Topeka City Council approves 2016 budget

TOPEKA (KSNT) — The Topeka City Council spent the majority of Tuesday’s meeting deciding the future of the city.

From discussing the city’s 2016 operating budget, to a five year consolidation plan, council members went back and forth on where the city needs to improve.

The night started off with two big action items on Tuesday’s agenda.

A lot of concerns were expressed by citizens and council members about the city’s consolidation action plan for the years 2016 through 2020.

One major concern, not addressing the city’s broadband problem.

“Now in a five year plan, I am not exactly sure when you will be able to revisit this, but I wanted to bring it up now because I did not see it on the original plan,” said city resident, at Tuesday night’s meeting.

“We are so behind on the times,” said Councilwoman Sylvia Ortiz, when addressing broadband connectivity. “I get tired of talking about it. I want figures I’m not going to approve this [consolidation plan].”

Even with the concerns about improving broadband connectivity, the city voted to approve the consolidation action plan in a 7-1 vote.

Councilwoman Michelle De La Isla abstained from voting.

On to the next action, the 2016 budget.

There had been a lot of talk about closing several fire stations. City Manager Jim Colson reassured the council that all fire stations will be included in the 2016 budget.

Councilwoman Ortiz was concerned with more training for the city’s first responders. Saying that’s where the budget focus should be.

“I disagree with putting all that money in code, and I think we need to slowly roll into that. I too will not be voting on this budget,” said Ortiz.

With a 6-3 vote the city is moving forward, and adopting the 2016 budget. Council members did not address police contracts when discussing the budget at this meeting.

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