Posted on September 20, 2021
The City Council approved the 2022 Budget for the City of Overland Park Monday night, adding mental health resources to the Police Department and paving the way to open Fire Station 48.
Mill levy increase
The City of Overland Park, like many organizations, is recovering from the pandemic. Sales taxes and some other revenue sources decreased in 2020.
However, strategies implemented early in the pandemic helped the City’s fiscal health to remain strong in 2020, allowing for restoration of programs and service enhancements in 2022.
The $327.5 million budget includes a 6.5 percent increase in operating expenses over the 2021 operating budget. The City’s operating budget supports daily operations and current services.
A property tax rate of 14.582 mills supports the budget. The 2022 mill rate is a one mill increase over 2021’s budget. The average Overland Park homeowner, with a home valued at $350,000, will pay about $587 in taxes to the City. The $41 increase funds day-to-day services such as street maintenance, snow removal operations, fire service, park maintenance and communication with residents.
Overland Park has the lowest mill levy of any Johnson County city. The City’s mill rate makes up about 12 percent of a property owner’s tax bill.
Operating budget adds police officers, firefighters
The budget increase funds several new public safety positions.
In the Police Department, it supports a new Behavioral Health Unit, as recommended by the Mental Health Task Force and approved by the City Council. The 2022 budget adds ten crisis intervention team officers, one crisis intervention team sergeant.
Three full-time mental health co-responders, in addition to Crisis Intervention Team-trained officers and sergeants in the unit, will provide 24/7 response for mental health related emergency calls for service. The 2022 budget also adds detectives, patrol officers, community policing officers, and other police support personnel.
In the Fire Department, it adds three firefighter positions to provide minimum staffing levels, and three battalion chiefs to provide leadership with the merger with Merriam and the upcoming merger with Johnson County Fire District No. 2, and provides funding for the operations of the new Fire Station 48, which is set to open in 2022.
The budget also adds a staff member focused on communications and public engagement, facilities technicians, Information Technology staff to support cybersecurity operations, expands staffing at the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens to accommodate needs for the new visitors center and adds park attendants to expand park maintenance.
In all, the proposed 2022 Budget adds nearly 53 full time equivalent employees.
Investments in public facilities and infrastructure
The 2022 budget also supports continued investment in City facilities, amenities and public infrastructure. Updates to these plans include:
- Bridges over Coffee Creek on 167th Street,
- A police vehicle storage building at Sanders Justice Center, featuring a solar roof,
- Construction of a new Visitor’s Center at the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens,
- Wayfinding signs for Downtown Overland Park,
- Golf course fence replacement at Sykes/Lady Overland Park Golf Club Westlinks,
- Increased funding for annual street maintenance, and more.
Budget process begins and ends with community engagement
After early budget planning and a spring public hearing on the budget, Overland Park CIty Manager Bill Ebel presented the 2022 Budget to the City Council Committee of the Whole in June .
During the summer, City Council committees reviewed their respective areas of the budget, hearing feedback from residents and suggesting changes.
The Committee of the Whole met again in July, and the City Council held two public hearings on the budget at its Sept. 13 meeting.
The 2022 Budget goes into effect Jan. 1, 2022.