Johnson County’s Proposed Fiscal Year 2023 Budget Cuts Factory Tax, Offers Workforce Compensation

County Executive Penny Postoak Ferguson Thursday, May 12, released her proposed fiscal year 2023 budget for Johnson County government, unveiling a plan that includes a factory tax reduction in all three tax districts of the county, which amounts to a total reduction of the factory in total.

If approved in the county’s final budget for next year, it would be the largest factory levy reduction in more than two decades.

In addition, the county executive’s proposed budget outlines efforts to improve wages and benefits for the county government workforce at a time of increased voluntary job rotations and low rates. unemployment in a still difficult labor market. The financial proposal also funds 2023 capital improvement projects and maintains adequate reserves, important to maintain the coveted Triple AAA bond rating.

County Executive Postoak Ferguson and budget and financial planning staff presented the proposed budget for fiscal year 2023 to the Johnson County Board of Commissioners during an afternoon committee of the whole session . No action has been taken on the proposed budget plan.

“We are here to serve the community. We are very aware of the impact of real estate valuations, especially on people with fixed and modest incomes. The proposed reduction in the factory tax of a complete factory comes with careful thought and analysis,” the county executive noted in her budget message.

“It is achievable right now and can be done while addressing our organization’s highest compensation and service delivery. After all we’ve been through, it feels good to present a budget proposal that accomplishes so much. »

The county manager proposes a reduction of 0.82 mills for the County Tax District, 0.10 mills for the Johnson County Library, and 0.08 mills for the Johnson County Park and Recreation District for a total of one mill.

The reduction in a mill’s tax, if authorized in the final fiscal year 2023 budget by the BOCC, would represent the largest decrease in the county’s total tax since at least 1999, according to budget and financial planning. . It is also the fifth factory tax cut in six years. The last four reductions averaged about a quarter of a mill.

The proposed total county government levy is set at 24,568 mills, the lowest since 2014. The proposed county tax district levy is 17,744 mills, which remains the lowest among Kansas’ 105 counties and the lowest since 2013 in Johnson County. budgets. The proposed tax levies for Johnson County Park and Recreation District (3,016 mills) and Johnson County Library (3,808 mills) are the lowest since 2015.

Labor market pressures

According to the county executive, the Johnson County government, like national and regional employers, exerts significant pressure on its workforce in terms of recruitment, retention and compensation in all job categories. county employment and compensation levels.

The county’s voluntary turnover rate increased to 11.84% in 2021. The rate in 2020 and 2019 was 8.44%. Many seasoned county employees also plan to retire in the coming years.

“Not only are we losing more employees than in recent years, but the data shows that fewer people are looking for work. Unemployment was very low in Johnson County at 2.4% in 2019 before the pandemic, but has since fallen further to 1.7% at the end of 2021,” the county official noted in her budget message.

Responding to labor pressures in the county, the proposed budget aims to:

  • An investment of the equivalent of a pool of 2% of total salaries in 2022 to address salary compression issues in the baseline assumptions for the FY 2023 budget.
  • 3% merit pool for 2022 individual performances (ranging from 0-5%).
  • 2% market increase to help prevent future compression issues and be competitive in the market.
  • 1% increase in the county’s supplementary pension adequacy (bringing the maximum adequacy from 3% to 4%).

Additional staff to meet growing demands

The proposed budget for fiscal year 2023 adds areas that align with BOCC priorities and feedback from the 2022 community survey to meet growing demands for public services and programs. Satisfaction with public security services was rated at 94% in the survey.

The highest priority services included aged care and social services, mental health services, public health services and emergency medical/ambulance services.

BOCC’s priorities include meeting the needs of vulnerable populations in the county, creating conditions that promote community health, developing a forward-thinking public transit approach that connects the community and serves vulnerable populations and strategic capital planning of major projects efficiently and effectively.

The budget proposal funds a maximum number of full-time employees at 4,173.74. The list includes seven positions in the sheriff’s office for added safety and security, two additional positions for the emergency services department to respond to 9-1-1 calls and dispatch first responders, and a forensic investigator on deaths for the medical examiner’s office.

Other proposed staff additions include a victims’ advocate for the district attorney’s office to help deal with a backlog of cases, a new housing coordinator to focus on housing insecurity and affordability for the Ministry of Health and Environment, and three posts at the Mental Health Centre.

Proposed FY2023 budget in numbers

Johnson County’s proposed fiscal year 2023 budget is $1.64 billion, with expenditures estimated at $1.15 billion and reserves set at $488.1 million. The proposed Capital Improvement Program (CIP), totaling $264.1 million, includes:

  • $130.9 million for wastewater capital projects.
  • $23.3 million for the Public Works Stormwater Management Program.
  • $21.8 million for Commerce Center Phase II at the New Century AirCenter.
  • $20 million for the Park and Recreation District Capital Improvement Plan.
  • $17.2 million for the County Assistance Road System (CARS) program by Public Works.
  • $9.8 million for a new Med-Act facility in Olathe.
  • $5.5 million for Johnson County Library projects.
  • $3.6 million for bus replacements for Johnson County Transit.
  • $2.4 million for Public Works’ Bridge, Culvert and Road Construction Safety Program.

And after

The BOCC will review the county manager’s budget proposal, meet with county departments and agencies in a series of afternoon working sessions from May 19 to June 9, and make changes or other modifications in the budget. development of the council’s budget plan for 2023.

The council is due to finalize the county budget June 16-17 for legal release June 23. Following legal publication, the county may not, by law, increase the amount of budgeted expenditures, but may decrease the amount of the operating budget or tax level with final board approval.

The public hearing on the county’s new budget will be held at 6 p.m. on Monday, August 22, in the courtroom.

The BOCC is expected to adopt the final resolution for the 2023 budget during its business session on Thursday, September 1, starting at 9:30 a.m. in the courtroom.

By state law, counties in Kansas must pass and file their fiscal year 2023 budgets with the county clerk, which in Johnson County is the Department of Treasury, Taxation, and Vehicles, before October 1 if they exceed the tax neutrality rate.

The final windfall tax setting for fiscal year 2023 will be established by the end of October with the latest property valuations by the Directorate of Treasury, Taxes and Vehicles. Mill tax calculations are for the Johnson County government only and do not include other taxing entities, such as the state of Kansas, cities or townships, and school districts. The county’s tax district traditionally accounts for about 15% of annual property tax returns.

Johnson County’s fiscal year begins January 1, 2023.