Wichita’s proposed budget for city operations in 2022 will include funding for police officers and firefighters, with plans for new police and fire stations.  The budget also provides for increased funding for street maintenance as well as improvements for parks and cultural facilities.

City Manager Robert Layton presented City Council members Tuesday with a proposed total budget of over $670.6 million, including a general fund budget of $254.7 million. The budget keeps the city’s property tax rate at the same level, 32.749 mills.   This will be the 28th consecutive year that the mill levy has remained stable.

Layton said revenue forecasts for sales taxes, charges for services, fees and other revenues have been trending upward as the community recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.  He said the city will receive $72.4 million from the federal American Rescue Plan Act, and that funding will be used to help with funding for fire stations, police substations, and library branch improvements.   The city will also fill about 140 vacant positions and restore services that were cut in 2020.

The city plans to fund seven additional police officers, and the Fire Department will keep 12 positions that were grant funded, with those grants ending next year.   The city is also starting a long-range plan to replace four police substations.

The budget will provide for $11 million in street maintenance next year, with a total of $163 million planned over the next ten years.

The city plans to look for a private operator to run the Century II Convention Center, and private management will be sought for the city’s golf courses to improve facilities and enhance services.

The City Council will have a public hearing on the proposed budget on August 5th at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.   Another public hearing will be held during the regular Council meeting on August 17th, and the final public hearing will be August 24th, when a final budget will be adopted.