mill levy, also known as a tax rate. It’s a tax rate that is assessed on the value of your property. One mill is $1 per $1,000 of assessed value. To get your appraisal notice, multiply that appraised value by an assessment rate and the government gives you a different rate based on the type of property that you own. 

(Appraisal value x assessment percentage x assessed value x mill levy/1000) = Property tax

This will get you your ballpark property tax estimate. Then you must consider factors like specials and state tax credits that affect one’s property taxes.

I personally do not advocate for property taxes, but I do see the need for property taxes because we are overtaxed on the federal level. The federal government is taking 25 to 40 percent for most people and property taxes are the result of handcuffed local governments. 

We need to have these conversations regarding budget to get to the best solutions. I support collaborating with the private sector to get some of these things done.

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