Because of the increase in valuation and the increase in costs across the board for providing public services, we are seeing potential increases in all of our property tax bills next year.
None of us like seeing our bills going up. However, it is important to note that the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce believes many of the challenges our local governing bodies are facing with budget shortfalls can be traced to stagnant economic growth. Because of negative economic events at Fort Riley (loss of 3,500 soldiers in the last decade) and Kansas State (loss of 4,000 students), Manhattan has struggled to see the economic growth many of our university community peers have seen. When you don’t grow, governing bodies are faced with two choices: raise taxes on the people still here or reduce services. Neither is a good option.
There is a bit of good news. Earlier this year, we surpassed our pre Covid job numbers in the Manhattan metropolitan area. Additionally, and important to the Chamber, we have exceeded 2019 numbers in hotel occupancy. However, we are still relatively static, both in terms of population and jobs as we were a decade ago. That is not sustainable if we want to maintain the quality of life we enjoy.
We are headed in the right direction. Our leadership has committed to examining over the next few months what specific items we need to support that will accelerate our job and population growth. It is the only path to expanding the number of taxpayers instead of the liability on current taxpayers. If you have thoughts, please let us know.
One item of note…make sure and mark Aug. 9, on your calendar for the Business Showcase at the Four Points by Sheraton. We have 50 exhibitors this year, a significant increase on last year’s total. The door open at 5:30 p.m. for more information, go here: https://manhattanareachamberofcommerceks.growthzoneapp.com/ap/Events/Register/9pQv2ReP?mode=Attendee