Here’s the rare case where 14 is greater than 180,000.
Kansas University’s 14th appearance in the men’s basketball NCAA Final Four cost the city nearly $180,000 in expenses to oversee the downtown parties that ensued — and no one at Lawrence City Hall minds a bit.
“There were costs for sure, but there was a tremendous benefit for the community,” City Manager David Corliss said. “There is no question in my mind that the community reaps a benefit that is multiple times larger than what it costs us.”
A new report prepared by Corliss’ office found city expenses related to the Final Four totaled $179,786, with overtime wages paid to police officers the largest expense.
The city is expecting tax revenues from sales made at restaurants, bars, grocery stores, T-shirt shops and elsewhere to more than offset those expenses, but such tax revenue reports from the state won’t be available for another month or more. But in 2008, when the Jayhawks won the National Championship, City Hall had a good tax collection year. The city’s drink tax revenues in 2008 jumped by $270,000 for the year. The city’s sales tax collections increased by nearly $782,000, although it is impossible to know how much of that is directly related to Final Four-fueled spending.
Four city departments — Police, Fire and Medical, Parks and Recreation and Public Works — incurred the bulk of expenses related to public safety and clean-up of the three large gatherings that occurred downtown following KU’s Elite Eight victory and its two games in the Final Four.
Corliss said the various duties of managing the large crowds were a significant undertaking for many city employees.
“I very much appreciate their extra hours of work,” Corliss said. “While some may not particularly look forward to the after-hours work, they did it with smiles on their faces because they recognized it was a good time for Lawrence.”
Here’s a look at several expenses:
• Personnel costs: $147,772 in additional wages. Of that, $111,218 was paid to police officers who worked additional shifts. Fire and Medical employees received $25,782, although about $12,000 of that will be reimbursed by Kansas University to compensate the city for staffing the watch parties at Allen Fieldhouse. Parks and Recreation wages totaled an extra $5,874, while Public Works checked in at $4,898.
• Various equipment and supplies: $19,011.
• Vehicle costs, such as fuel: $5,515.
• Rentals of portable toilets for downtown: $4,745.
• Loss of flowers and shrubbery in downtown: $1,638.
• Additional landfill charges to get rid of all the trash from the downtown parties: $1,105.