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The Rundown – City manager presents 2018 budget preview

Post Date:05/24/2017 3:55 PM

The Rundown is prepared by the City of Newton Public Information Office to summarize the City Commission meeting and does not represent official Commission minutes.

7 p.m. May 23, 2017, Newton City Commission meeting

At a work session before Tuesday’s official meeting, the City Commission took its first look at the 2018 City budget. City Manager Bob Myers gave an overview of critical issues and financial projections:

  • The City cannot do further cost-cutting without negative consequences. The organization is running very lean and is short-staffed throughout the departments, with the resultant stresses on employees.
  • Much of the cost savings found in 2016 and 2017 is a result of delays in filling open positions, less-than-expected costs of employee benefits, and some creative problem-solving, all of which cannot necessarily be replicated indefinitely.
  • The City has some long-standing IT problems that must be fixed, and that cannot be done without additional costs.
  • The Bond and Interest Fund will require more money in the next few years to cover existing debt because some past bond issues were back-loaded.
  • There are still a number of capital maintenance areas that have not been adequately funded in recent years, including the Warkentin House, Sand Creek Station Golf Course, the Meridian Center, airport hangars, etc.
  • City staff is still evaluating how the State’s new property tax lid will affect the 2018 budget.
  • Without any adjustments, the 2018 budget is projected to draw down reserves by $852,782, leaving a fund balance of only 6.78 percent. The City’s target is 15 percent.
  • A number of adjustments will be recommended or required, including additional dollars for equipment replacement, utilities, and payment due for golf carts at Sand Creek Station.
  • The Commission’s next budget work session is expected to be scheduled in the coming week.

Community recognitions

The Commission honored the Newton Police Department and individual officers who received Valor Awards from the Kansas Association of Chiefs of Police. The department received a Gold Unit Citation for Heroism for the response to the active shooter event at Excel Industries in February 2016. Also receiving Gold Unit Awards were North Newton, Hesston, Halstead, Burton and Harvey County Sheriff’s Office.

Officer Stan Kurtz was presented a Gold Award for Valor for his response to the Excel shooting. In the parking lot of Excel, the gunman fired at Officer Kurtz, striking his patrol vehicle. Officer Kurtz was not deterred and continued to press toward the building in an effort to save lives. (Officer Kurtz was employed by the Sheriff’s Office at the time).

Officer Morgan Hinz was presented a Silver Award for life-saving actions. Her rapid response and decisive action prevented the choking death of an infant.

Detective Mitch Nedrow received a Bronze Award for Exceptional Police Service. He was nominated by the Wichita Police Department for his efforts in furthering multi-agency investigations into multiple organized crime/drug cases, resulting in numerous arrests and significant seizures of drugs and cash.

The Commission also recognized several Newton school groups for achievements:

  1. Newton High School students who participated and medaled in the Model United Nations in Topeka.
  2. NHS students in the Business Professionals of America program who participated in the National Leadership Conference in Orlando, Florida.
  3. NHS business teacher Jessica Crabtree, who received the Rookie of the Year award from the nine-state Mountain-Plains Business Education Association.
  4. NHS alumna Taylor Stahly for her record-setting basketball career at Hutchinson Community College.

In other action, the City Commission:

  1. Proclaimed June 7, 2017, as Phil Anderson Day. Phil’s family business, Anderson Office Supply, is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year.
  2. Approved a replat of the western portion of Summer Crossing Addition to condense several smaller lots into one 6.74-acre lot. This gives the developer more flexibility for the property’s future use.
  3. Approved a replat of the southern portion of Autumn Glen Addition into larger single-family lots.
  4. Approved a request for temporary fencing at the Rodeo Grounds for the Kansas Junior Rodeo Association event June 10-11.

For more information, please contact Director of Communications Erin McDaniel at 284-6055 or emcdaniel@newtonkansas.com.