Olathe, Kansas

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Olathe, Kansas is a city located in Johnson County, Kansas. Olathe's population as of 2010 was 125,872.[1]


Olathe's has a modified mayor-council-manager government. The mayor and two council members are elected at-large, and four council members are elected by wards. Officials are elected for four-year terms. The council hires the city manager.[2]


Olathe's mayor is Michael Copeland. Copeland's fourth term as mayor will end in April 2015.[2]

City manager

The city manager is J. Michael Wilkes. Wilkes has been Olathe's manager since 1999.[3]


In 2012, the city commenced a "slow back in" approach, by which they planned to gradually increase city services after bold cuts in recent years. For example, after cutting nearly 100 city positions since 2008, the city planned to add back six positions. Expenditures for 2012 were up 1 percent from 2011, but still down 10 percent from 2008. While Olathe's population had been rising, the cuts had not prevented the city's satisfaction index from rising consistently, as well.[4]

Budget revenues[4]
Source 2010 actual 2011 projected 2012 adopted
Beginning balance $87,935,894 $90,684,953 $82,093,963
Property taxes $45,227,943 $43,235,154 $44,512,935
Sales tax $37,463,332 $38,294,021 $38,661,065
Franchise tax $9,264,850 $9,609,481 $9,397,063
Guest tax $838,247 $805,508 $850,000
Licenses and permits $813,254 $772,463 $797,244
Intergovernmental $4,825,323 $4,779,045 $5,080,266
Charges for services $73,004,386 $76,885,976 $80,042,518
Fines and forfeits $3,323,570 $3,649,577 $3,593,300
Interest $-224 $307,292 $246,125
Transfers $8,526,830 $8,157,644 $7,750,946
Miscellaneous $3,441,784 $1,442,701 $1,521,628
Year-end accounts receivable $0 $0 $-9,600,000
Total revenue $274,665,189 $278,623,815 $264,947,053
Budget expenditures[4]
Function 2010 actual 2011 projected 2012 adopted
Personal services $64,937,430 $65,837,343 $67,514,716
Contractual services $51,684,049 $54,382,974 $55,723,714
Commodities $16,546,304 $17,281,231 $21,412,313
Capital outlay $38,342,062 $42,217,100 $100,994,355
Transfers $12,550,019 $16,806,204 $19,301,955
Total expenditures $184,059,864 $196,524,852 $264,947,053

Retirement costs


See also: Public pensions in Kansas

Olathe employees are in the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System (KPERS) or the Kansas Police and Fire Retirement Plan (KPFRP). Both are defined-benefit pension plans. In 2010, the city spent $1,873,310 in KPERS payments and $2,452,288 for KPFRP.[5]


Olathe had $18,789,317 in unfunded liabilities in 2010 for its other post-employment benefits (OPEBs). That represented 39.9 percent of covered payroll.[5]


Property tax

As of 2011, the city's mill levy was 24.840. With the Olathe Schools levy, the state and county property taxes, and others, the total millage rate for Olathe property owners was 128.154.[6]

Sales tax

As of 2011, Olathe's sales tax rate was 1.125 percent. With the state and county sales taxes, this led to a total sales tax rate of 8.650 percent for Olathe residents and businesses.[7]

Economic development

Olathe's top five employers as of 2011 were: Farmers Insurance, Garmin International, Johnson County Government, Olathe School District #233 and Olathe Medical Center.[4]

Top digital city

In 2011, Olathe was named the "top digital city" in the United States for the city government's use of technology in increasing efficiency and dealing with budget constraints. Olathe Mayor Michael Copeland said, "Fewer resources do not have to translate into lower service levels."[8]

SmartVet headquarters

Also in 2011, Australian veterinary company SmartVet chose Olathe as its U.S. headquarters.[9]

Website evaluation

See also: Evaluation of Kansas city websites
Elected Officials
Administrative Officials P
Permits, zoning
Contracts P
Lobbying P
Public Records
Local Taxes

School district websitesGuide.png
Transparency grading process

The good

  • The operating budget for the current year is available, as are budgets for past fiscal years.[10]
  • Meeting agendas and minutes are available for both the current year and several years prior. Video is available for many meetings.[11] Scheduled future meetings are listed on a calendar.[12]
  • Contact information is available for elected officials and includes phone numbers and individualized e-mail addresses.[13]
  • Some contact information is available for administrative officials, including office addresses and phone numbers.[14]
  • Building permit and zoning information is available.[15]
  • Independent audits are included in Comprehensive Annual Finance Reports (CAFRs), which are available online.[16]
  • Contract and bid procedures are posted online.[17]
  • The city discloses its state and federal legislative priorities.[18]
  • Procedures for making public records requests are available, as are relevant forms. The City Clerk is identified as the city's Freedom of Information Officer.[19]
  • Tax and fee information is available.[20]

The bad

  • Individualized e-mail addresses for administrative officials (including the City Manager) do not appear to be available.
  • Information regarding awarded contracts over $10,000 does not appear to be available.
  • The city does not appear to disclose its relationships with lobbyists or lobbying associations.

See also

External links