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Archive for Monday, July 8, 2013

City commissioners working to set maximum amount for 2014 budget as funding requests continue to roll in

July 8, 2013

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The city’s 2014 budget process is nearing its “speak now or forever hold your peace” portion of the proceedings.

Lawrence city commissioners at their Tuesday evening meeting will be asked to set the maximum dollar amount for the 2014 budget, which also marks the last feasible chance for residents to argue to have a new program or spending item added to the budget.

Commissioners are expected to hear a few such requests from organizations that don’t currently have their full funding requests included in City Manager David Corliss’ recommended budget.

“That has been one of the themes of this budget,” Corliss said. “There are several organizations and departments who are moving up a bit, but they aren’t getting all that they want.”

Here’s a look at some of the issues that commissioners will be asked to decide:

• A request for nearly $14,000 in additional funding for the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department. The funding would help cover increasing lab costs for testing for AIDS, chlamydia and gonorrhea. Corliss has not included the funding in his recommended budget.

But in a letter to city commissioners, Health Department Director Dan Partridge is asking commissioners to reconsider the recommendation.

“This request represents a fraction of the cost shifting from state to local that we have experienced recently,” Partridge said.

• A $50,000 request for additional funding for the Lawrence Public Library. Corliss is recommending the library receive a $100,000 increase, which amounts to about a 3 percent budget increase for the library. But library leaders had sought a $175,000 increase to position the library for its move into its expanded downtown space.

But Corliss notes the library won’t be moving into the expanded space until mid-2014, and the 3 percent budget increase is more than most other city departments are receiving.

Library leaders now have modified their request and are seeking an additional $50,000, rather than the $75,000. The $50,000 would be used to hire two full-time customer service positions and two part-time custodians, said Joan Golden, chair of the library’s board of trustees

Corliss has said he anticipates the library’s 2015 budget to receive a significant boost to staff the larger library. Leaders of the library, though, have said they are concerned about the period of several months in 2014 when the new library might be short-staffed.

“We just want to be able to really put our best foot forward,” Golden said.

• $200,000 or more to provide security personnel to staff metal detectors at City Hall, Municipal Court and other city-owned buildings. The staffed metal detectors will be necessary to allow the city to exempt itself from a change in state law that allows concealed carry permit holders to bring their weapons into public buildings.

As previously reported, Corliss’ recommended budget doesn’t include funding for the service. Corliss said he’s had individual discussions with commissioners recently about the issue.

“I think they still are going to need to have a discussion about the level of priority for those security items,” Corliss said. “Whether they do it for one facility and not another is going to be one of the questions.”

• $57,000 to fund an increase for the Lawrence Humane Society. Leaders of the animal shelter have said they’ve done a detailed analysis of what it costs the shelter to serve as the designated animal pound for the city, and believe the increased funding is needed for the shelter to break even on the service. Corliss’ recommended budget includes a $20,000 increase for the animal shelter, but the group had asked for a nearly $80,000 increase.

• $30,000 to provide funding for a marketing campaign to attract retirees to the city.

• $10,000 to be given as a gift to Lawrence’s sister city of Eutin, Germany. The $10,000 would serve as sponsorship of Eutin’s open-air opera festival, Eutiner Festspiele. The funding request came to the city recently from Robert Walzel, dean of the KU School of Music.

City commissioners will meet at 4 p.m. Tuesday for a study session to discuss a host of budget issues. Commissioners then will meet at 6:35 p.m. to vote on setting the maximum dollar amount for the budget.

Comments

JayhawkFan1985 1 year, 3 months ago

I don't think we should export tax dollars to Germany. The chamber of commerce should raise this money from the business community and private citizens.

I also don't think we should spend $30k to market lawrence to retirees. Instead, lets market the city to recent high tech grads.

I'd like the city manager to be replaced. We need new leadership breaking from the Buford Watson / Mike Wilgen / David Corliss keep Lawrence a small town. We need 21 st century thinking here...not 1950s thinking.

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Matthew Herbert 1 year, 3 months ago

If I were a retiree looking for a city to locate to, I might choose a city less willing to use my tax dollars irresponsibly. $10k for an opera festival held in a different continent? Tell me again how that benefits Lawrence directly?

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TheBigW 1 year, 3 months ago

Hey Robert Walzel, dean of the KU School of Music. If you think it is such a great idea to send "$10,000 to be given as a gift to Lawrence’s sister city of Eutin, Germany. The $10,000 would serve as sponsorship of Eutin’s open-air opera festival, Eutiner Festspiele." Then write a check out of a bank account with only your name on it!

That is Lawrence leadership material right there, close down and run off one of the largest music festivals in Lawrence, and then send 10K of tax dollar to another country to fund their music festival, yea a real economic boost to the Lawrence area....

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jimmyjms 1 year, 3 months ago

No the Eutin, no to the exceedingly stupid marketing campaign.

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jhawkinsf 1 year, 3 months ago

Won't you look foolish (again) when your "done deal" doesn't get done at all.

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LawrenceVeteran 1 year, 3 months ago

I think its funny that the city can throw money literally down the drain, and yet complain that they have no funds for the security upgrade they need for the new Kansas gun laws. But hey, who cares about people Constitutional Rights, we have pointless items to waste money on.

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gr 1 year, 3 months ago

"which also marks the last feasible chance for residents to argue to have a new program or spending item added to the budget. "

Well, there's the problem!

But then again, maybe it's a sign of a fully recovered economy and there's so much excess money they have to ask people what to do with it all!

"A request for nearly $14,000 in additional funding for the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department."

Sorry, no can do. We are getting a new library.

A $50,000 request for additional funding for the Lawrence Public Library.

Sorry, no can do. We are getting a new library. Oh wait. What?! So we desperately need a new library and this will be so great. But then there's more funding needed to go along with it. But that is current funding after it's been put in limp mode, but we can expect much much more funding to be "needed" in the future. When do we just say "No!"?

$200,000 or more to provide security personnel to staff metal detectors at City Hall, Municipal Court and other city-owned buildings.

Sorry, no can do. We are getting a new library.

$57,000 to fund an increase for the Lawrence Humane Society.

Sorry, no can do. We are getting a new library. $57K Increase? Guess the Humane society isn't self-funding. Maybe it's time to look at the economics of it.

$30,000 to provide funding for a marketing campaign to attract retirees to the city.

Sorry, no can do. We are getting a new library. And why? Is it because the out of control spending is running everyone else out of town?

$10,000 to be given as a gift to Lawrence’s sister city of Eutin, Germany.

Ummmm. Remember to vote early and vote often.

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