Riley County commissioners reviewed the county’s mill levy history dating back to 1998 at their meeting Thursday.

The report not only included the mill levies from 1998 to 2019, but the factors that went into those levies as well.  This was presented by Budget and Finance Officer Tami Robison.  She says the two highest valuation changes were in 2007 and 2008, were they increased more than 52 million in those two years.
She then used this information to calculate the mill change, dollar change, and the dollar change per household for the prior year. Between 1998 and 2019, 10 of those years had decreases to the actual overall mill levies. Also during that time period, the mill levy has only increased 6.89 mills.  When all the mill levies are combined, they show taxpayers are paying an increase of only a third of a mill increase every year on average. The total dollar change per household over this time would be 146 dollars, which was averaged around dollars per year.
The largest mill levy decrease was from 2003 to 2004 with a difference of 2.13 mills.  The two years with the highest mill levies were 2012 and 2019.  In 2012 the County added the Health Department and in 2019 they added the EMS in its entirety.

Robison says it is important to look further back than the last couple of years because that is when you can start to see trends.
“People talking about how we just increase the mill levy, but when you actually go back and see those 10 out of 21 years had decreases, it’s a better depiction of what has occurred rather than the last five years,” says Robison.
Chairman Ron Wells says he would like to have all this information published for the public to see, even it means paying for extra space in the paper.
The commissioners also looked over a draft for their statewide county legislative summit.
The summit is a call for county commissioners across the state to coordinate joint action with Riley County on some issues. These issues will be brought to the Kansas legislature for the 2020 session. County Counselor Clancy Holeman authored and presented the draft to commissioners for feedback before sending the letter on to other counties.
The agenda has Chairman Ron Wells leading the discussion on the missing demand transfers, Commissioner Marvin Rodriguez on the Dark Store Theory, and Commissioner John Ford on the constitutional protections of county home rule.
“This request was generated to get the delegation working together rather than separately voting on the right thing,” says Holeman, “All of this is designed to do that.  To get them to buy into doing something other than individual contact with their delegation.  Trying to coordinate some sort of action on at least these three items.”
The commissioners want discussions held with the other counties to see where they also stand on these topics. They also want to make sure they are all up to date on the information and understand the topics like the Dark Store Theory.
Overall the commissioners were pleased with the structure of the agenda.  However, Holeman says they haven’t yet received a response from another county.  He hopes to send this agenda out as a reminder.
The summit is planned for August 29 at 10 a.m. in the commission chambers.

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