Archive for Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Sebelius offers to partner with local governments

October 15, 2003

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— Gov. Kathleen Sebelius offered cooperation -- but not money -- to city leaders Tuesday, encouraging collaboration to address the demand for services under tight budgets.

Sebelius addressed the 95th annual convention of the League of Kansas Municipalities, telling the several hundred officials that she understood their needs and the demands placed on them to provide services to residents. In recent years, the state has had to reduce services, too.

"To say I feel your pain is accurate," the governor said. "I really do consider ourselves to be partners."

Last year, the state withheld nearly $100 million from cities and counties to balance Kansas' $10 billion budget. Sebelius said she was "cautiously optimistic" that the state would not have to cut spending from its current budget.

Don Moler, the league's executive director, said cities had no illusions that state funds would be restored soon, if ever. However, without an ability to raise additional revenue -- from sources other than property taxes -- cities will cut services, including fire, police, road maintenance and parks upkeep.

"We're certainly hopeful the governor will follow through with her comments to work with local government," Moler said.

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