June 19, 2024

Keeping Media and Government Accountable.

Pay increases, 9% property tax hike in Manhattan

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Data from the Kansas Department of Revenue shows the City of Manhattan raised property tax by 9% last year, and some of that money is going for pay increases.  Payroll information was obtained in an Open Records request and the complete 2020 payroll is posted here at KansasOpenGov.org.

There were 27 pay periods last year compared to the normal 26 pay periods the year before, which is factored out in the column headed ‘Net Change 26 Pays’ in the tables below.

City Manager Ron Fehr was paid $204,370 and his net increase was 16.4%.  Fehr said employees received a 1.6% cost of living adjustment last year, and “a 2 % wage increase or step adjustment was also approved and was implemented in conjunction with the employees anniversary date when they receive their annual evaluation.”

Fehr didn’t provide specific responses for any employees but said some employees had payouts for sick leave or vacation at retirement and there were also “some promotions and/or reclassifications that occurred.”

Fire Captain Clinton Curtis had a large increase to more than $141,000 but isn’t listed on the city staff directory, so his increase may have been driven by a retirement payout.

Assistant City Manager Dennis Marstall had a net increase of 16.5% and was paid $126,874.  He still has the same title on the staff directory, so a retirement payout is unlikely.  The same is true of Tammy Galvan; she is still the Director of Human resources and was paid $122,284 last year, for a net increase of 27.4%.

The overtime report for Manhattan shows Tiffany Saturday, a fire engine paramedic, was paid almost $92,000 in overtime.  Her total pay was $189,066.

Property taxes increased 9%

The 9% increase in property more than made up for the reduction in 2019.  Since 1997, property taxes in Manhattan increased 294%, while inflation was 53% and the population is about 30% higher.  That means property taxes increased at 3.5 times the combined rates of inflation and population.

The city mill levy is about 19% higher than in 1997.  A mill levy history is available here at KansasOpenGov.org.

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