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Fewer firefighters, more street repairs in City's proposed budget

July 16, 2013|by Anne Meyer | KWCH 12 Eyewitness News

(Wichita, KS) — Next year's city budget is on the table in Wichita, and it includes cuts to staff and some services.

Wichita roads may be fixed quicker in 2014. The proposed budget calls for $1 million more dollars for street maintenance.

But there are also some notable cuts. Under the plan, Wichita will get rid of six firefighter positions and modify one management role. But we're told response times won't change.

Plus some planned projects, like building more bike paths and improving parks, are being put off to save money next year.

Council members say these were tough choices because they've already cut most of the fat the last few years.

"It seems to me that we are getting pretty close to starting to cut into services, and we are going to need citizen's guidance about whether or not that is acceptable," said Council member Janet Miller.

Public input has already helped shape this new budget. The police department's helicopter and mounted patrol unit were on a possible cut list a few weeks ago, but after hearing from people like you both are safe.

"We decided this year to try something different," said Wichita City Manager Bob Layton. "We put kind of a menu together of a lot of different service options, program options and asked residents to give us feedback."

Another change, Layton gave council members an early look at possible budget cuts coming in 2015.

They include closing the Orchard Branch public library, making changes to Riverside park's animal cages and finding more public transit funding.

These items won't be decided until next year, but we're hearing about them now to give everyone more time to give feedback on what should be saved and what should not

If you want your voice heard on next year's budget, the city is hosting a social media town hall meeting Wednesday night at 6 p.m. Fewer firefighters, more street repairs in City's proposed budget

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