The Manhattan City Commission approved the second reading of the 2015 Budget Tuesday, which includes a mill levy rate 43.942, an increase of roughly half-a-mill over the current fiscal year.
The vote was not unanimous as two Commissioners expressed their desire to keep the mill levy even, a sentiment not shared by Commissioner, Karen McCulloh.
“Flat is not flat. Flat is going backwards, because everything costs more. Asphalt costs more, staff costs more, that kind of thing,” McCulloh said.
Mayor, Wynn Butler, on the other hand, said that because Manhattan is experiencing solid growth, raising the property tax rate isn’t necessary.
“Assessments went up. We’ve raised taxes without doing anything. When the appraisals go up, we’ve raised taxes,” Butler said. “More money is coming in. You can see that the spending is higher. The numbers are pretty obvious there, over a million dollars in most of the accounts in each one of them.”
Commissioner, John Matta echoed Butler and added that flattening the mill levy was an attainable goal, and one that tax payers deserved.
City staff will now send two finalized copies of the 2015 budget to Riley and Pottawatomie Counties.
The Commission also reviewed a valid petition for a benefit district for alley improvements behind the Bluemont Hotel. The alley is located between North Manhattan Avenue and North 12th street and provides access to several property owners including the hotel.
The Excel Group, owners of the Bluemont Hotel, agreed in 2012 to foot the bill for alley improvements as a condition of receiving a building permit. The Commission saw no reason to change that, and denied the petition.