Safety, neighborhoods focus of 2020 budget

Overland Park’s proposed 2020 budget focuses on public safety and neighborhood stabilization operations, continues commitments to public infrastructure maintenance, programs and services, and keeps a cautious eye toward the future.

“Overland Park’s current stable financial position enables the City to meet demands, especially in the areas of public safety and neighborhood stabilization for the upcoming fiscal year,” said Bill Ebel, City Manager.

Ebel presented the budget, which proposes 17 new positions, to Mayor Carl Gerlach and the City Council tonight. New positions include:

  • Four new full-time police dispatchers and a dispatch supervisor, to support efficient police communication and “zone dispatching”
  • A new full-time training officer and a new full-time logistics officer in the fire department
  • Three new full-time information technology staff members, to support growing technology needs
  • Two new positions in the parks department, to allow additional focus on preservation and parks maintenance
  • A new crew leader to support building maintenance
  • Additional hours to support recreation services, including the Overland Park Farmers’ Market, arts, and special events such as the Star Spangled Spectacular and Fall Festival

Additional funding is also included for:

  • School crossing guard services
  • A police SUV equipped to aid officers in community relations efforts and substance abuse prevention
  • The city’s technology systems
  • Annual street maintenance
  • Traffic maintenance system, and more.

The proposed overall budget equals $304.7 million, an increase of 3.4% percent from 2019. The 2020 operating budget, which funds day-to-day operations of the city from the general fund, is $128.5 million.

The budget does not recommend a change to the city’s current mill levy, which at 13.566, is the lowest of any Johnson County city.

Cautious approach looking forward

Overland Park is taking a carefully-managed approach to the budget, planning a spend-down of reserve funds over the next five years, while still meeting an adequate ending cash balance.

Overland Park anticipates stable and modest growth in property values, but external factors, including sales tax revenue changes, legislative action, and increasing costs could impact future budgets.

The city manager also expects Overland Park will require additional public safety resources in the near future, and infrastructure maintenance will continue to be a priority as the city continues to age.

“Balancing the needs of the community with financial resources is always a challenge,” Ebel said. “The proposed 2020 Budget reflects the city’s priorities while maintaining public services and infrastructure and ensuring the long-term fiscal health of our community.”

Future budget consideration

City Council committees will review the proposed budget during the months of June and July.

The City Council Committee of the Whole is tentatively scheduled to review the budget again on July 15, and a public hearing is scheduled for the City Council meeting at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, August 5, 2019.