It’s reported that the City of Wichita is facing a $6.5 million shortfall. The city’s looking at several ways to reduce costs, including closing police substations during the overnight hours ($148,000), reducing lawn mowing at parks ($100,000), and cutting back on swimming pool hours ($2,000).
Here’s one simple thing the city could do to save money that won’t cause very many people any pain at all: cut back on celebratory luncheons.
On Tuesday April 14, 2009, after the city council meeting, 37 guests lunched at the Hyatt Regency. The total cost of this event to the city, according to the estimate of charges that I asked for, was $1,046.99.
The event was titled “Wichita City Council Changing of the Guard.”
That’s not the total cost of the festivities on that day. A city council meeting was held. It was light on business, but long on sentiment. A video presentation of the highlights of departing council member Sharon Fearey’s tenure was shown. Maybe someone else will want to ask how many hours of city employee time it took to create this video.
Even in good times I don’t think the city should be spending taxpayer funds on celebrations like this. Now the council is asking others to cut, but is spending like this on itself. It’s a mixed message that Wichitans need to remember.