June 24, 2024

Keeping Media and Government Accountable.

Most elected officials in Sedgwick County propose big property tax hikes

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Sedgwick County residents are being hammered by government-spending-induced inflation.  U.S. Census data show the county lost population last year, and there were about 11,000 fewer jobs last year than in 2019, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Despite all this, most elected officials are proposing double-digit property tax hikes.

County commissioners want a 7% tax increase, and Wichita city council members want 8% more.  But that pales in comparison to cities like Clearwater (24%), Mulvane (30%), Park City (28%), and Andale (13%).

School districts, flush with COVID cash and budgeted for a 9% increase in state aid, also want large property tax hikes.

USD 259 Wichita is proposing the smallest increase at 6.4%.  Derby and Renwick want about 8% more, and all other districts propose double-digit tax increases.

Some township officials looked at those increases and effectively said, ‘here, hold my beer.’  Grand River Township officials want 86% more; Gypsum and Morton Township officials want about 36% more, and officials in Grant and Sherman townships both want 27% more from taxpayers.

For now, these outrageous tax hikes are just proposals.  Truth in Taxation legislation passed last year requires every entity that wants a tax increase to hold a public hearing so taxpayers can register their concerns, and then officials must vote on the entire tax increase they impose.  The hearings must be held between August 20 and September 20, and all the details are in the table below.

Fortunately, some elected officials in Sedgwick County put taxpayers’ interests first with proposals to hold property taxes flat, including ten townships and a collection of cemetery, drainage, and improvement districts.  Hundreds of taxing authorities across Kansas are doing the same, demonstrating that it can be done if elected officials want to put taxpayers first.

These hearings are your opportunity to let elected officials know what you think.  Don’t waste it.

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