Representatives from Baker Tilly, a tax advisory and assurance firm returned to present to the Grain Valley Board of Alderman upon their request on Monday, August 26th. The purpose was to provide tax analysis on two different scenarios regarding tax rates. The first column presented to the Board was the current flat levy showing the total taxes that were collected for this year at the rate of 1.6294. The second column was an eight-cent rollback of the current tax levy for 2019 that the board had requested more information on during the original presentation by Baker Tilly during their August 12th meeting.
The two choices were presented to the Board in an effort to determine what route they wanted to take for a debt service payment to be made in 2020. The board would be able to make a payment of $1.3 million if they choose to keep the current flat levy rate. The other option of an eight-cent rollback of the current tax levy would allow for a $1.1 million payment. The escrow payment would be for paying down debt.
The goal of the Board was to determine how to proceed as financial stewards to best prepare funding for the planned municipal complex at Sni-A-Bar Farms on Buckner-Tarsney Road. Consideration was being given to determine which plan would be best for the determined bonding capacity the city possesses if they approach the community next year with a no tax increase bond to fund the planned Sni-A-Bar Farms facility.
An eight-cent decrease in the levy rate would reduce projected bonding capacity for the planned facilities to just under five million dollars. Baker Tilly stated that they understood from city staff that funding for the facilities could be between the $40 to $60 million range. The spokesman for Baker Tilly indicated the city would be able to pay for approximately half of the project with current levy rate and less than half with an eight-cent rollback.
Mayor Mike Todd, Finance Director Steven Craig, and Deputy City Administrator Ken Murphy all participated in discussion with the Board on what action would be feasible. Mayor Todd offered that his opinion was some type of tax decrease would be appropriate. That would allow for city leadership to say to voters that the tax rate had been decreased two years in a row (with a ten-cent tax decrease the prior year).
Craig asked the Board to weigh the cost of the proposed facilities project being significant if a decrease in rate was proposed. The reasoning being that a decrease in rate would result in less money being available for the facilities project that Craig stated the Board wanted to be the best available for the citizens of Grain Valley.
Murphy cautioned that if there was not enough bonding capacity then the city would have to start looking at phasing. That the initial phase would be cheaper, but the overall project cost would go up.
Todd proposed after discussion that a three-cent decrease be considered. City Administrator Ryan Hunt stated the recommendation would be brought before the board at its next regularly scheduled meeting.
In other news, Hunt was recognized for receiving his ten-year service pin with the City of Grain Valley on his August 17th work anniversary.
The next Board of Aldermen meeting will be held at 7:00 pm on Monday, September 9th at City Hall.