Archive for Wednesday, May 19, 2004

City Hall report

Weekly review of city government

May 19, 2004


Plan forecasts capital improvements

A proposed $3 million improvement to Kasold Drive probably will happen. But most of the projects in a new city plan probably will never get approval.

The Lawrence City Commission on Tuesday received the 2005-2010 capital improvements plan that will guide decisions on city construction projects for the next five years.

The plan, spread over two documents, contains 227 proposed projects that would cost $561 million. Approving the plan doesn't mean those projects will receive funding -- and officials say the majority of the projects never will happen.

Instead, the plan serves as a sort of wish list to guide City Hall spending priorities.

"The capital program is intended as a guide to assist the city's departments and divisions in developing their annual budget," city staffers said in an unsigned memorandum. "Ultimately, the City Commission will make the decision of which projects will be undertaken during the next fiscal year."

Utility bills written off

As expected, the Lawrence City Commission on Tuesday approved the write-off of $189,000 in unpaid utility bills from 2002.

In a memorandum to commissioners, finance director Ed Mullins said that didn't mean the bills wouldn't be paid.

"Writing off accounts does not cause collection activities to cease," Mullins wrote. "It is done to more accurately state the level of account receivables on our general ledger. Otherwise, we may be overstating the financial position of the city."

Executive session

The Lawrence City Commission met in executive session Tuesday night with Police Chief Ron Olin, apparently to discuss negotiations with the city's police union.

Negotiations began in April with the union, which has 112 members. The city contract with the Lawrence Police Officers Assn. expires Dec. 31.

Commissioners took no action after the closed-door session.

Budget requests that city departments made Monday:
Department 2004 2005 request Increase
Fire &Medical; $9.59 million $10.34 million 7.8%
Finance $4.02 million $4.22 million 4.9%
Public Health $2.56 million $2.74 million 7%

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