Topeka, Kansas

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Topeka is the capital city of Kansas, located on the mid-eastern part of the state. It is also the county seat of Shawnee County. Topeka's population is 127,473.[1]

Website evaluation

In 2011 Topeka earned a Sunny Awards for having a perfect website transparency score.

Main article: Evaluation of Kansas city websites
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Transparency grading process

This website was last evaluated Jan. 24, 2013.

The good

  • Meetings
    • Meeting agendas and minutes are posted.[2]
  • Budget
    • Budgets are posted.[3]
    • Budgets are archived to 2005.
  • Audit
    • Audits are posted.[4]
    • Audits are archived to 2002.
  • Elected Officials
    • Council members are listed with individual contact information under each district.[5]
  • Public Records
  • Zoning
    • Zoning information is posted.[7]
    • Building permit information is posted.[8]
  • Contracts
    • Bid opportunities are posted.[9]
    • City contracts are posted.[10]
  • Administration
    • Administrative officials are listed with contact information in each department webpage.[11]
  • Taxes
    • Local tax rates are posted in the budget.[12]
    • Local sales tax rate is posted.[13]

The bad

Public employees

Topeka has 1,152 full-time equivalent employees.[12]

City council

The Topeka City Council is composed of nine members elected by district. Each City Council Member is elected to a four-year term of office. There is no limit on the number of terms that Council Members are allowed to serve.[5]

The City Council conducts the business of the city by voting on ordinances, resolutions, applications, plats, zoning petitions, receiving reports and other items. The City Council elects a Deputy Mayor every year, who presides over Council meetings in the absence of the Mayor, makes committee assignments, and chairs various Council committees. All Councilmembers are members of Topeka/Shawnee County JEDO (Joint Economic Development Organization). Three are voting members.[5]

Serving on the City Council is considered a part-time duty. The majority of Council members have full-time jobs in addition to their City Council duties. The compensation for each City Council member is set by charter ordinance at $10,000 per year. The City Council employs an assistant who helps respond to constituents, conduct research and assist with other official business.[5]

Mayor

Topeka's mayor is William Bunten.[14]

Bunten has opposed a proposal for a domestic partner registry.[15]

The mayor has been named in a lawsuit. A citizen watchdog claims the mayor and two other city officials defamed him.[16]

City manager

The City Manager serves as the city’s chief executive officer and is responsible for providing professional leadership in the administration and implementation of all city operations and the policies, goals and vision set forth by the Mayor and City Council.[17] The Manager is appointed by the City Council.

Topeka is seeking a permanent city manager, as interim City Manager Dan Stanley has announced he is not seeking a permanent position.[18]

Norton N. Bonaparte, Jr. was City Manager of Topeka from March 2006 to June 2011, when the city council voted to end his employment and gave him a $100,000 severance package. He was originally contracted to be city manager until January 2012, but in the wake of his involvement in a controversy surrounding city employees selling scrap metal for profit prompted the council to terminate his contract early.[19]

Budget

2012

Topeka's 2012 budget calls for a 1.9% increase over the 2011 budget.[12]

Budget Expenditures[12]
Function 2010 Actual 2011 Estimate 2012 Adopted
Employee Compensation $63,510,569 $65,349,861 $65,599,861
Allowances & Reimbursements $111,629 $108,487 $116,130
Employee Benefits $16,467,727 $15,286,313 $18,300,088
Utilities $7,080,819 $7,389,033 $7,386,172
Individual & Contractual Services $16,435,366 $36,915,925 $25,297,695
Miscellaneous $502,698 $729,286 $573,237
Insurance $1,557,849 $2,182,082 $1,533,237
Maintenance $5,073,080 $6,968,153 $6,110,281
Rents $1,576,523 $1,081,658 $1,148,533
Purchased Services $25,058,819 $21,213,699 $33,507,207
HUD Grants $4,536,440 $3,044,220 $3,738,213
Contributions to Agencies $3,071,178 $2,786,650 $3,067,041
Supplies $10,615,446 $11,732,656 $12,967,586
Capital Outlay $1,165,642 $1,134,513 $813,585
Debt Service $69,226,143 $31,104,966 $31,139,507
Other Costs $14,272,313 $15,310,789 $14,455,321
Contingency - - $4,522,466
Operating Transfers $10,444,196 $3,866,254 $260,000
Clearing $(476,250) $(541,428) $(553,584)
Total Expenditures $250,230,187 $224,663,117 $229,982,895

2011

For 2011, the City’s budget, approved by the City Council, is $222.2 million. This is a decrease of $2.1 million, or almost 1 percent, from the 2010 budget of $224.3 million. The decrease was due to a 3.3 percent decrease in the general fund (excluding the contingency), which was cut by $2.7 million – from $82.7 million to $80.0 million.[20]

14.3 percent of the budget’s financing comes from property taxes; the rest come from sales tax, fees, licenses, fines, etc.[20]

Types of City Expenses:[20]

Employee salaries and benefits 36.8%
Contractual Services 24.9%
Grants and claims 5.5%
Commodities 6.0%
Capital outlay 1.0%
Debt service 15.0%
Depreciation of assets 6.4%
Transfers 2.0%
Contingency 2.4%
100.0%

Retirement costs

For 2012, employee benefits make up 8% of the city budget. Costs for city employee retirement systems increased $3 million or 19.7% from 2011 to 2012.[12]

Pensions

Topeka employees are in the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System (KPERS) or the Kansas Police and Firemen’s Retirement System (KP&F). In 2010, the city paid $1,805,616 into the KPERS system and $4,053,917 into KP&F.[21]

OPEBs

Topeka has accrued $18,737,527 in unfunded liabilities for other post-employment benefits other than pensions.[21]

Taxes

The 2012 mill levy is 36.0, up 3.15 from the previous year.[12]

External links


References