Proposed 2020 Budget

The City of Topeka Finance Department has released the preliminary 2020 budget on the City of Topeka website. The 2020 budget will be $292.6 million and will be the sixth consecutive budget proposal that has not included a mill levy increase. The FY20 Proposed Budget continues to support the budget priorities that were established by the Governing Body – investing in infrastructure, continuing commitment to public safety, continuing a commitment to developing neighborhoods, selected strategic investment toward quality of life and improving fiscal sustainability.
The General Fund budget is $96.5 million, a 1.9% increase. To balance the General Fund and maintain current service levels without raising the mill levy, the FY20 Proposed Budget includes a mix of revenue enhancements and expenditure cuts. The FY20 Proposed Budget shifts mills from tax levied funds (Debt Service and Special Liability) to the General Fund, but maintains a flat overall mill levy. The FY20 Proposed Budget includes reductions to General Fund department operating budgets of $1.0 million. This includes the elimination of three vacant positions in the Executive, Administrative and Financial Services, and Public Works departments. The preliminary 2020 budget can be viewed on the City of Topeka website, with the City Manager’s transmittal letter beginning on page 7:
Budget Highlights:
• Personnel related expenses represent the largest portion of the General Fund at $76.1 million, or 79% of total expenditures. Personnel costs, including wages and benefits, increase $1.9 million, or 2.5%, over the 2019 Adopted Budget, and include finalized union contracts along with assumptions regarding negotiations in progress. Non-union, management and executive staff wages increase 1%, or $150,000.
• Property and sales tax collectively make up 61% of the General Fund’s revenue, 29% and 32% respectively.
• Property tax is budgeted to modestly increase over the FY19 Adopted Budget by $640,000, as mills have been shifted from the special liability and debt service funds. Sales tax is economically sensitive and City collections have alternated annually between growth and modest decline over the last five years.
• General Fund departments were asked to identify budget reduction options totaling 3% (approximately $2.8 million) of their overall budget. Based on discussions with department heads, questions regarding sustainability and how the cuts impact operations were thoroughly explored, approximately $1.0 million has been incorporated into the FY20 Proposed Budget.
• The Topeka Police Department has increased personnel services by $515,000, and will be decreasing overtime expenditures for FY20.