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The Ledger
107 S. Christian Ave.
Moundridge, Kansas 67107
(620) 345-6353


This Week's Issue:

The Ledger June 22, 2017The Ledger June 22, 2017

A Taxing Question, Moundridge’s Are Going Up, While USD 423’s Heads Down

Posted 3/30/2017

By Randy Fogg

The Ledger Staff

MOUNDRIDGE – Property owners in Moundridge have been seeing an increase in their tax bills the last five years, while patrons in USD 423 are seeing the school district portion of property taxes head downward.

The Ledger took at look at what the mill levy has done for those living in the City of Moundridge, as well as for school district residents.

In addition, voters approved sales tax increases in the City of Moundridge, as well as in McPherson County.

In 2014, Moundridge voters approved a 1 percent sales tax that would be paid in the city limits.

City Administrator Randy Frazer said money generated from the tax was to help the city’s general fund and would be used to pay for street improvements as well as help the budgets for the police department and the emergency medical service.

McPherson County voters approved a one-half percent sales tax that would be collected countywide. Funds from this tax helped the three hospitals in the county.

 McPherson Hospital received half of the money generated, while the Lindsborg Hospital and Mercy Hospital in Moundridge split the other half.

Here is a look at the mill levy for the city of Moundridge for the last five years:

• 2017 – 33.5,

• 2016 – 31.555,

• 2015 – 30.701,

• 2014 – 29.928 and

• 2013 - 26.300.

In the last five years, Moundridge’s mill levy has climbed 7.2 mills.

Frazer said Moundridge still has one of the lowest mill levys for cities across the state.

In 2014, the Kansas Legislature approved a property tax lid for cities and counties across the state. The lid limits how much cities and counties can increase their mill levies in a one-year period without a public vote. The increase cannot be more than the area’s consumer price index (CPI), which is tied to consumer spending, without voter approval.

In 2017, Moundridge had a CPI of 1.25 percent. With this new law, if the council was to increase the mill level more than 1.25 percent, residents must vote to allow it.

Frazer said elections could be cost-prohibitive for the city. He noted an election might cost as much as $5,000-$6,000. For Moundridge, one mill would raise $15,000.

“We would have to have a big need for an election,” Frazer said.

In the last five years, the school district’s mill levy has decreased 5.905 mills. Here is a look at the mill levy.

• 2012-13 - 60.022,

• 2013-14 – 60.460,

• 2014-15 – 60.354,

• 2015-16 – 59.698, and

• 2016-17 – 54.117.

Moundridge Superintendent George Leary said the amount includes an approximate 2 mills that goes to the Moundridge Recreation Commission.

“We think it shows we’re good stewards of the taxpayers’ money,” Leary said.

The State of Kansas has also increase the taxes paid by residents Moundridge and USD 423. In July of 2015, sales tax increased from 6.15 percent to 6.5 percent.

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District To Retire Old Bonds In July

Posted 3/30/2017

By Randy Fogg

The Ledger Staff

MOUNDRIDGE – The USD 423 School District will be retiring its last two bond issues a couple of months earlier than originally planned.

Superintendent George Leary said the two previous bond issues will be paid off July 1. Originally, the issues were scheduled to be retired in September.

“The money will be collected,” Leary said. “Why not go ahead and get it paid off a little bit earlier?”

Leary noted the school district will save $1,936 in interest with the early pay offs.

“We’re going to do this regardless of what happens April 4,” Leary added.

He said community members have indicated an interest in getting the previous bonds retired prior to the new bond issue coming on line.

The Moundridge Board of Education is asking patrons to approve a $20.995 bond issue. The bonds will be paid off in a 25-year period.

As a walk-in election, the voting location will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday, April 4, at the Northridge Community Center.

Board member Jacque Schmidt said the proposed bond issue will address infrastructure improvements, such as the building’s roof, fascia and heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.

“When it rains, water pools on the roof and has caused the roof to leak in various places in the building,” Schmidt said. “These leaks have cause damage to the interior of the building.

“The condition of the gold fascia (on the middle school/high school building) allows the air to seep in,” she continued. “These air leaks have caused pipes to freeze and make the building inefficient to heat and cool. The boiler system is outdated and inefficient. Upgrades are needed to the HVAC system so that the building temperature can be efficiently regulated.”

Another key area for Schmidt was providing Federal Emergency Management Agency-approved storm shelters for students and staff and building security was added.

The storm shelters could also serve as classroom space. Front entrances and office relocations would allow the new campus “to have secured entrances with a security system that would prevent unauthorized entrances into the building,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt said she was pleased the entire community has been given the opportunity to voice their opinions about the proposed plan.

“Many opportunities were given for community members to become informed and provide their feedback,” Schmidt said. “The task force and the Board of Education worked diligently to listen and respond to the concerns of the community in bringing forth the bond proposal.”

Schmidt stressed district patrons should support this bond “because the students of this district are our future and the future of this community. They deserve to attend school and learn in an environment that is conducive to learning.”

While stressing she understands $20.9 million is a lot of money and there are people in the community who cannot afford a property tax increase, she noted there are 400 children attending school in this district.

“They are attending school in buildings that are falling apart,” Schmidt said. “They are cold, drafty and have poor lighting.

“Most of us would not find it acceptable to live in these conditions, much less stay on task and focused to learn,” she continued. “If we don’t do something, the buildings will continue to deteriorate. This deterioration will cause the cost for a future bond project to rise as interior damage will inevitably increase and construction costs will continue to rise. The need for repairs will not go away.”

 

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Inman Students To Finish School May 16

Posted 3/30/2017

By Randy Fogg

The Ledger Staff

INMAN – Since USD 448 did not have to use any of the snow days built  in to this year’s school calendar, Inman School District will be able to wrap up classes three days earlier than originally scheduled.

Still allowing for 182 contact days between students and teachers, the final day for students to attend school will be Tuesday, May 16. The last day of school had been set for Friday, May 19.

The Inman Board of Education voted unanimously to move up the last day for students during its regular monthly meeting Monday, March 20, at the district office.

Inman Superintendent Scott Friesen said four snow days were placed in the original schedule.

He said the additional time could be used for staff development. Friesen noted the district’s staff was formulating how Inman would set up individual plans of study for students and there was interest in curriculum development as well.

“I’d like to see some extra time for staff development,” Board President Janell Harman said.

Harman asked for input from the building principals.

Inman High School Principal Tyler Weinbrenner said, “I’d be in favor of adding the additional staff development.”

“We have a lot of work to do as a staff,” Inman Elementary School Principal Jo McFadden said. “That would be valuable time.”

• The Inman Board also took a look at the school calendar for the 2017-18 school year. Friesen said the calendar was extremely similar to the one the district used this year.

Teachers will have 182 contact days with Inman students.

The first day of school will be Thursday, Aug. 17, and the last day of school May 17.

Friesen noted the teachers will have a workday at the end of each nine weeks.

The board unanimously approved the calendar, subject to an OK from the teachers’ association.

• A group of three board members – Kevin Neufeld, Lisa Thimmesch and Jessica Schierling – will meet with Friesen prior to the next board meeting to discuss the district’s outdoor facilities needs.

The board members will recommend a direction for the district to go to improve some of its athletic facilities.

While nothing has been decided, board members have mentioned renovating the football stadium and the track, as well as adding an underground sprinkler system. There have been discussions about improving the dugouts the high school softball and baseball teams use.

“The committee needs to decide which directions they want to go,” Neufeld said.

By determining what to improve, board members will be able to determine which architectural firm to use to get drawings of the work needed.

• The Inman board will next meet Monday, April 17, at the district office.

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