Wichita city government

Downtown Wichita attraction attendance

Downtown Wichita attraction attendance

Attendance at downtown Wichita attractions presented in an interactive visualization. The Source of data is Visit Wichita Convention & Visitors Bureau as presented in State of Downtown Reports published by DowntownWichita.org. Click here to access the visualization.
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Century II appeal filed

Century II appeal filed

A group opposing any future plan to raze Century II or the former central library building has filed an appeal of the decision in their lawsuit. A group called Committee to Save Century II organized and filed a petition aimed at requiring a popular vote before demolishing Century II or the former central library building. The City of Wichita challenged the legal basis of the petition and a judge ruled in favor of the city. Now, that decision is being appealed. Following, a press release announcing the appeal. For more information on Century II and its future, see my Century…
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John Todd: Wichita officials may have won a battle, but the Century II war isn’t over

John Todd: Wichita officials may have won a battle, but the Century II war isn’t over

On Century II, Wichita City Hall won the first round, but the public issue remains, writes John Todd. A special to the Wichita Eagle by John Todd. The Wichita City Council’s lawsuit against the Save Century II committee and the 17,265 Wichitans who had signed our petition won a first-round legal victory in state district court Aug. 28. The effort to have a binding vote by Wichita voters at an upcoming election was rejected by the court. This is a setback for Wichitans seeking to resolve this issue at the ballot box in November. This courtroom defeat demonstrates that the…
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Economic development incentive to be canceled

Economic development incentive to be canceled

The City of Wichita will consider canceling an economic development incentive for a firm that no longer meets policy requirements. Two years ago the Wichita City Council granted an economic development incentive for a freestanding emergency department in northeast Wichita. The incentive was in the form of property tax relief. The firm would be exempt from paying 88 percent of its property taxes for five years, with the possibility of renewal for another five years. [1. Weeks, Bob. Free standing emergency department about to open in Wichita. Available at https://wichitaliberty.org/wichita-government/free-standing-emergency-department-room-open-in-wichita/.] At the time, the city estimated the first-year property tax…
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Century II maintenance to be considered

Century II maintenance to be considered

The Wichita city council will consider spending $250,000 on maintenance for Century II. There are questions regarding the source of funding. This week the Wichita City Council will consider spending $250,000 on maintenance items for Century II and the attached expo hall. The items are mostly ventilation, air conditioning, and plumbing. [1. The bonding resolution, number 20-192, states: "Facility repairs and improvements to Century II (District I). Including, but not be limited to, prioritized critical building system improvements, renovation and repairs as well as replacement of Expo Hall HVAC Roof-Top Unit systems and Century II circulation pumps throughout the facility…
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Wichita presents industrial revenue bonds

Wichita presents industrial revenue bonds

A presentation by the City of Wichita regarding IRBs is good as far as it goes, which is not far enough. Recently the City of Wichita prepared a short video explaining the city's industrial revenue bonds (IRB) program. The video may be viewed on YouTube by clicking here. Several times the presenters emphasized that in the IRB program, the city does not lend money. They properly identify the true purpose of the program, which is to subsidize companies by allowing them to avoid paying property taxes and possibly sales taxes. Several times the presenters emphasized that the IRB program has…
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Wichita needs transparency from its agencies

Wichita needs transparency from its agencies

When the Wichita city council delegates spending to outside agencies such as Visit Wichita, it should insist on the same transparency requirements the city itself faces. The Kansas Open Records Act is designed to give citizens access to data concerning their government. In the words of the Kansas Attorney General, "An open and transparent government is essential to the democratic process." The preamble to the Kansas act states, "It is declared to be the public policy of the state that public records shall be open for inspection by any person unless otherwise provided by this act, and this act shall…
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Wichita city council to address misunderstanding

Wichita city council to address misunderstanding

The Wichita city council will address a misunderstanding regarding imprecise language in an economic development incentive agreement. This week the Wichita City Council will address a mistake or misunderstanding regarding an economic incentive. Briefly, a company that received a tax abatement believed that land was included in the abatement. When it received a bill for tax on the land, it paid it and inquired to the city as to why it received a bill for taxes it believed it would not owe. Documents for the meeting state: "The agenda report and Economic Development Incentive Agreement did not specifically state that…
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Should Wichita have a deputy to the mayor?

Should Wichita have a deputy to the mayor?

A proposal to hire a deputy or chief of staff to the Wichita mayor is a good idea which will increase transparency and accountability of elected officials. Tomorrow the Wichita City Council will consider a proposal to create the position of Deputy to the Mayor. I've excerpted the relevant portion of the agenda packet in pdf form, available here. I include partions below. How could a deputy or chief of staff help improve the city? As an example, at the April 14 council meeting, approval of a loan for a portion of the new water treatment was on the agenda.…
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