The City Manager released the 2019-2020 Proposed Budget and 2018-2027 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) during today’s City Council meeting. The documents are available at www.wichita.gov and hard copies can be viewed at Wichita Public Library branches.
To engage residents on the annual budget process, City of Wichita officials made presentations to six District Advisory Boards (DAB) and held a Social Media Town Hall event on June 21. It included topics about School Resource Officers, animal shelter operations, code enforcement, street sweeping, the Wichita Fire Department response model, and library branches. The event had a reach of 134,741 with 938 comments, which helped shape budget decisions.
The $600 million 2019-2020 Operating Budget and the $1.8 billion, 10-year CIP both support local government’s mission - to be an exceptionally well-run city that keeps residents safe, grows the economy, builds dependable infrastructure and provides conditions for living well. Following are highlights:
Proposed Operating Budget Highlights
- The mill levy rate is unchanged. The 2019 budget is based on an estimated mill levy rate equal to last year’s rate. One mill is shifted from the Debt Service Fund to the General Fund for implementation of the Police staffing study.
L.W. Clapp Golf Course is scheduled to close on Sept. 30. Additionally, seasonal furloughs and rolling winter closures are included in the budget. Without adjustments, the Golf Fund will be unsustainable.
Fire deployment will be optimized. Fire staff will be focused on fire and emergency responses. Responses to non-emergency calls would be provided differently than fire and emergency calls. Phased implementation is expected to begin by 2019.
The Advanced Learning Library opened in June. As the library system transitions to a different model, the Linwood Branch would be closed in 2019 and the Evergreen Branch would be closed in 2020.
Street maintenance improvements continue. The CIP and Operating Budget would be integrated to provide $8 million in funding in 2018, $10 million in 2019, and $11 million in 2020 for street maintenance.
CityArts operating model would be changed in 2019 so a private partner would operate the gallery and boutique while the City would provide art classes.
Old Cowtown Museum operations would change in 2020 to a model where the City provides maintenance and oversight while a non-profit operates the facility.
Cultural Arts grant funding would be maintained at 2018 funding levels.
Animal Shelter operations would change in July 2019, so a private partner, rather than the Wichita Police Department, would operate the shelter. This would allow WPD to focus on animal control enforcement.
Reserves are maintained at appropriate levels. The 2019 budget includes General Fund reserves of $32.3 million, which is greater than 10% of projected expenditures, in accordance with City Council policy.
Proposed Capital Improvement Plan Highlights
- For public safety facilities, a total of $41.5 million would be used to
replace four Police stations and five Fire stations.
- A total of $33.9 million would fund
downtown projects. These projects include improvements to Douglas Avenue, 1st Street and 2nd Street.
West Bank redevelopment is planned using a combination of $79 million in Tax Increment Financing, STAR bonds, Transient Guest Tax funding and General Obligation bond funding.
- The CIP includes funding for the completion of
East Kellogg freeway improvements to K-96.
- The Park & Recreation
Aquatics Plan would receive $22 million.
Bicycle and Pedestrian improvement projects would leverage federal funds and address priority areas with more than $9.8 million.
Debt levels will increase, but not beyond benchmark levels, and would decrease toward the end of the 10-year planning schedule.