Riley County approves max property tax bill hike of 6.71%

·2 min read

Jul. 20—The average taxpayer in Riley County will see his or her property tax bill in 2022 increase by as much as 6.7%.

Commissioners Monday approved a resolution that sets a maximum property tax rate at 44.151 mills for the 2022 budget, which will exceed the "revenue neutral" rate. A mill is $1 for every $1,000 in assessed, taxable property value.

At this point, Riley County can lower the budget but not increase it.

"That's our ceiling," chairman John Ford said. "We can still continue to work (on it)."

That is an increase of 1.866 mills from the 2021 mill levy of 42.285 mills.

With that rate, the owner of a $100,000 home paying $486.28 in 2021 would pay $518.91 in 2022, considering the average value of an existing single-family home in Riley County increased by 2.2%. That's an increase of 6.71% from 2021 to 2022.

In a change to state law, local governments and school districts now have to provide notice if they plan to exceed the "revenue neutral" rate, meaning they intend to generate more money through property taxes in next year's budgets.

The total proposed 2022 budget is $49.7 million, an increase of $8.19 million from the $41.58 million budget in 2021. The increase includes $487,013 in wage increases and $224,960 in Riley County Police Department funding increases.

Commissioners asked Tami Robison, county budget and finance director, to come back in the future to talk with the commission more about the budget because commissioner Kathryn Focke was absent from Monday's meeting.

In addition, Riley County commissioners Monday approved and formally signed off on removing asbestos from the First Christian Church in the amount of $50,000, using capital improvement funds to pay for the removal.

In January 2021, local contractor Associated Insulation estimated the asbestos removal at $65,000.

It is unclear what the county will do with the building. During Monday's meeting, commissioners did not discuss the plans for the church other than the asbestos removal.

The county eventually hopes to use the area for offices whether it's in the old church or a new building.

Last week, chairman John Ford and commissioner Greg McKinley voted to explore all options for demolishing the church building. Focke has said she wants to save the building.

The county purchased the church at 115 Courthouse Plaza in May 2020 for $852,000. The building was built in 1909 and is across the parking lot from the county office building.

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