The Kansas Department of Health and Environment Executive Team was host to a public meeting in Lawrence on Thursday to share what's been on its agenda, what's to come and invite feedback from others as part of a statewide listening tour.
Roderick Bremby, department secretary, jumped right into what the next legislative and fiscal year may look like at the department's northeast district office, 800 W. 24th St.
"The state budget picture does not look especially bright," he said.
His department had to cut its base year budget by 2 percent than what was allocated for next year and the 2010 budget by another 5 percent, he said.
"It's going to be, I think, an interesting process to weigh priorities and ensure that the critical needs of our state get funded," he said.
Bremby suspected the transportation plan will be a hot topic, because there likely won't be funding for a 10-year plan, but instead a one-year or two-year plan. The department's focus on transportation is to provide alternative modes or paths, for example, for people to reduce reliance on vehicles, Bremby said.
"There's been a race to the 'burbs or a race to the edges, and by doing so we tend to lock our folks in their vehicles," he said.
Bremby also highlighted numerous plans in the health care reform package to be introduced to the Legislature. Last year's package included 21 components, and this year has less than 10, many of which are the same items. Bremby said a key policy is a statewide statute for clean air in public indoor places.
John Mitchell, director of environment, and Richard Morrissey, interim director of health, joined Bremby in recapping and highlighting present projects and programs.
Mitchell said in a year or so, he'd expect statewide electronic waste sites to be available for people to recycle items such as TVs and computer monitors.
Six people attended the meeting, including Daniel Poull, chairman of the city's Sustainability Advisory Board. He asked about the possibility of a comprehensive state waste management plan.
"I think we really lack that," he said.