Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Wichita City Council members have given their approval to Wichita's multi-million dollar budget. What some expected to be an easy vote, included some controversy.
City council members have passed Wichita's $549 million proposed budget for 2012-2013.
The budget includes about $10 million in cuts, as well as compromises, like raising city bus fees by 50 cents, instead of cutting Saturday service.
Another change, the city will reduce fuel costs, and instead will increase spending for street repairs.
The original recommendation to close a public golf course was put aside, handing the controversial issue to the park board, who will look at other options.
The Wichita Park Board will hold two public hearings regarding the possibility of closing a golf course. The first meeting will be held Wednesday night at 6:30 at MacDonald Golf Course. The second will be held Monday at 6:30 at L.W. Clapp Golf Course.
The biggest issue before passing the budget, was the one-time offering of early retirement. Councilman Jeff Longwell described it as a "speculative" cut.
"If you need $225,000 to 'balance your budget' for the next fiscal year, we can find a number of places," said Longwell.
City Manager Robert Layton says staff believes the figure could actually be doubled, with more staff taking the offer. If no one takes it, there is another option.
"If we miss it, what I would do, as I have done over the last two years to balance a budget when we missed estimates, is institute a hiring freeze, so that we actually force additional shrinkage in our work force," said Layton.
The budget was passed by a vote of 6-1.