The 2019 budget for the city of Hays is a balanced budget, meaning the city won’t spend more money than it takes in.

The Hays City Commission approved a $39.466 million budget for 2019 at its regular meeting Thursday evening.

The new budget developed by the city’s staff calls for a mill levy of 25.00 or $25 for every $1,000 of assessed value. The city’s mill levy has been at or below 25.00 for 12 out of the past 13 years, said Assistant City Manager Jacob Wood, who presented the details of the budget to the commission.

“Our projected revenue is $12.5 million. We are expecting a sales tax decrease of about one percent, but our revenue should remain about flat,” Wood said. “We still have other kinds of revenue coming in aside from sales tax so we do think our total revenue will remain pretty flat.”

The mill levy is sixth lowest in the state, Wood said, and it’s the lowest levy outside of Johnson County. Overall, assessed valuation will decrease by one-half percent, with the value of 1 mill equal to $234,324, which is down about $10,000, he said.

Notable in the budget is it includes a new pay plan for city employees, payment of cash for large projects, no additional employees and a continued focus on sustainability, Wood told the commissioners.

The budget includes money for street improvements to Elm, Ash and Fourth near Lewis Field Stadium, and an extension of 41st Street to Vineyard Park, as well as water and sewer line replacement in various locations. About $1.18 million is set aside for street maintenance. There are no large stormwater projects planned.

Parks projects call to resurface the municipal tennis court, installation of a restroom at Hickok Park, installation of play equipment at Rolling Hills Park, and addition of new sidewalks in various parks.

The city’s water conservation efforts will continue to include $48,000 for educational outreach, $50,000 for toilet rebates, $50,000 for turf replacement and $32,000 for washing machine rebates.

New equipment will include an asphalt compactor and pickup truck for Public Works, a mower for the Parks Department, two patrol vehicles for the Hays Police Department, and a dump truck, two pick up trucks and an SUV for the Water Resources Department.

The proposed budget does include an increase of up to $2 to the rates Hays residents pay for trash pickup and recycling. The commissioners can decide the rate later based on various proposals from city staff that will be presented in October. A rate increase would go into effect Jan. 1, 2019.

In other business the commissioners:

• Approved a cereal malt beverage license application by KB & KS Investments L.L.C. for 1130 E. 41st St. Partners in the business on the application are Kim Briney and Kelly Stiles.

• Approved changes in traffic ordinances by the Kansas Legislature for Kansas cities. The changes cover a variety of offenses, from driving around a stopped school bus and littering to possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, and passing a stationary trash truck.

• Approved Mayor James Meier’s proposed appointments for three city boards: David Ashbaugh, Ron Augustine and Josh Dreher to the Fort Hays Municipal Golf Course Advisory Board; Judy Dawson and Jim Strine to the Hays Beautification Committee; and Michael Berges to the Hays Area Board of Zoning Appeals.

• Received Meier’s proposed appointment of Joseph Boeckner to the Hays Area Planning Commission. They’ll vote on the recommendation Aug. 23.

• Approved a new restroom at Ekey Park with a $20,000 donation from the Sunrise Rotary Club and $38,500 from the 2018 Special Park and Recreation Budget.

• Approved removal of an untagged vehicle and some trash and junk from the backyard of 303 W. 16th St. within 10 days if further action isn’t taken.

• Accepted the low bid of $876,324.12 from Vogts Parga Construction LLC, Newton, to remove failed concrete on 45th and 43rd streets west of Interstate 70.