Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer is asking for the public's help organizing the city's priorities.
The mayor used his State of the City address to urge Wichitans to fill out an upcoming Wichita State University survey.
Brewer said Tuesday night Wichita faces several challenges in 2013 and coming years, many of them financial. He called on the public wo help city leaders confront those challenges.
"Only by hearing from you can we work together to solve the challenges facing our community," Brewer said in his speech.
He said there are several of those challenges. One of the most expensive: the need over the next 30 years to replace most of Wichita's water, sewer and drainage infrastructure. The need to ensure an adequate water supply for the city will be expensive, too, Brewer said.
"Total replacement of those systems is estimated to cost $2.1 billion," he said.
The need to replace Wichita's transit bus fleet over the next six years -- at a cost of $21 million -- is another significant challenge Brewer mentioned.
"With flat revenue and rising costs, Wichita Transit will not break even in 2014 unless we find new sources of funding or we cut services to those who need them most," he said.
The challenges do not end there. Brewer said the city has several street and bridge projects to undertake at the same time state funding for those projects is dwindling.
Brewer said the city also should adequately fund economic development incentives, cultural opportunities, parks and recreation facilities and, of course, the police and fire departments.
He called on Wichitans to respond to a Wichita State University survey being rolled out this week. Brewer said it will help ensure city leaders are setting the right priorities.
"Silence benefits no one," he said. "Even if you do not receive a survey, someone you know will."
City and Sedgwick County leaders will outline the WSU survey, along with other community engagement efforts, during a news conference set for 9 a.m. at Wichita City Hall.