McPherson County has maintained a steady budget during the last five years while keeping taxes low, according to a report released Monday.
The McPherson County Commission heard a report from Rebecca Bishop of the K-State Extension Office of Local Government about fiscal conditions and trends during the last five year in the county.
“It’s a good news story,” she said of McPherson County’s report.
Because the data was compiled from actual funds the county spent and not projected budgets, the data lags two years.
McPherson County spent $19.9 million in 2011. The county’s expenditures increased by 1 percent between 2003 and 2011.
During the same time period, the average county expenditures increased by 32 percent.
The state rate can be influenced by large increases in a few counties. However, Bishop said the steady budget expenditures in McPherson County was what most counties wanted to see.
On the revenue side, McPherson County has seen a 10 percent decrease in revenue from 2003 to 2011 when adjusted for inflation. This is on par with what other counties experienced in the state. The county saw a particularly sharp decline in special highway funds during this time.
During the same time, reliance on property tax was reduced, while sales taxes revenue increased proportionately.
The report compared the county’s taxing ability to taxes levied.
Fiscal capacity is a measure of a county’s ability to raise revenue from a given source. The county’s fiscal effort is how much tax revenue the county could raise compared to the amount of taxes collected.
McPherson County levied 45 percent of its property tax capacity in 2011. The county has been relying less on property tax since 2007, when the rate was 57 percent, according to the report.
The county levied 64 percent of its sales tax capacity in 2011, which also has been on a steady decline since 2007 when the county levied 74 percent of its capacity.
Bishop said all these numbers are good. It means the revenue is out there, but the county is being economically conservative.
The report also indicated McPherson County’s property and sales tax rates were lower than the average Kansas county.
Ron Loomis, McPherson County Commission, said he hoped the low tax rates in the county would bring more business into the area.