Budget Hearings: Back off TPAC

It's almost "crunch time" for Topeka City Council members, ready to start crunching the numbers on the new budget for 2009. Public hearings opened up Tuesday night, allowing some community-minded Topekans to offer the council some advice and make the case for their cause.

Stormont-Vail CEO Maynard Oliverius urged the council to join his organization in supporting 25 community agencies. He asked them to, at the very least, keep providing the same levels of city hall support the agencies received last year. Other speakers representing groups like the Shawnee County Agency on Aging, and Keep America Beautiful said council support is very important, and helps them apply for grant money from other funding organizations.

Several hotel owners and managers.. Topekans like Jim Parrish and Kurt Young of the Topeka Lodging Association.. said the council needs to seriously consider where it's placing its transient guest tax dollars in 2009. They agree that supporting TPAC is not the function of those incoming dollars, and it should financially back activities such as the Sunflower State Games or Governor's Cup Soccer.. events that put more "heads on beds" to raise those transient tax monies.

Jeff Preisner asked if Mayor Bill Bunten could provide him and his colleagues with Bunten's complete list of additions and deletions to the budget. The deputy mayor said that would give the council this weekend to review his list.

Council meets Monday evening for a budget work session, also checking the budget blueprint from City Manager Norton Bonaparte.

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