Wichitans speak out about proposed city budget that includes police increases, cuts to the animal shelter

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Several Wichitans spoke out Tuesday about the proposed city budget before the Wichita City Council.

The total budget comes out to $630 million. The documents are available online at wichita.gov. The city says they are facing a revenue deficit of more than $11 million due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the proposal, there is an increase for police to adjust for new hires, wages, pensions and IT costs. Century II operations would be based on contract management to put less burden on the city. The proposal also includes cutting the city’s animal shelter.

Residents spoke out against several proposals for funding. Click above to watch the meeting.

“If the shelter no longer has the ability to take in strays brought in by the general public, we’ve heard the number of over 6,000 strays last year alone, there will be a huge increase of dogs running loose in the city streets. Due to budget cuts, animal control will no have the ability to pick up these animals,” said Christy Fischer, executive director of Wichita Animal League. “This department has historically been underfunded. To press this budget cuts on them would be catastrophic. In fact, making this decision would go against the city’s focus area of keeping Wichita safe.”

“We the people are not happy with the budget, social media shows you this, emails show you this, the budget simulator showed you this. We are not really clear where all the money is going. There is a lot of big numbers thrown around. There is a lot of hidden money which is all taxpayer money,” said Maurice Evans. “There is millions of dollars for school officers, motorcycle traffic cops, tasers, and cartridges, you just showed us that WPD has added officers and eliminated civilian positions. yet you claim that de-escalation is making things better but racial profiling stays the same.”

“We are talking about more police, and it is not like we don’t need police. In a community like ours, we are over-policed. Not only do we have the Wichita Police Department, but we also have the Sedgwick County, we have the highway patrol, and we are inundated with police,” said Juanita Ridge. “Not their services, but the tickets, the arrests, and a lack of love and concern for building up people’s lives. We invest more in buildings and prisons than we are willing to give back into the citizens. It is time now to pour love into the communities that have been neglected.”

The 2021-2022 Budget is scheduled for adoption at the city council meeting on August 11. 

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