1. Received a budget proposal

The city took a look at an initial budget proposal for the 2019-20 budget, and it was not a pretty picture.


The proposal contained an increase to water rates — that could be offset by an adjustment to sewer fees — and a mill levy increase of more than seven mills.


“I have been warning everyone that it could be eight mills,” said commissioner Glen Davis. “… We knew this was coming.”


The budget also contains about a 2.8 percent growth in evaluations — which does mean more property tax collections for the city.


The proposal also called for reduction to outside agency funding; coupling pool renovations and baseball diamond improvements to public building commission funding; the addition of one person to the Newton Fire/EMS department; the expansion of a city prosecutor’s position; and the purchase of mechanical CPR devices for Newton Fire/EMS.


“I think we should forgo the 164,000 in budget enhancements, and I will put that log on the fire,” said commissioner Leroy Koehn.


The commission did not make any decisions Tuesday, discussing the budget in a work session. The commission will review proposals at the first in July. There will be a public hearing the following meeting. A budget must be approved in August.




2. Learned of three housing starts

The commission approved a new construction incentive program on June 11, and three building permits have been granted in the two weeks following that meeting.


According to a report by city manager Bob Myers, all three building permits also have incentive program applications pending. The permits are for homes with estimated values of $170,000, $180,000 and $250,000.


The incentive program gives $10,000 to builders to assist with interest payments on loans for construction of the homes.



3. Looked at a Rural Housing Incentive District

The Rural Housing Incentive District would be for Redwood Development from Missouri for a senior housing development near 24th and Anderson.

The proposed development is to have about 60 housing units within. The developers are applying for tax credit that would require a portion of the development income based.


An RHID helps with the construction of infrastructure be recapturing property taxes to pay for those improvement over time.


The commission approved moving forward, requesting the Kansas Department of Commerce to create the RHID. The approval process would take place this fall. Construction could start about a year from now.