Local Levy To Maintain Arts and Culture

Local option levy for the museum, library, and parks

Local Levy To Maintain Arts and Culture

Local option levy for the museum, library, and parks

5 year Local Option

The city of Independence is seeking a five-year local option tax of $1.82 per $1,000 of assessed value, beginning fiscal year 2025-26, to support operations and maintenance of the City’s museum, library, and parks.  The levy is necessary to continue to operate and maintain the Heritage Museum, public library, and city parks for the next five years.

Operating Maintenance

The City’s operation and maintenance of the museum, library, and city parks are funded from the City’s General Fund, primarily from property taxes and state shared revenues. Historically, the costs of operating and maintaining the museum, library, and parks have increased at a faster rate than the revenues available to support them.  Over the last 10 years, general use property taxes have increased an average of 5% per year, versus costs to operate and maintain the City’s museum, library, and parks have grown an average of 9% per year.  The estimated total combined cost to operate and maintain the museum, library, and parks for the 2024-25 fiscal year is $1,060,000.

The levy tax rate of $1.82 per $1,000.00 of assessed value is estimated to cost the average homeowner the equivalent of approximately $382 in the first year of the levy, and would collect approximately $1.12 million in the first year, with an estimated total of $5.96 million over five years.

5

year option

9%

Increase to operate

$382

First year cost

1.12 M

Collected first year

5.96 M

Collected – 5 years

1 M+

To maintain

Fund Programs

If approved, the levy would fund and support numerous services and programs, which include but are not limited to:

  • Youth Coding League and STEM programming for community teens.
  • Preschool and bilingual Storytime programming.
  • Warming and cooling shelters for the community.
  • Local access to traveling exhibitions from the Smithsonian and other national societies.
  • Continuation of the annual Ghost Walk event.
  • Exhibits and programs supporting school groups interested in local history
  • Continued maintenance and upkeep of City parks grounds and equipment.
  • Continued seasonal watering of City parks.

Timeline

August 2024

Levy Resolution brought up

November 2024

General Election – Levy goes on the ballet to be voted on

July 2025

First Implementation of levy fee if passed

Frequently Asked Questions

Currently, no. The city will place an Arts and Culture Operating Levy on the ballot(s) in 2024-25 to support the Independence Public Library, the Independence Heritage Museum, and city parks. If passed, this will generate $1.065 million per year and translates to a rate of $1.82/$1,000 assessed value or about $548 per year on a home valued at $300,000. If this levy fails, the city will begin to close those departments that would have been funded by the levy.

The budgeted costs of operations for the museum, parks, library, and police department for the 2024-25 fiscal year are as follows:

  • Museum – $210,162.
  • Parks – $384,247
  • Library – $559,112
  • Police – $3,796,057

The city’s General Fund is expected to collect $2.7 million in property taxes in 2024-25. These limited funds support the museum, parks, library, and police.

The national average for police staffing is typically used as a benchmark for assessing police coverage and is currently 2.4, stated as the number of sworn officers per 1,000 population. The city of Independence currently has 15 full-time sworn officers, including the Chief. Adding 7 more sworn officers would allow Independence to near the national average for a city population of 10,000.

The proposed public safety fee is meant to provide the funding to bring the Police Department near the national average over the course of 4-5 years by funding the $1.06 million annual cost of 7 additional officers (salaries, benefits, equipment, supplies, etc.).

No. If a public safety fee is put in place, it will ONLY be included on the city’s utility billing as a means of collection.

The amount of the public safety fee has not yet been set. The amended city budget approved by the budget committee included direction for staff to find a way to potentially reduce the proposed public safety fee. Therefore, the amount of the fee is still under review and will be discussed at the June 11, 2024, city council meeting. If a public safety fee is part of the adopted budget, it will be placed on the monthly city utility bills beginning in January 2025.

Currently, if adopted, city staff anticipate the public safety fee to be added to city utility bills beginning in January 2025.

City staff are currently meeting and identifying options to reduce costs of service in the General Fund specifically as well as identifying potential alternative revenue sources as a means to provide for long-term stability of the General Fund. The timing and implementation of the public safety fee, including phasing in the fee, is currently being discussed to mitigate the impacts of that fee on resident rate payers.

The city council will review and further discuss the city budget at their June 11, 2024 meeting, with an additional opportunity for public testimony.