(WICHITA, Kan.) — Thirteen-million dollars in the hole but residents will notice little change in Sedgwick County and no one will lose their job. While across the street, the City of Wichita faces a smaller deficit and bigger budget cuts including layoffs and furloughs. If you're wondering why, it all comes down to reserves.
"We have planned for a rainy day, we have planned a decade to do that. It is raining and we intend to use reserves to pay for services," said Sedgwick County Manager Bill Buchanan.
Sedgwick County started its rainy day fund because of the September 11th economic downturn. Now, Buchanan wants to use $13 million of those reserves to balance next year's budget. "So we can work our way through this downturn in the economy," Buchanan said.
It's a downturn the City of Wichita can only handle by cutting $8 million out of it's next budget. The city doesn't have a reserve, only keeping the required 10% fund balance. "We didn't have that luxury. We've had some difficult times and have been faced with challenging issues on staffing and infrastructure," said Wichita City Manager Bob Layton.
Layton says when times do get better, he plans to talk with the council about starting a rainy day fund. "So when we have these dips in the economy, which we traditionally do that we can maybe the weather the storm a little better, " he said.
But for now the focus is on balancing next year's budget. Both sides have different versions of how to do it. Below is a glance at both budgets.