The City Commission of Arkansas City approved publishing notice of a budget hearing on Aug. 15 during a special budget meeting July 26.
The commissioners examined at length the proposed 2017 budget, including funding requests from outside agencies.
While most of the funds requested involve ongoing contracts with the city, there were two that came under closer scrutiny.
The first was Cherokee Strip Land Rush Museum’s request and the second request was from the Arkansas City Area Chamber of Commerce.
Both entities lost funding this year due to the funds loaned to South Central Kansas Medical Center.
The museum had an approved budget of $168,000 in 2016, but received only $110,000 from the city. For fiscal year 2017, the museum has requested $150,000.
Meanwhile, the chamber had an approved 2016 budget of $30,000 and has received none of those funds so far this year. Its request for fiscal year 2017 was for the same amount.
Commissioner Charles Tweedy III said he liked Hernandez’s recommendations, which would give $100,000 to the museum and no funds to the chamber.
The $100,000 recommended by City Manager Nick Hernandez technically still would follow the “step-down” funding plan the city put into place for the museum during last year’s budget hearing. However, Commissioner Jay Warren said he wanted to see the full amount given to the museum.
After some debate ensued, Mayor Duane Oestmann suggested they look at funding the museum at $115,000 and the chamber at $20,000 in 2017.
That suggestion ultimately turned into a motion to approve publication of the proposed budget and scheduling the hearing, which passed in a 5-0 vote.
The commissioners also took stock of the proposed capital outlay purchases for the Arkansas City Fire-EMS Department for 2017.
Altogether, the department is requesting $215,500 for the proposed purchases. One of the most expensive pieces of equipment on the list is a new tanker.
The department currently is using a 1986 tanker, the age of which has led to a “reduction in service,” according to Fire-EMS Chief Bobby Wolfe.
In addition, the department is requesting funds for portable radios, fire hoses, protective gear and a battalion vehicle. Many of these items were delayed from 2016.