Platte County Commission raises mill levy by 5 cents

Platte County property taxes will go up 5 cents this year in a move made to make up a funding gap for the federally mandated emergency radio update and to help address an error made in tax paperwork. The Platte County Commission voted 2-1 on Tuesday to increase the mill levy from 1 to 6 cents per $100 of assessed value. Presiding commissioner Jason Brown voted no, as part of his long-time stance to oppose all tax increases. Levies for the county road and bridge district and drainage district were also approved with the road and bridge levy remaining at 32 cents and the drainage ditch levy decreasing slightly from 8 to 7 cents. A potential increase in property tax levies has been discussed for several years among various elected officials in the courthouse but didn’t again gain steam until recent staff meetings. First district commissioner Beverlee Roper said the county has a $1.2 million payment due in 2016 for the lease agreement on the new narrow band police radio system in use by the Platte County Sheriff’s Department. The first five payments were made from windfall revenue from KCP&L, but the final five payments do not have a dedicated source. Last month, a commission-appointed jail committee issued a recommendation that the commissioners consider re-aligning the existing half-cent parks and recreation sales tax. A November ballot issue was considered that would first rescind a portion of the parks tax then rededicate it to law enforcement. After several meetings, disagreements and controversy, commissioners opted not to pursue this option for now. “Not to be too straight-forward since everyone likes to do things with smoke and mirrors, this would cover it,” Roper said of the property tax increase funding the radio lease payments.