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Sedgwick County commissoners were told Thursday there is little room for additional budget cuts at the Sedgwick County Zoo.
Scott Ochs, chairman of the Sedgwick County Zoological Society, was one of the speakers for a public hearing on the county's proposed $408 million budget for 2013.
Ochs said the zoo has already reduced expenses with a cut of 6.6 percent this year, and five fulltime positions were cut last year. He said there have been increases in admission and concessions, and that has brought more revenues, but he is concerned about hurting attendance at the zoo. He said the Zoological Society wants to make the zoo affordable to everyone.
Ochs said a 5 percent cut would amount to a $1 million hit on the budget. He said the zoo is operating as efficiently as it can.
He said it is facing increased costs for animals, rising fuel prices and a maintenance backlog. He said the proposed budget cut for 2013 would mean that for the first time in history, Sedgwick County could contribute zero dollars to maintain its $45 million facility.
Other speakers at the budget hearing urged commissioners to maintain funding for senior centers and extension programs. Commissioners were also urged to keep the Judge Riddel Boys Ranch for juvenile offenders. The county is considering closing the Boys Ranch and starting a day reporting program for juveniles.
The commission will have another budget hearing on Tuesday, Aug. 14 at 9 a.m. At their regular meeting on Aug. 15, they will consider adopting a final county budget for 2013.