City News

Topeka City Council to conduct follow-up interviews with two final candidates for city manager April 11, 2024

The Topeka City Council will convene a Special Meeting on Friday, April 12, to conduct follow-up interviews and discuss two final candidates for Topeka’s next city manager.

On April 8, 2024, the City Council held a series of interviews with five finalists for the city manager position. That included an interview by a Community Panel selected by Mayor Padilla, which included Laura Burton, Susan Duffy, Kerry Pancoast, Daniellé Twemlow, and Keith Warta.

Subsequently, candidates participated in a public Meet and Greet event at Hotel Topeka, where citizens had an opportunity to interact with each candidate and provide feedback to the Council.

On Tuesday, April 9, after the City Council meeting, Councilmembers held an Executive Session to discuss the five finalists and their interviews the prior day. Following the Executive Session, Mayor Padilla called for a Special Meeting to take place on Friday, April 12, to further discuss and consider the two finalists for the city manager position.

Stay tuned for additional updates expected next week.





Common Consumption Areas to launch in Downtown Topeka, NOTO Arts District April 8, 2024

In December 2023, the City of Topeka Governing Body voted to approve the establishment of two Common Consumption Areas (CCA) in Downtown Topeka and the NOTO Arts District. The adjustment of city rules around drinking in public creates regulated “social drinking zones” where patrons can drink within the designated boundaries of the area outside of a licensed bar, restaurant, or other eligible establishment that is permitted to sell alcoholic beverages by the State of Kansas and the City of Topeka.

The Downtown Common Consumption Area encompasses 4th Street on the north; 10th Avenue on the south; Quincy Street on the east; and Jackson Street on the west. The NOTO Common Consumption Area encompasses Fairchild Street on the north; Norris Street on the South; Quincy Street on the east; and Jackson Street on the west.

Boundaries of the CCA will be clearly marked with the below signage and pavement markings. Designated areas are operational between the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m., seven days a week.

Individuals are not permitted to bring their own alcoholic beverages into the CCA for consumption and must purchase alcoholic beverages from a licensed, participating establishment within the boundaries of the designated CCA. Alcoholic beverages must be sold in non-glass containers with the logo or identifying imagery of the participating business visible on the container.

Both CCAs will go into effect on April 15. Businesses located within the designated area can elect not to participate in the CCA, but if they wish to do so they will need to submit the proper paperwork to the State of Kansas ABC and the City of Topeka Clerk’s Office.

“Common Consumption is a natural evolution of our continued development efforts to support businesses while providing exciting environments for Topekans,” said Councilman Spencer Duncan. “Topeka isn’t just putting this in place here but also led the effort at the state level that is now bringing it to all Kansans, as other communities implement it. It continues our commitment to listening to our citizens and businesses and working with them to be a premier Capital City.”

To learn more about the Downtown Topeka and NOTO Arts District Common Consumption Areas, please visit

Topeka City Manager finalists announced April 3, 2024

The City of Topeka has announced the five finalists for the Topeka City Manager position.

Jeffrey Dingman currently serves as the Deputy City Administrator for the City of Fort Smith, Arkansas. Dingman has more than 20 years of government leadership experience and holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Kansas. He has been a Credentialed Manager through the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) since 2006. Dingman has also previously served in similar administration roles in the City of Baldwin City, Kansas and Sebastian County, Arkansas. Throughout his career, he has worked to develop short- and long-range strategic plans for communities of varying populations and has managed city budgets ranging from $13-160 million.

Alan Howze is an experienced public sector executive focused on building strong, financially sustainable communities and delivering high-quality public services. Howze has more than 20 years of professional government experience and is currently serving as the Assistant Administrator for the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas. He holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Virginia and a Bachelor of Science in Economics and Anthropology from James Madison University. Throughout his career, Howze has worked in government on the local, state and federal levels and has a background in information technology and communications.

William Jones has over 24 years of local government management experience. He is currently the City Administrator for the City of Mequon, Wisconsin and previously served in similar roles for the Village of Glencoe, Illinois and the City of Highland Park, Illinois. Jones obtained his Master of Public Administration from Indiana University and is a Credentialed Manager with the International City/County Management Association, Certified Public Finance Officer from the Government Finance Officers Association, and a Certified Labor Relations Professional from the National Public Employer Labor Relations Association. In his current role, Jones has helped expand the tax base, assisted with debt issues, developed an asset management plan, revised an ethics ordinance, restructured organizational staffing, hired a new police chief, initiated a full-time staffing model for Fire and EMS and enhanced health and safety in schools via a new water source and an additional school resource officer.

Robert Perez serves as an Assistant City Manager of Infrastructure for the City of Dallas, Texas. Perez has gained over 20 years of municipal government experience while working for the City of Dallas and the City of San Antonio and holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Education with a concentration in organizational leadership, a Master of Public Administration, and a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in political science. Perez’s background is in Public Works, and he has published several academic articles ranging in topics from the relationship between data and infrastructure as well as innovation in local government. In his current role, Perez provides executive leadership to the City of Dallas’ Department of Public Works, Transportation, Bond and Construction Management, Equipment and Fleet Services and Building Services. 

Abbe Yacoben is currently the Chief Financial Officer of Washoe County, Nevada, serving the Board of County Commissioners for the last year and a half. She has nearly 20 years of municipal government leadership experience, and has held roles in Arizona, Illinois and her home state of Maine. Yacoben holds a Master of Public Policy with a finance concentration from the University of Chicago, and she is a Certified Public Finance Officer. In her current role, Yacoben leads Washoe County Commissioners in their strategic planning process and benchmarking as well as human resources initiatives in the county. Yacoben is passionate about and skilled at leadership, teambuilding, open communication, working with different public groups and ensuring the City’s initiatives truly improve the quality of life for all residents and stakeholders.

The finalists will participate in two interview panels on Monday, April 8. One interview panel will be with the Governing Body, and the other will be with a panel of community stakeholders selected by the Mayor. The interview panels will not be open to the public, but the finalists will also attend a public meet and greet where community members are invited to attend. The meet and greet will take place on Monday, April 8 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Hotel Topeka Emerald Ballroom located at 1717 SW Topeka Blvd. Light refreshments will be provided at the event.

Attendees will be able to provide feedback on the candidates to the Governing Body by filling out comment cards at the meet and greet.


City Lifts Stream Advisory for Deer and Shunganunga Creeks March 28, 2024

On March 28, 2024, the City of Topeka was able to lift the stream advisory for Deer Creek and Shunganunga Creek. This decision was made based on analysis of water samples from both creeks, which showed that water quality had returned to normal levels.

Governing Body to hold City Manager finalist interviews, public meet and greet March 28, 2024

Five finalists have been selected to interview for the Topeka City Manager position.

The City of Topeka’s Governing Body has worked with Strategic Government Resources (SGR) for the last several months on the search for a new City Manager. SGR led the recruitment campaign for the Topeka City Manager position. 42 candidates applied for the position. In February, the Governing Body narrowed that list down to a group of 14 semi-finalists for closer examination. After an in-depth review and follow-up with the 14 semi-finalists, SGR will be bringing in five finalists to interview with the Governing Body. None of the finalists are internal candidates.

The finalists will participate in two interview panels on Monday, April 8. One interview panel will be with the Governing Body, and the other will be with a panel of community stakeholders selected by the Mayor. The interview panels will not be open to the public, but the finalists will also attend a public meet and greet where community members are invited to attend. The meet and greet will take place on Monday, April 8 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Hotel Topeka Emerald Ballroom located at 1717 SW Topeka Blvd. Light refreshments will be provided at the event.

Attendees will be able to provide feedback on the candidates to the Governing Body by filling out comment cards at the meet and greet.

Background information about the finalists will be provided next week.

City Issues Stream Advisory for Deer Creek and Shunganunga Creek March 20, 2024

On March 28, 2024, the City of Topeka was able to lift the stream advisory for Deer Creek and Shunganunga Creek. This decision was made based on analysis of water samples from both creeks, which showed that water quality had returned to normal levels.


The City of Topeka Utilities Department is advising Topeka area residents to avoid contact with portions of Deer Creek and Shunganunga Creek due to a sanitary sewage overflow.

A sanitary sewer line became obstructed with build-up, causing the main to overflow out of a manhole and allowing an unknown volume of sewage to be released into the creek. As a precaution, residents are advised to avoid contact with the impacted waterway and to keep pets out of the creeks. This advisory will remain in effect until further notice.

The advisory is in place for Deer Creek starting at SE 10th Street east of Deer Creek Pkwy, and continuing north toward SE 6th St. and on to SE 2nd St. where Deer Creek enters the Shunganunga Creek just north of SE 2nd St. & SE Norwood St. From here, the Shunganunga flows east to the Kansas River. (see map below for reference area)

City crews removed the blockage immediately after being notified of the sanitary sewer overflow. Following removal of the blockage, crews cleaned the affected areas and flushed the impacted stormwater conveyance system. Staff will continue to monitor the water along Deer Creek and the Shunganunga Creek, and provide notification when the advisory is lifted. This advisory does not affect tap water.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has been notified and will monitor City response and management of the stream advisory.

About Sanitary Sewer Blockages

The City of Topeka has approximately 760 miles of sanitary sewers. Water Pollution Control, a division of the Utilities Department, regularly cleans all sanitary sewer mains throughout the city. Although sanitary sewers are cleaned routinely, the possibility of sewage blockages still exists.

Many sewer blockages can be prevented through awareness and regular cleaning. To help avoid sewer problems, avoid flushing materials that are non-water-soluble down sinks, toilets, and drains. These materials include fats and cooking oils, diapers, baby wet cloths, sanitary disposables, clothing articles, trash, etc. Seepage of sewage onto the ground surface or into waterways can create health risks for both people and animals.

Public Works and Utilities 2024 Citizens Academy Accepting Applications March 15, 2024

The City of Topeka is now accepting applications for the 2024 Public Works and Utilities Citizens Academy.

The academy gives residents an opportunity to learn more about the departments that manage the city’s infrastructure, including water systems, street and building maintenance, and making CIP budget decisions.

“It’s hard to understand all the details of what goes into the variety of services that we provide for the citizens and so giving them that opportunity is an extremely important tool in the communication efforts between the city and the citizens that we serve,” Topeka Mayor Mike Padilla said.

The upcoming citizens’ academy will take place over the course of seven weeks, beginning April 8, 2024.

The class is limited to 25 participants. All participants must be at least 18 years old. For more information, visit

About City of Topeka Public Works

The City of Topeka’s Public Works Department, nationally recognized through accreditation by the American Public Works Association, strives to meet our current and future needs. A well-run organization consisting of Engineering, Streets, Maintenance, Traffic Signs and Signals, Forestry, Parking, Fleet, and GIS Management ensures public funds are spent on projects and services approved by residents through their local City Council representative.

About City of Topeka Utilities

The Utilities Department is comprised of the Water and Water Pollution Control Utilities and the City of Topeka Customer Service Center. As the producer and distributor of drinking water and manager of all sanitary and stormwater waste in the community, the Utilities Department is integral in the safety and daily life of all Topeka citizens.

City of Topeka begins 2025-2034 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) discussions March 5, 2024

Over the coming weeks, City of Topeka staff will present the proposed 2025-2034 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) to the Governing Body for consideration. Once the Governing Body has considered and ultimately adopted the final CIP book of projects, the CIP will be formalized through a resolution and ordinance.

What is the CIP?

The CIP is a long-range plan that helps ensure the annual operating budget, capital improvement budget, and long-term financial forecasts align and support the city’s strategic goals and infrastructure needs. The CIP is developed to identify how much funding the city will need to set aside in order to build and improve our infrastructure, lay out project locations, and determine the timing of all capital improvement projects over several years.

The CIP shows capital spending over the next 10 years and is separate from the City’s annual operating budget. Funding for the CIP comes from a variety of sources including: sales tax, city operating funds, and revenue and general obligation bonds. The first 3 years of the CIP are referred to as the Capital Improvement Budget (CIB). The first year of the CIB consists of projects that will be initiated and/or completed during the upcoming year. The second- and third-year of the CIB includes projects that are in the preparation phase.

In order to be included in the CIP, a project should meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Real property acquisition
  • Construction of new facilities and/or addition to an existing city facility costing $50,000 or greater
  • Public infrastructure projects
  • Information technology projects costing $50,000 or greater

Proposed 2025-2034 CIP Highlighted Projects

Public Works Projects

  • Proposed funding increase for various street maintenance programs
    • Pavement Management Program and Street Contract Preventative Maintenance Program increased $1.25m and $1m respectively to totals of $11m and $3m. The Pavement Management Program provides support for streets that qualify for mill and overlay, cracksealing and microsurfacing as treatment types. The city uses the pavement condition index (PCI) to determine the treatment type for a street. Generally, streets with a PCI between 31-55 will qualify for mill and overlay and streets with a PCI between 56-70 will qualify for cracksealing and microsurfacing as a treatment type.
  • SW 29th – Burlingame Road to Topeka Boulevard
    • This project is slated for 2025 construction and includes road and stormwater improvements.
  • SE 29th – Kansas Avenue to Adams
    • This project is slated for 2025 and will be coordinated with the bridge improvements being made over Butcher Creek.
  • SW Topeka Boulevard – 15th to 21st
    • This project is pavement rehabilitation along the Boulevard. The project was originally scheduled for 2028, but has been moved up to 2025.

Utilities Projects

  • 2025 program funding increased
    • 2025 Water Main Replacement funding increased by $1.6M and Wastewater Lining & Replacement increased by $1.3M.
  • Sanitary Sewer Interceptor Maintenance & Rehabilitation Program
    • Redistributed 2026 program funding to the 2025 and 2027 program years to encompass the large scale of projects included in the program.
  • SE California & SE 4th St
    • This project is planned for 2026 and addresses capacity concerns in the basin as recommended in the Stormwater Master Plan.
  • Prairie Road – SW 21st to SW 23rd St
    • This project is planned for 2025 and will upsize approximately 2600 LF of Storm sewer in an area where significant flood impacts were observed in 2020.

Project Spending by Asset Type

The table to the right highlights various high-level categories that the city may appropriate CIP funding towards over the next five years:

CIP Categories

5 Year Totals

Public Works: Street Projects


Public Works: Non-Street Projects

Water Projects $125,112,862
Stormwater Projects $48,923,704
Wastewater Projects $95,105,000
Public Safety Expenditures $22,897,134
Information Technology Expenditures $3,615,540
Totals $562,752,001
La Ciudad de Topeka inicia los debates sobre el Plan de Mejoras de Capital (CIP) 2025-2034 March 5, 2024

En las próximas semanas, el personal de la Ciudad de Topeka presentará la propuesta del Plan de Mejoras de Capital (CIP) 2025-2034 al Consejo Municipal para su consideración. Una vez que el Consejo Municipal haya examinado y adoptado en última instancia el libro definitivo de proyectos del CIP, éste se formalizará mediante una resolución y una ordenanza.

¿Qué es el CIP?

El CIP es un plan a largo plazo que ayuda a garantizar que el presupuesto operativo anual, el presupuesto de mejoras de capital y las previsiones financieras a largo plazo se alineen y respalden los objetivos estratégicos y las necesidades de infraestructuras de la ciudad. El CIP se elabora para determinar el volumen de fondos que la ciudad necesitará reservar para construir y mejorar nuestras infraestructuras, establecer la ubicación de los proyectos y determinar el calendario de todos los proyectos de mejoras de capital a lo largo de varios años.

El CIP muestra el gasto de capital en los próximos 10 años y es independiente del presupuesto operativo anual de la Ciudad. La financiación del CIP proviene de diversas fuentes, entre ellas: el impuesto sobre las ventas, los fondos operativos de la ciudad y los bonos de ingresos y obligaciones generales. Los 3 primeros años del CIP se denominan como el Presupuesto de Mejoras de Capital (CIB). El primer año del CIB consiste de proyectos que se iniciarán y/o completarán durante el próximo año. El segundo y tercer año del CIB incluye proyectos que están en fase de preparación.

Para ser incluido en el PIC, un proyecto debe cumplir al menos uno de los siguientes criterios:

  • Adquisición de bienes inmuebles
  • Construcción de nuevas instalaciones y/o ampliación de una instalación municipal existente con un costo igual o superior a $50,000.
  • Proyectos de infraestructura pública
  • Proyectos de tecnología de la información con un costo igual o superior a $50,000.

Proyectos destacados del CIP propuesto para 2025-2034

Proyectos de obras públicas

  • Aumento de financiación propuesto para varios programas de mantenimiento de calles
    • El Programa de Gestión de Pavimentos y el Programa de Mantenimiento Preventivo de Calles por Contrato aumentaron 1.25 millones de dólares y 1 millón de dólares, respectivamente, hasta un total de 11 millones de dólares y 3 millones de dólares. El Programa de Gestión de Pavimentos brinda apoyo a las calles que reúnen las condiciones para ser tratadas con fresado y recubrimiento, sellado de grietas y micropavimentación. La ciudad utiliza el índice de condición del pavimento (PCI) para determinar el tipo de tratamiento para una calle. Por lo general, las calles con un PCI entre 31-55 podrán ser fresadas y recubiertas, y las calles con un PCI entre 56-70 podrán ser tratadas con sellado de grietas y microasfaltado.
  • SW 29th – De Burlingame Road a Topeka Boulevard
    • Este proyecto, cuya construcción está prevista para 2025, incluye mejoras de carretera y de aguas pluviales.
  • SE 29th – De Kansas Avenue an Adams
    • Este proyecto está previsto para 2025 y se coordinará con las mejoras del puente sobre Butcher Creek.
  • SW Topeka Boulevard – de la calle 15 a la calle 21
    • Este proyecto consiste en la rehabilitación del pavimento a lo largo del bulevar.  El proyecto estaba previsto inicialmente para 2028, pero se ha adelantado a 2025.

Proyectos de servicios públicos

  • Aumento de la financiación del programa 2025
    • La financiación del remplazo de la tubería principal de agua en 2025 aumentó en 1.6 millones de dólares y la del revestimiento y remplazo de aguas residuales en 1.3 millones de dólares.
  • Programa de mantenimiento y rehabilitación de interceptores de alcantarillado sanitario
    • Redistribución de la financiación del programa de 2026 a los años de programación 2025 y 2027 para abarcar la gran escala de proyectos incluidos en el programa.
  • SE California & SE 4th St
    • Este proyecto está previsto para 2026 y aborda los problemas de capacidad de la cuenca, tal como se recomienda en el Plan Maestro de Aguas Pluviales.
  • Prairie Road – SW 21st a SW 23rd St
    • Este proyecto está previsto para 2025 y ampliará aproximadamente 2600 LF de alcantarillado pluvial en un área donde se observaron impactos significativos de inundaciones en 2020.

Gastos del proyecto por tipo de activo

La tabla de la derecha destaca varias categorías de alto nivel a las que la ciudad puede aplicar fondos del CIP en los próximos cinco años:

Categorías del CIP Totales de 5 años
Obras Públicas: Proyectos de calles $199,155,236 
Obras Públicas: Proyectos no de calles $67,942,525
Proyectos de agua $125,112,862
Proyectos de aguas pluviales $48,923,704
Proyectos de aguas residuales $95,105,000
Gastos de seguridad pública $22,897,134
Gastos en tecnología de la información $3,615,540
Totales $562,752,001
City of Topeka hires Director of Human Resources March 1, 2024

The City of Topeka announced Friday that it hired Pamela Foster to serve as its next Director of Human Resources.

“I am thrilled to have Pamela join our team,” said Interim City Manager Richard U. Nienstedt. “She will bring a multitude of experience to the City of Topeka and will be a great asset to our staff.”

Foster holds an MBA and Doctor of Philosophy from Kansas State University. She brings 20 plus years of human resources experience to the city and holds certifications as a senior professional from the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI).

Foster said, “I’m very excited to be chosen to serve as the city’s next Director of Human Resources and I look forward to furthering the City of Topeka’s development of a superior workforce and continuing to meet the city’s goals effectively and efficiently.”

Foster comes to the city after serving as Washburn University’s Director of Equal Opportunity, Title IX Coordinator and ADA Coordinator and teaching Organizational Behavior for the School of Business at Washburn University.

Foster’s first day will be April 1st.