The Post asked readers in August what questions they wanted to hear from candidates running for the Prairie Village city council speech. Based on this feedback, we developed a five-point questionnaire with the issues most important to residents of Prairie Village.
Each day this week, we’ll be posting contestants’ answers to one of the five questions. Today we are posting the candidates’ answers to the following question:
Prairie Village has seen some of the largest increases in property valuation in
Johnson County in recent years – resulting in commensurate tax increases that have strained the finances of some fixed income residents. What do you think of the way the city should deal with this problem?
Below are the responses the Post received from applicants on this question:
The average annual amount paid by landowners has increased by 37% over the past five years, which is why I fully support the plan to provide property tax relief to our residents who need it most by depending on their economic situation.
In fact, as I have spoken with my neighbors in Ward 5, many are unaware that only 16% of our property taxes go to Prairie Village. Our ability to reduce the property tax burden will therefore be limited from this perspective. For example, in 2022, if council had reduced our rate per mile as proposed by the new income neutral rate law, the average landowner’s tax bill for Prairie Village would be $ 36 less for the year. , and that would have created a hole of $ 460,000 in our Budget 2022. So I will continue to advocate for solutions that provide tax relief where it is really needed without exposing our city’s finances to unnecessary risk.
I will work hard to implement a MILL TAX REDUCTION for the next fiscal year to deal with property tax increases. The tax burden on residents with fixed incomes is the under-discussed dimension of the question of “affordable housing”. As I have traveled through neighborhoods in Ward 5, property taxes are a priority for residents. Many residents of the neighborhood have fixed incomes. They want to “grow old in place”. Others (including some of our young families) are struggling to be able to afford their house. Property tax increases are particularly difficult for these residents. Prairie Village’s component of the property owner’s tax bill has grown twice as fast as inflation over the past five years. City council has had many opportunities to reduce the financial burden on its residents and has chosen to do otherwise. The 2022 city budget calls for significant spending increases at rates far exceeding inflation in many areas. It bothers me that there are arguments that each individual component of the government’s tax bill (like our municipal tax bill) requires only a “small portion” of a taxpayer’s personal budget. This view does not take into account the financial pressure that tax increases create for some of our residents. It is ultimately disrespectful to taxpayers who are struggling to make ends meet. This signals a disturbing sense of “entitlement” some government officials have to claim taxpayer dollars. My 35 years in business have taught me that a thorough and thoughtful budget process will help define choices that can help control spending increases. City staff tell me they use a “zero-based” budget approach, which, when applied to this problem, should be very effective in defining the choices we need to make to slow the increase in spending. As a member of city council, I will work to slow the increase in spending and reduce the need for large property tax increases.
The number one issue I hear from residents is a concern about rising property taxes. We want Prairie Village to be a place that is not only accessible, but a city where families can afford to stay. I am interested in exploring all options to help people who are struggling to stay in their homes due to soaring taxes.
The city’s 2022 budget, which was just approved last month, included a targeted property tax rebate program. The program would allow eligible residents to claim a refund of the municipal portion of their property taxes. I’m in favor of strategic, focused relief like this for people who need it and who would be looking for ways to expand or create similar programs using federal COVID relief funds, for example.
It is important to consider that only 16% of your property tax bill goes to Prairie Village. The city currently allocates 75% of that money to public safety and critical infrastructure – investments that I think shouldn’t be funded. I would oppose any proposal to reduce municipal spending that would have an impact on our police, our roads and our parks.
I would love any opportunity to work with Johnson County to create meaningful solutions that would help our residents stay in Prairie Village.
Our current city council has a spending problem. They are adding new programs and initiatives at an alarming rate. These projects cost money and more staff to implement, which is why our taxes keep going up. If elected, I will strive to reduce unnecessary spending so that we can consider lowering the rate of the thousandth PV and ultimately provide tax relief for all residents. We also need to work at the county level to seek to cap property valuation increases each year at a number more in line with historical inflation. I would also like to see property valuation capped once a resident has lived in their home for a certain number of years and reaches a certain age. This will help protect the ability of retirees to stay in their homes.
It is very important to recognize and support the fixed income residents of Prairie Village. Many of these residents have lived in our community for over 30 years and have had a great influence in transforming Prairie Village into the wonderful and much sought after city that it is today. They have maintained their properties, supported our local businesses, and provided stability and rich owner experience to our neighborhoods.
To my knowledge, Prairie Village currently has a program that our aging fixed income population can benefit from, the Exterior Grant Program. It is useful, but it is not quite sufficient. The city council also noted in the city’s 2022 budget a new “property tax relief grant program”. I reached out to our city administrators this week to find out more about the specific parameters and qualifications of the program and was told they are still in the process of consolidating those details. City council will receive these details within the next month and will vote to adopt the program or modify it further. I hope the program specifications will be available to residents of Prairie Village soon.
Additionally, it may not be known that Kansas also has a few programs that can help reduce the burden some fixed income taxpayers face due to the sharp increase in property values. These programs are called the “Kansas Homestead Refund” and “Kansas Property Tax Relief” programs. You can go here for more details. Additionally, while researching different examples of municipal property tax relief online, I came across several compelling models of programs that US counties have put in place for their fixed income populations and seniors. One example I found particularly interesting was a program on the Lake County, Illinois website called “Senior Citizen’s Assessment Freeze”. Essentially, this program “freezes” a qualifying beneficiary’s property tax amount based on the prior year’s property value assessment. In the future, the beneficiary would only pay that amount of tax each year, even if the value of their property increased. However, it is important to note that the beneficiary would not be protected if the actual “rate” of property tax increased.
Although this program is instituted at the county level, I think there could be potential application of this program or a similar type of program at the city level. As a board member, I would continue to research and examine effective and beneficial property tax relief models from other cities to create a program that would help alleviate some of the financial pressures that many of our Prairie Village residents have. began to suffer due to the sharp increase in property values.
First, the City must remain sensitive to the property tax burden on citizens and businesses. As a landlord and landlord, I have seen the impact of rising property values and the resulting county and city taxes which have outpaced growth in my personal income and rents.
Higher real estate appraisals shouldn’t automatically translate into a boon to city and county tax collections. And the trend of dismantling and rebuilding in the city should not automatically skyrocket the value of old houses around rebuilds. There should be controls in place to ensure that the respective property assessments and tax assessments reflect the expected growth in inflation as well as spending consistent with the overall economy, household income levels and budget plans prepared.
Any decision by city council that may have an impact on property taxes must be approached with great sensitivity and diligence. Overall, the City has been successful in maintaining a relatively constant factory royalty historically. The city’s share of the overall property tax is only 16%, or about $ 70 per month per average household. And that 16% represents about 28% of the city’s overall annual income. This amount seems reasonable considering all the services provided by the city. The majority of our property taxes are spent outside the control of the City.
I would favor programs that provide some tax relief to financially burdened residents, particularly senior and low income residents. As I mentioned at the recent Applicant Forum, a greater focus on improving income opportunities in the city’s four business districts may be an opportunity to help offset any need for tax increases. land or sale.
On Wednesday, we will publish the candidates’ answers to the following question:
The rising cost of even “starter homes” in Prairie Village has made homeownership in the city beyond the reach of many middle-class families. Should the city seek to add more “attainable” housing options? If so, what form should it take?