City Council Approve A Franchise Fee Rebate Program


Council members gathered at City Council chambers to discuss unfinished business regarding a local Topeka trail and a resolution to a rebate program.

City Council members voted 8 to 1 approving an ongoing project which provides the design and construction to extend the existing Shunga Multipurpose Trail near SW Fairlawn Road and SW 29th Street.

The total project budget is $1.3 million, which includes the city's portion of $105,000.

"I don't think I've heard as many comments in favor of this and we also, and they have been from all over the community, people are so ready for this project, thank you," says Karen Hiller, council member, District 1.

Council members had conflicting opinions about the restructure of the franchise fee rebate program. The changes include reducing administrative costs and improving service delivery to low income households with gas, electric water and waste water bills.

"It's low income, but it's also folks who are disabled, it's single parent households, its the age," says Topeka financial adviser, Jeff White.

The revised program includes a single application process for all utilities. The City will contract with Community Resource Council (CRC) for administration of the program, something that council member John Campos disagrees with.

"I feel uncomfortable giving a non for profit, who has no record what so ever in providing services, to people in our community who need them, the first program and second to that, one who doesn't have an Executive Director," says Campos.

Even so, council members approved the motion with council members Hiller, Campos, Ortiz and Schwartz in opposition.

Council members also voted 7 to 2 repealing the former Franchise Fee refund program which enabled the vote to restructure it.


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