Archive for Thursday, April 19, 2012

City of Lawrence’s cost for Final Four downtown activities: $180,000

April 19, 2012

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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.

Comments

consumer1 2 years, 11 months ago

HOw much did the shot put event generate for the city? and how much did it cost the taxpayers?

rgh 2 years, 11 months ago

My goodness. Just look at the enthusiasm and people it brought to downtown Lawrence because of the event. The money spent would have been much greater along with increased tax revenue and overall pride. This is a wonderful event. Take pride in what KU and Lawrence are doing and stop complaining. Kansas City would take this on in a heartbeat.

Jeremiah Jefferson 2 years, 11 months ago

Thats why you never celebrate till you have won it all. The Final Four is all good, but it don't mean anything unless you win it all. 180k down the drain.

DillonBarnes 2 years, 11 months ago

Sure, we didn't win the championship, therefore no one spent any extra money related to the tournament at all. The bars downtown didn't host large crowds and sell them food and beer during the games. The shops didn't sell final four shirts or other KU apparel. A total wash.

doc1 2 years, 11 months ago

It's not down the drain. You know how much sales tax revenue city wide they have made. 3 fold for the 180 you claim they lost.

BruceWayne 2 years, 11 months ago

I am shocked Core-less and Cram-well didn't pay a consultant $65,000.00 to tell them they spent $180,000.00. The problem is not that KU lost, the problem is that those two clowns still hold office.

Bursting 2 years, 11 months ago

puppets? doubtful, but can you tell me one employer who has more employees in Lawrence than KU? didn't think so, not to mention the tens of thousands of students who drive our economy.

I do disagree with 111k being paid for so many police officers, seems we could have easily cut that number in half this year, everyone knows how peacefully we celebrate in Lawrence by now right?

rgh 2 years, 11 months ago

You do realize that revenues during June and July drop significantly due to the majority of students being gone for the summer? The additional people who come to Lawrence on game day, graduation day, enrollment days, etc. far outweigh your typical weekend in downtown Lawrence. I'm all for accountability myself but also know that the employment and spending due to the the university being in Lawrence is a true blessing.

parrothead8 2 years, 11 months ago

Nobody commented that Lawrencians were "puppets to KU." Where did you see that?

He called it "the main central driving business." Can you provide a reasonable argument that his statement is untrue, or will you merely twist words to suit your purposes, as per usual?

Carol Bowen 2 years, 11 months ago

Maybe, the 180k should come out of the Parks and Rec budget. Given the need for more fiscal responsibility, city hall should be asking their in-house economist if we had the money to spend. Find the money, then spend. Isn't that the message citizens have been sending?

TecmoSuperBowlChristianOkoye 2 years, 11 months ago

So...what's the solution? Tell people not to celebrate? Hope that it remains peaceful without the presence of officers? Allow pissing in the street? Seems like they handled things fine.

parrothead8 2 years, 11 months ago

Exactly. The same way Christian Okoye handled would-be tacklers in Tecmo Super Bowl.

(Bo Jackson was pretty insane, too.)

Carol Bowen 2 years, 11 months ago

Lawrence's Police Department is very good. I'm glad officers were able to pick up some overtime, but how will we pay for it?

Janet Olin 2 years, 11 months ago

Revenue from KU athletics' success inevitably increases local business success. What's the problem?

Carol Bowen 2 years, 11 months ago

Local business success is important, but very little of their success will reimburse the city's expense. The city does not have a lot of discretionary funds. $180k is a lot of non-reimbursable outlay.

50YearResident 2 years, 11 months ago

Next time hold the event on the KU Campus and let KU pick up the tab. After all it's their responsability, isn't it? And its not like KU didn't get mega $$$$ for playing in the last two games. They could afford it better than the city could.

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