Manhattan Faces Growing Pains in 2014

A mill levy increase is projected in the city of Manhattan’s 2014 budget.  The Manhattan city commission received a briefing on the 2014 city budget, capital improvements, economic development, and utility rate forecasts during Tuesday’s work session.

Manhattan Director of Finance Bernie Hayen says overdue capital improvements is one of the factors leading to the increase . Hayen says current property taxes are already heavily leveraged towards such items as the state mandated funding of the Riley County Police department.

Local businessman Tim Schultz joined with other community business leaders in expressing his discontent with the mill levy increase. Schultz says the increases in property taxes are inhibiting growth which would otherwise flourish in the area.

The proposed budget contains a 2.741 mill levy increase as the city moves forward into 2014. The next budget work session will be conducted on June 25th, and at that meeting department heads will begin presenting their budgets to the commission.

Swimming pool admission policy was discussed during the second half of the meeting, and several community members came forward to ask the commission to reconsider the current policy.  City pools currently do not allow reentry without paying again in full.  One citizen supported the current system, and asked for the market to keep deciding the rates and policy.

Commissioners tasked city staff to gather more information on possible changes to the current system, and especially the reentry policy.  Other suggestions included a family season pass.