Officials discuss general fund, budget at 2021 City of Manhattan retreat

Jason Hilgers, City of Manhattan deputy city manager, suggested to the Manhattan City Commission at a retreat last Friday that they consider a five-year plan for the general fund.
The general fund, which is around $31 million this year, has stayed about the same the past five years.
Hilgers says increasing it by a few percent each year could help the city keep up with operating expenses.
“Those two, three, four percent increases allow us to keep doing our jobs – what’s expected of us,” Hilgers said. “When we go zeros or we’re expected to just use what we had last year, it’s a negative. We have to cut to do that. Costs go up.”
According to Hilgers, a five-year plan could help protect the general fund, which contains money from sales and property taxes, should revenue from sales taxes dip.
Hilgers says that while some people may not want property taxes to increase after having approved a .5 percent sales tax last November, the reality is that the city only gets a small portion of residential tax bills.
“There’s a gentleman in this community that pays $800,000 in property tax and he told me it all went to us at the city,” Hilgers said. “I told him, ‘$80,000 of your $800,000 comes to the city.’ And he was like, ‘where does the other $720,000 go?’ You need to pay attention to where your taxes go.”
About 11 percent of Manhattan residential property taxes went to the city in 2020.
The rest was split between USD 383, Riley County, the state, the Riley County Police Department and the public library.
The Manhattan City Commission will continue discussing the city’s budget during its meeting Tuesday.

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