City of Lawrence

City Manager’s Office



May 30, 2013


David L. Corliss, City Manager


Casey Toomay, Budget Manager


Cynthia Wagner, Assistant City Manager

Diane Stoddard, Assistant City Manager

Jonathan Douglass, Assistant to the City Manager / City Clerk


City Department  Issues for the 2014 Budget



For 2014, most City departments were directed to submit budgets that were equal to their 2013 submittals for all categories of expenditures other than personnel.  Departments funded through one of the City’s Enterprise Funds were directed to keep expenditures within projected revenues.  Departments were also asked to explain the impact of these budget parameters and highlight any potential service impacts or issues.  A summary of those issues is provided below. 


Public Works

The Public Works department highlighted how limiting expenditure levels in the general fund has resulted in delaying replacement of equipment as well as facility maintenance.  Items the department has not been able to fund include a sign truck ($75,000), a roof of one of the salt domes ($40,000), completion of video detection for 8 remaining intersections ($20,000 each), and pavement maintenance at the airport ($50,000.)


The opening of the parking garage near the Library will mean additional maintenance needs.  An additional maintenance worker including benefits would be approximately $45,500 annually.  Staff is currently developing an RFP for parking control systems for the new garage as well.  The cost of these improvements is not included in the 2014 base budget.


The Public Health Building, located at 200 Maine, is home to the Lawrence Douglas County Health Department, Bert Nash, and the Visiting Nurses Association.  A review of the security needs of this facility has been completed and staff is working to develop cost proposals.  Pursuant to our agreement with County, the City could be responsible for up to 50% of the cost of any improvements. 


The Public Works facilities located at 11th and Haskell continue to create challenges for employees.  The area is in the floodway, limiting material storage and repairs as well as facility expansion.  The garage has insufficient working floor space and the garage doors are too small to accommodate large fire apparatus.  The red barn has structural issues while the Solid Waste facility has foundation problems.  A new location must be found for the Household Hazardous Waste facility due to the County moving to a new location.  The City is also beginning curbside recycling in 2014.  Having solid waste staff located at one facility would greatly enhance efficiencies.



As part of the 2013 budget process, the department identified needs related to personnel, equipment, and facilities.  Progress has been made in the areas of personnel and equipment, however, needs still remain. 

·         Personnel.  The City has added nine new positions over the past two years.  In order to further strengthen patrol, two of the School Resource Officers (SROs) and six Traffic Safety Unit (TSU) officers were reassigned. Patrol is now at 94 officers, just two short of the minimum level previously advocated for by the Chief.  An additional Patrol Sergeant is also needed to complete the patrol component as outlined in 2013.  Under the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding, a 1.5% range and wage adjustment will be made to the pay ranges for MOU-covered pay grade 301, Police Officer, in the police pay plan.  Pay grade 302, Detective, will be excluded from the range and wage adjustment.  In addition, merit programs for MOU-covered employees provide for a 2.5% or 5% pay adjustment on anniversary date based upon merit.

·         Equipment.  In 2013, the mill levy was increased to provide $300,000 of additional equipment for the department.  Remaining needs include a shorter schedule for vehicle replacement, Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Security Policy compliance ($50,000+), and a new records management system ($300,000+.)

·         Training.  Limited resources have resulted in limited opportunities for staff trainings,  certifications, and leadership development initiatives.    

·         Facilities.  The department has indicated that a new facility would improve department efficiencies.  A facility study was conducted in 2013 to identify current and future space needs for the department.  Discussion will continue on this topic as part of the 2014 budget process.  Alternatively, there are capital improvements that are needed at the Judicial Lawrence Enforcement Center and the Investigations and Training Center if a new facility is not pursued.


City Attorney’s Office

The cost of prisoner care at the Douglas County jail continues to be an issue of concern.  The daily jail rate paid by the City for 2014 will be $74.02, an increase of 2.2%, over 2013.  The Court uses alternative to jailing people, however, incarceration is appropriate and must be used in certain circumstances.  The booking station in the Lawrence Police Department has not operated as anticipated and savings have not materialized as of yet.  Staff recommends a budget increase for 2014 (up to $100,000) for prisoner care.     


Staff also recommends an increase in the budget for indigent defense costs, which are expected to increase in 2014 due to projected caseload ($38,000.) 


City Manager’s Office

·         Citizen Survey.  The 2014 budget includes funds for a citizen survey.  The last survey, conducted in 2011, provided useful data on citizen satisfaction with our services and how citizens think we should prioritize our resources. 


·         Employee Satisfaction Survey.  The Employee Relations Council has submitted a request for an employee satisfaction survey.  The last employee satisfaction survey was conducted in 2008. 


·         City Clerk.  The City Clerk is currently responsible for administering the City’s right of way permit process.  In most peer communities, this function is handled by Public Works due to the technical nature of the review required.  The number of permits continues to increase.  In 2012, 314 right of way permits were processed.  By transferring this function to public works, the review as well as inspection and follow-up could be more robust.       


·         Human Resources.  Controlling employee health care costs remains a top priority for the organization.  For the third consecutive year, actual claims were under budget, increasing just 0.19% over 2011.  Overall, plan expenses increased 2.06%.  Staff also continues to analyze the impacts of the Patient Protection and Affordable Car Act (PPACA) on our plan.  For 2014, city and employee contributions to the healthcare fund will remain flat while retiree contributions will increase.  Employee deductibles will increase (from $700/$1400 to $1,000/$2,000) along with out of pocket maximums ($1,200/$2,400 to $1,600/$3,200.) 


·         Risk Management.  Staff continues to review the position of Risk Manager and while it is included in the 2014 budget, an alternative method for addressing risk management may be appropriate.  Insurance premiums are expected to increase for 2014, resulting in an increase in the 2014 budget of $47,000.


Fire Medical

The multi-year capital budget includes the purchase of a Quint in 2014.  However, limited resources in the general operating fund have required the department to lengthen the schedule for replacement of equipment and apparatus.  Outstanding needs include replacement of staff vehicles (totaling $278,000), two thermal imaging cameras ($21,210), 26 mobile data computers, portable technology for inspections, plan review, and code enforcement, as well as and replacement of the Self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) and Personal Alert Safety System (PASS) systems with an integrated system that meets new standards ($817,000.)


The department has facility needs as well.  The renovation of Fire station #1, located downtown, is included in the multi-year capital budget for 2016 ($2.2 million.)  Other needs include replacement of the training tower located at 19th and Haskell ($700,000.)

The concrete at several fire medical stations is also in need of repair (totaling $340,000.)


Information Technology

The Siemens ROLM telephone system at City Hall is the central point of communication for City operations, not only for citizens needing services but for communication between city facilities including the Law Enforcement Center, Kaw Water Treatment Plan, and Wastewater Treatment Plant.  The system is over twenty years old is currently supported by third-party companies that rely on available used parts for repairs.    Other city facilities use a patchwork of different telecommunications systems.  Implementation of a VoIP solution would allow the City to implement a single system that improves the reliability of the phone and voicemail system at city hall and other facilities and improves operational efficiency by creating a single system for all locations.  


Parks and Recreation

Parks and Recreation staff is looking forward to the opening of the Rock Chalk Park Center.  While the opening date of this exciting new facility is still unknown, the 2014 budget includes a full year budget for revenues and expenditures.  However, staffing and programming will only be added if and when revenues are available to cover costs.      


Planning and Development Services

Staff continues to look for ways to improve processes and procedures related to planning as well as code enforcement and building inspection.  Implementation of a one-stop shop remains a top priority.  Although the impact should be cost neutral, expansion of the Rental Registration program will also be an issue for discussion during the 2014 budget process.  



The City’s transit system continues to improve ridership and coordination with the University of Kansas.  The voter approved sales tax has provided the resources needed to match federal and state grant funds since 2009.  Issues for 2014 include negotiation of a new service contract, continued discussion of the need for a transfer facility, and managing the rising prices of fuel and vehicle maintenance.  The City Commission will consider two requests related to the Transit system during the 2014 budget process.  First, Johnson County has requested City funding for the K-10 Connector Service.  Second, the City received a request for a committee to examine the issue of transportation from the Lawrence Community Shelter into the Lawrence community.