County administrator Dennis Hays cited rising fuel costs, a spike in residential foreclosures, declining home values, and slower consumer spending for proposed cuts in the fiscal 2009 budget for the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City.

The proposed $259.1 million budget would cut spending by 0.2% from fiscal 2008, and provide only a small reduction in the county’s property tax.

In a presentation last week to the Unified Board of Commissioners, Hays said the budget would “challenge the ability of our employees to continue providing high-quality responsive services and complete major projects.”

Measures outlined by Hays include a hiring freeze, a halt to capital projects and major equipment purchases, and suspension of a recently established infrastructure fund shared by three cities in the county.

Hays said the city-county government lost $600,000 in fiscal 2008 as a result of the Kansas Legislature’s repeal of the tax on machinery and equipment in 2007.

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