Local governing bodies to discuss city budget, county health ranking

Local governing bodies plan this coming week to learn more about Shawnee County’s ranking in a statewide health survey and to consider finalizing decisions related to the 2018 Topeka city budget.

 

The Shawnee County Commission will meet at 9 a.m. Monday in its chambers in Room B-11 of the County Courthouse, 200 S.E. 7th. The Topeka City Council will hold a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. Monday in its chambers at 214 S.E> 8th, then hold its regular weekly meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday in those chambers.

The city’s governing body, consisting of the nine council members and Mayor Larry Wolgast, plans Monday to consider going behind closed doors to meet in executive session to discuss the qualifications and characteristics of applicants seeking the vacant city manager’s job.

Doug Gerber, former deputy city manager, has been interim city manager since Jim Colson resigned effective Oct. 7 to return home to Arizona.

The governing body plans on Tuesday to present and consider amendments to Gerber’s proposed 2018 city budget.

“The purpose of this meeting is to finalize decisions related to the proposed budget so that maximum taxes levied can be set on July 11,” said a document in the agenda packet for Tuesday’s meeting.

The governing body plans to hold a public hearing on the proposed budget Aug. 8 and to consider adopting it Aug. 15, according to the city website.

The governing body on June 3, 6, 7 and 14 discussed but made no revisions to Gerber’s proposed budget. It is targeted at retaining this year’s property tax level of 39.927 mills, which amounts to $459.16 annually in city property taxes for the owner of a $100,000 house.

The agenda for Tuesday’s meeting indicates the governing body also plans to consider:

Changing the zoning classification from “I-2 Heavy Industrial District” to “D-3 Downtown District” for property at 101 N. Kansas Ave. to enable its owner, 101 N. Kansas Avenue, LLC, to renovate the vacant building to become the site of 33 apartments and 30 parking spaces. The Topeka Planning Commission voted 6-0 on May 15 to recommend the move’s approval.

Allocating $9,142.50 to be spent through the city’s new Neighborhood Event and Beautification Grant Program to carry out specific projects in city neighborhoods. The projects were approved by the city’s Neighborhood Partnership Program Grant Review Committee.

Expressing the governing body’s support for applications the city staff made to the Kansas Department of Transportation seeking funding for Bikeways Master Plan and sidewalk projects in the areas of S.E. 29th Street, S.W. Topeka Boulevard and Quincy Elementary School, 1600 N.E. Quincy.

Approving city attorney Lisa Robertson’s recommendation that it deny a tort claim filed by Sabastian Cuffell seeking $1,100 for damages sustained Feb. 1. Cuffell was riding his bicycle when “a City employee, driving a City vehicle turned abruptly in front of the claimant, striking his bicycle and causing damage to it,” said a document in the agenda packet for Tuesday’s meeting. “The recommendation to deny is based on the claimant’s request for full replacement value of the bicycle rather than the actual cash value of the damages,” the document said.

The agenda for Monday’s meeting indicates county commissioners plan to:

Hear an update from the county’s mental health services provider, Valeo Behaviorial Health Care.

Consider reclassifying the position for licensed master social workers in the corrections department while raising the their starting hourly pay to $20.54 an hour from $17.77 an hour.

Consider entering into a contract through which the county would pay $10,000 to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment for mosquito surveillance and education materials from July 1 through Oct. 31.

Commissioners plan immediately after Monday’s regular meeting to meet as the three-person Shawnee County Board of Health. That gathering will include presentations on mosquito surveillance and fetal infant mortality, as well as a talk by county health officer Gianfranco Pezzino about what it will take to improve Shawnee County’s health ranking.

Shawnee County dropped to 65th this year from 51st last year among Kansas counties in the annual health outcomes rankings released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

Contact reporter Tim Hrenchir at (785) 295-1184 or @timhrenchir on Twitter.


Topeka’s governing body plans Tuesday to present and consider revisions to the proposed 2018 city budget put forth by interim city manager Doug Gerber, shown here. (Capital-Journal file photo).


 

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