The budget totals over $600 million, and Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple said this budget had the most public input in over a decade.
People voiced their concerns about public safety and property taxes.
The 2023 budget is a $24 million increase from the 2022 budget. In addition, the council approved $45 million for nine fire stations, removed library overdue fees, and many other changes for Wichita.
But the budget approval didn’t come without concern from some council members and those attending.
“We approved a budget that not only balances and holds the line on taxes but also is reflective on the input that is received from that public,” said Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple.
The Mill Levy Rate will stay stable, and the City said it is expected to generate taxes levied of about $139 million.
But not everyone is satisfied. Council member Bryan Frye said many people have come to him concerned about property taxes rising. He voted “no” on approving the 2023 budget.
“This was an effective 7.7% increase on your property taxes. We had the ability to stop that today,” said Frye.
“We held the line on property taxes, and it is the exact same rate as it has been for the last 29 years, and we are still able to balance our budget with a conservative approach because, well, we want to actually get this right,” said Whipple.
Others are concerned with the stray animal population not being controlled.
The council voted to hire two new animal control officers to help with the issue, estimated to cost around $133,000.
“Several neighborhoods that have lost mail service because post office workers have either been chased or bitten by dogs, and once [you] lose it, you don’t get it back,” said council member Brandon Johnson.
The budget will bring three police stations, $74 million for equipment, and $40 million for fire trucks.
The ice rink and Addiction Recovery Fund will also get a cut from the budget.
Century II is getting around $3 million. Whipple said it’s the City’s job to take care of these public assets.
“We actually have a plan to invest in those repairs. People should be able to go to a public building and feel safe,” said Whipple.
The council voted to start the hiring process immediately for the two animal control officers.
The City has been allocated $72.4 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Funds, and 20% of that funding is expected to support the budget.