Topeka City Leaders Approve Budget In Early Morning Hours

By: Suzie Gilbert Email
By: Suzie Gilbert Email

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Topeka City Council members and Mayor Bill Bunten broke a deadlock after 1:00 a.m. Wednesday (8/15). The budget comes with an increase of 2.9 mills, which is about a $33 property tax hike per year, on a $100 thousand home.

The 7-hour long meeting ended with about $1.5 million in cuts, including the following:

$100 thousand taken from the Topeka Zoo budget
$100 thousand taken from the city's travel and education budget
$300 thousand taken from the Topeka Police and Fire Department commodities and contracts
$500 thousand from the special liability fund, that's the money the city uses to pay settlements, should the city get sued and lose.
$61 thousand taken from social services funding, the money had been used as a cushion, so the cut means no organizations will get any less money than they did in 2012, unless they requested less money.
$300 thousand to be cut at the discretion of incoming City Manager Jim Colson
$136 thousand saved by abolishing an inmate work program

City leaders chose to add the following to the budget:

$300 thousand in employee wages and salary enhancements for the Topeka Fire Department
Council members increased funding to public safety departments

The governing body approved $300 thousand to implement an electronic ticketing program for the Topeka Police Department, saying it would speed up ticket processing time and save money in the long run. But the decision was reversed in an effort to lower the mill increase and break the deadlocked 5 to 5 vote.

The governing body passed the budget 7 to 3. After several unsuccessful 5 to 5 votes, council members Chad Manspeaker and Andrew Gray changed their votes to adopt the budget.

John Alcala, Sylvia Ortiz and Bob Archer voted against the budget.

Financing the budget does dip into the city's ending balance, lowering it to about $6 million, which is 7.2 percent of the general fund.

Mayor Bill Bunten has 7 days to veto the budget. By Kansas law, it must be certified with the City Clerk by August 25th.


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