The McPherson city commission met for their regular meeting Monday morning and here’s what you need to know.
1. Commissioners approved the 2018 budget authority of $55,478,287.
“We want through a painstaking effort to whittle down what we through we could set the budget within parameters set by department heads,” said Nick Gregory, city administrator. “Everyone did a good job trying to stay efficient.
The 2018 budget will be funded by an estimated mill levy of 51.618, which is slightly higher than the 51.337 average of the last ten years, but is the same as the adjusted mill levy of 51.618 for 2017.
“That’s quite unusual for what you’ll see around the state,” Gregory said. “This governing body has worked hard to keep the mill levy where its at.”
This mill levy still allows for anticipated increased costs of a fully staffed police department, three new fire department positions, retirement, health care insurance costs as well as other various expenditures.
“In the police department, we were down 10 officers at one point, so we’ve made a concerted effort to make sure the department is full and budgeted for that,” Gregory said.
2. Commissioners authorized the city to apply for the Community Development Block Grant for a northeast section of McPherson. The project will use $300,000 in grant funds and $82,500 in matching funds to improve 11 residential properties between Main Street to Wheeler Street and First Street to Hulse Street. Matching funds include funds from area landlords, the Kansas Weatherization Assistance Program, waiver of building permit fees for selected homes and $3,500 to cover administrative and legal publication fees.
The city was chosen to receive a CDBG from South Central Kansas Economic Development District last year for improvements in the southeast part of McPherson.
“This is the second target area,” said McPherson Mayor Tom Brown. “We hope that our grant application will be approved as we work our way around portions of the city and have rehabilitations so we can have affordable, quality housing.”
3. Commissioners approved the creation of a Community Improvement District on Plaza East Place.
The establishment of the district will allow the city to impose a 2 percent sales tax at the register of businesses in the district to fund street improvements there. The district stretches from Interstate-135 to Champlin Street, and Kansas Avenue to part of the strip mall to the south. The tax will be removed once enough has been raised to cover the improvements, which the city predicts to be 3 to 5 years.
A concern some business owners hold is that not including the entire strip mall will push a greater burden on those in the district. Developers drawing the district reached out to all the owners in the area and businesses in the strip mall believe they will not benefit directly because they have access to the south.