City commissioners look over budget, approve William Allen White Day and various projects

Emporia city commissioners had a full evening of meetings Wednesday. Commissioners held a budget meeting before their action session.

Assistant City Manager Jim Witt says this was the first look at a 5-year planning process for the budget.

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Witt says they're projecting a flat tax rate for the next five years, and are looking to balance out the general fund, getting it out of a deficit. Some assumptions of the 5-year plan include seeing a flux in property valuations (right now it's on the rise), a compounded sales tax and increased multi-year fund. Other numbers have been crunched preliminarily. Witt says the commission is a lot closer to having a refined budget than this time in years past. He cited the 5-year planning process for making the budget process more organized.

Commissioner Bobbi Mlynar says this approach is more like how it used to be done.

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The next budget meeting will be July 9. The budget is slated for adoption by late August.

Following the budget meeting, commissioners held their regular action session, approving several projects and an interesting resolution.

During the consent agenda, commissioners set a bid date of July 22 for water line improvements to Americus Road, U.S. Highway 50 and Road "F" as well as setting aside July 15 as the bid date for street rehab work near the Breckenridge Hotel and Convention Center, formerly known as Lowther North.

Commissioners approved updates to firearms ordinances regarding open and concealed carry and for merchant police. Mlynar says this was essentially housekeeping in order to make the ordinances conform to state law. Commissioners also approved a renovation project for the Hammond Park tennis courts and a new parking area for Red Rocks, the William Allen White State Historic Site. The Hammond Park project will use money from the Lake Kahola fund, and will begin as soon as possible.

Commissioners also approved a resolution to designate the first Saturday in October as William Allen White Legacy Day in Emporia. Roger Heineken and Karen Sommers presented the idea to the board. Heineken, a White afficionado, says it's an idea that gained traction and that needed commemorating.

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Heineken says the new William Allen White Legacy Day will coincide with the William Allen White Children's Book Awards, and activities are planned that week.

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