City introduces online budget resource accessible to citizens
The City of Independence is working through its annual budget process and is offering a new tool to aid citizens in budget understanding.
In furtherance of its goal to continually improve operational transparency and communications with residents, the City is introducing a new online platform with complete information on the 2023 Municipal Budget. The site provides insight into budget processes, explanations of line-item allocations and how the budget is divided among City departments, as well as tax calculations for residents.
“We’ve been working hard to provide a user-friendly platform accessible to any interested citizen that provides clarity around the budget, how it is developed and how it impacts our taxpayers,” said City Finance Director Lacey Lies. “We’re trying to make a rather complicated concept easier to understand for the average citizen and in a useful way.”
The “2023 Budget Book” can be accessed on the City’s website using this link: Budget Software Link. (Direct links also will be shared on the City’s Facebook page.) Citizens may view the budget on the site and also select sections to download, if they so choose, Lies said.
Important highlights about the 2023 budget, Lies said, include the fact that the mill rate did not change from 2022 – remaining steady at 54.629 mills. Additionally, there are a few staffing adjustments that will affect the new budget, she said, including the addition of one patrol officer in the Police Department and one crew member to the Street Department.
A significant portion of the expense budget will be allocated for major projects in the works or on the horizon, Lies said. These include:
- City Hall renovation (in progress) at 120 N. 6th;
- Runway and fuel secondary containment improvements at the Independence Municipal Airport;
- AWOL animal shelter upgrades;
- Clarifier rehabilitation and fencing at the Water Treatment Plant;
- Water line replacement projects;
- KDOT and local street projects;
- Comprehensive Plan update;
- Communication tower and radio equipment project;
- Central Park Sports Complex
Funds also will be allocated to various grant programs which assist residents and business owners with home and commercial building improvement projects.
This information and more can be found in the online Budget Book, Lies said, noting a section that may be of particular interest is the “Budget Overview” tab, which offers a “Property Tax and Mill Levy Overview” explaining how property taxes are established and providing the formula used to calculate City property taxes. Citizens can use this formula to approximately calculate their own tax liability.
The site also includes detailed information on funding sources for the budget, the City’s long-range capital improvement plan, and contact information for each member of the City’s management team.