City council approves 2014 budget

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Topeka city council members have approved a budget for next year that boosts property taxes for homeowners.

Council members voted 6-4 Tuesday evening approving the new budget, which increases the property tax mill levy by 3.9 mills.

That’s about $45 on a $100,000 home.

The council also voted to cut several positions, including a planning department review position, office manager position within the city attorney’s office, a finance position and an engineering technician position in the public works department.

An additional $346,000 in cuts will be made by City Manager Jim Colson.

Council member Richard Harmon switched his vote from no, to yes, to approve this budget, but says he’s not happy about the mill levy increase.

“It was apparent to me that the council was deadlocked,” Harmon says, “I did not see any purpose in considering other motions so that’s why I switched my vote to approve the budget, very reluctantly.”

City Manager Jim Colson says the levy increase was necessary.

“When we initially identified the budget, we looked at three alternatives,” Colson says, “One was pure mill levy and one was pure cuts, I think that everybody agreed from the beginning that there needed to be some sort of hybrid approach.”

“The mill levy increase is approximately the same as where we started with a few modifications so all in all, it was a good meeting,” Mayor Larry Wolgast adds.

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