Thanks to the input from citizens and the difficult decisions made by the Governing Body in 2012, the 2013 Budget includes no property tax increase. The priority for the 2013 Budget is to meet all debt service obligations and maintain current service delivery levels without an increase in the City's property tax mill levy.
The Ark Valley News article "Bel Aire budget calls for no tax increase" can be viewed at:
Early in the budget process, staff identified cuts that could be made in 2012 to allow for the coverage of all mandatory land related expenses without a tax increase. This scenario included closing the City's Recreation Center and contracting with the City of Wichita to provide fire protection at a reduced rate from what citizens pay to Sedgwick County.
In June, a water bill insert explaining the budget constraints facing the City was sent to all residents, inviting them to attend one of two upcoming Town Hall meeting to obtain more information and provide feedback. Both Town Hall budget meetings were held at Bel Aire City Hall. Each time, over 100 citizens were in attendance and many spoke about what services they wanted to see maintained for 2012. Overwhelmingly, the feedback from citizens supported keeping the Recreation Center open and staying with Sedgwick County for fire protection.
Based on recommendations from citizens, staff proposed cuts of $745,000 in operating expenses and a 12 mill increase in the City property tax rate. After careful consideration and in an effort to avoid over burdening citizens in a strained economy, the City Council agreed to the publication of a proposed 2012 budget that included $745,000 in operating expenses and a 6.839 mill increase. This was made possible by adding $280,000 of land sales into the revenue budget for 2012.
To view budgets for prior years, click on the Documents tab at the top of the page and look in the folder titled Budget Documents