Wichita budget to include new police officers

Wichita city council members have voted to adopt a budget of over $624.5 million for city operations in 2020.  The budget will include funding for more police officers, continued funding for street maintenance and funding for the city’s aquatics plan to create splash pads and improve swimming pools.

City manager Robert Layton said the budget will include funding for phase two of a police staffing study that was conducted in 2017 by Wichita State University.  It will provide for training for ten new officers later this year, and funding for another 16 officers in 2020.  The budget also includes the development of a Central Bureau to cover the downtown area.   The budget also will continue seven police officers that were grant-funded, transferring them to city funding.  The officers currently patrol the Broadway Corridor in central Wichita.

The budget also provides $10 million for street maintenance and additional $275,000 for park maintenance.

Layton said economists have talked about a possible downturn in the nation’s economy in 2020 or 2021, and he said the budget will position the city to avoid major impacts, and actions have been taken in the budget to make city operations more sustainable if there is a downturn.

Former TV journalist and former city employee Dale Goter talked to the council about concerns over the city’s municipal golf system.  He said the system is in trouble and unless fundamental changes are made in operations, the system will “continue to nosedive and we’ll lose more public golf courses.”   He said the city’s enterprise golf fund is not getting help from the city budget.    City council member Cindy Claycomb said the city is not abandoning golf and she wants to work to make the city’s four courses as successful as they can be.   Council member James Clendenin said while the Clapp golf course is closing, but Clapp is not being taken away from the community and there will be a master plan for park space and other enhancements.