Newton city three: A budget, a project moves forward, updated cemetery rules

Chad Frey
The Kansan
City of Newton, Kansas.

The Newton City Commission met for a short meeting Aug 12, with all five commissioners in attendance. 

Three highlights from the meeting include. 

1. Approved the budget, set a hearing 

The commission approved a budget for publication, meaning notice of the budget will be published in the Newton Kansan. 

The not-to-exceed budget sets a cap of 62.535 mills and $8.1 million in expenses. 

"We can always come down now, before we approve the budget Aug. 24 but we cannot exceed this," said Donna Pickman director of finance for the city,

Despite keeping the mill levy steady, the city will have an extra public hearing for the proposed budget this year due to new requirements by the state legislature. 

This is due to senate bill 13. .. We will stay at the mill levy rate that we have been at the last four years instead of the revenue neutral rate," Pickman said. 

The revenue neutral rate would have lowered the mill level about .6 mills due to increased evaluations in the city.

The commission will will meet at  6 p.m. August 24, at City Hall, 201 E. Sixth, for the purpose of hearing and answering objections of taxpayers relating to revenue neutral rate and proposed tax rate.

2. A project moves forward

Learned that a tax credit application by Mennonite Housing for a senior housing project to be located at First and Boyd Streets was approved. The organization expects to complete the tax credit transaction in November or December. 

"We are super excited to see this happening," said Kelly McElroy, city manager for the city of Newton.  "Depending on the turnaround for state and federal tax credits, it is possible that you will see dirt moving by December."

The housing project's first phase is expected to include  32 units wth a clubhouse and maintenance garage. Entrances tot he housing project will be off of First and Boyd Streets. 

This was the third application for tax credits for the project. 

3. Updated cemetery rules

Following a request from a local mortuary, city staff reviewed the cemetery rules and regulations which last updated in 2017.

According to Suzanne Loomis, director of public works, requests for double urn vaults spurred the review request, as  the double vaults  are not available made out of the materials listed in the current regulation. 

The commission approved a change to the regulations, adding an ABS plastic to the approved materials list.