Topeka City Council Weighing 2014 Budget Options

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW)__City officials have good news and bad news with their proposed 2014 budget for Topeka.

City council members got their first look at it Tuesday night as they attempt to put Topeka on track financially.

City officials say the problem facing Topeka isn't unique. Jeff White, Principal of Columbia Capital Municipal Advisors, says, "Topeka, like a lot of cities has struggled to bounce back from the economy."

Topeka City Council members heard Tuesday night how much the problem adds up in the 2014 budget, a deficit over five and a half million dollars.

White, says,"$5.65 million dollars on $87 million in spending is not an insignificant sum. So it is not just a little tweak here and there. It's a bigger problem than that.

City Manager Jim Colson presented several alternatives for council members to close the deficit. The options were to raise revenue, cut spending, or a mix of both.

The revenue enhancements option would raise city property taxes 4.11 mils, to bring in a total of $3.9 million dollars, plus add fee increases.

The expenditure reductions option would cut all departments across the board by 6.7% including more than four million dollars in cuts for police and fire departments.

Colson also provided a hybrid option which combines the two without cuts to public safety.

White explained the third option saying, "The hybrid would raise some revenues by fee increases or tax increases and looks at cutting some spending as well. This is something we have to fix in 2014 so we are not back here talking about the same thing in 2015."

There will be a lot of debate over the next roughly two months. Council members plan to adopt a 2014 Topeka City Budget on August 20th.

You can find a list of budget presentation dates open to the public on the city's website, www.topeka.org.


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