Budgets, Neighborhoods Focus of State of the Community

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Topeka and Shawnee County leaders say their biggest challenges for the rest of the year are completing a balanced budget and improving communities from the inside-out.

County Commissioner Shelly Buhler told the Go Topeka State of the Community luncheon the county must learn to do more with less.

“So trying to figure that out and listen to all the departments, their needs, we try to balance that then with how tax payers pay their mill levy and how it impacts them,” Buhler said. Buhler also highlighted the county’s parks and rec merger and a new recycling program and touted what she called an improvement for tax payers – is the installation of a new automated system for to register vehicles at the county treasurer’s annex.

New Topeka Mayor Larry Wolgast pointed out from 2000 to 2011 the city lost 700 jobs – a 1 percent drop.  He said a perception that Topeka is losing jobs by the thousands is aggravating.

Wolgast said neighborhood development will be a priority.  “Everything can’t come from above,” Wolgast said.  “The city doesn’t have all the answers, it has to come up from the bottom,” he said.   The plan requires teamwork and engaging people and groups to work collaboratively to improve Topeka block by block.


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