City Council discusses budget for Capital Improvement Plan

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- By April 3, 2017, City Council hopes to approve a new Capital Improvement Plan. The proposed plan has a proposed budget of just over 818 million dollars.

"It just really goes along with everything that we have been discussing and that our community has been asking for,” Mayor Michelle De La Isla said. “We're talking about quality of life initiatives, we're talking about redoing the roads and working on a paired process of working with infrastructure."

A big topic for the members was road work and maintenance. The proposed plan sets about a third of the budget for road and sidewalk maintenance with funding coming from G.O. bonds, Federal funds and County and City half-cent sales taxes.

"We for a long time have had funds to do works in our roads and constituents are very concerned and frustrated,” De La Isla said. “They haven't seen the work in the roads that they've been wanting to see."

Another major project in the CIP is renovating City Hall. According to the plan it would include significant interior construction, plumbing and mechanical work.

"This building has not had a renovation in many, many years,” Brent Trout, City Manager, said. “It’s time for us to take action relative to updating our heating and air conditioning systems, lighting systems and really looking at how we're utilizing this space"

A quality of life project is also part of the plan which is mostly centered on a Zoo Master Plan. A majority of the zoo funding will come from donations, but a small percentage from the city wide sales tax.

"In this CIP, it is 12 million dollars of funding over the first five years and that covers Camp Cowabunga, the Tiger Trails and the Elephant Reserve," Nick Hawkins, Budget and Performance Manager, said.

Some of the projects in the CIP are put in place assuming that the city wide half-cent sales tax will be renewed in 2019. The council will be discussing the proposal further Tuesday March 20 and hope to reach approval by April 3, 2018.