Elwood Homeowners Facing Steep Property Tax Hike

Elwood Homeowners Facing Steep Property Tax Hike

City portion of property tax will rise almost 50 percent next year.
(ELWOOD, Ks.)  Homeowners in Elwood, Kan. will pay more in property taxes next year.

A budget squeeze means the city portion of the property tax bill will be going up as much as 50 percent.

The news caught some residents by surprise.

"That's terrible, that's going to be rough,"  said Charlie Golden, who has lived in Elwood for more than 40 years.

"I think it's ridiculous," said another resident.

After looking at the numbers, leaders say the city has held off as long as they can.

"t's been 10 years in the making throughout the city," said Elwood Mayor George Mitchell. "It's just losing businesses, the sales tax dollars, upgrading our sewer system, getting our utility rates back in line."

Mitchell says Elwood needed about an extra $150,000 to keep city services going.

"We went into money for our general fund so we looked at a figure of what we thought we needed to maintain and keep our businesses going," he said.

Mitchell says several expenses they had held off on have come home to roost. For example, he says, with the city's power utility, they've only increased rates once since 1983.

"For several years, the city was just using money out of the general fund to fund the electric rates," he said

Another big ticket item for the city was $150,000 for repaving Roseport Road.

"Approximately ten years ago it was repaved by the state then turned over to the City of Elwood to maintain," Mitchell said. "For the last ten years we haven't had to do any maintenance. Over the years, it's started getting bad so that we've had to."

At the Brickhouse Sports Bar in Elwood, the tax increase was all the talk.

"They're high enough now. It's hard enough to pay the bills now and now we have to worry about an increase in taxes," said Jeremy Matney.

"The taxes here in Elwood are what they are in Johnson County. Well, go to St. Joe, it's half of what it is over here," said James Cave, owner of the business.

But Mitchell says he's only concerned about Elwood.

"You got to do what you got to do to keep your city afloat," he said. "If it's raising utilities, raising tax dollars, you have to do what you have to do to maintain.""We just have to keep our figures up so we don't go broke."

The owner of a $100,000 home in Elwood will end up paying an extra $140 next year for the city portion of their property taxes.

City leaders say that will bring in an extra $150,000 in revenues.


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