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Topeka City Officials Discuss Creating Land Bank Using $250,000 in Leftover Cash

Topeka City Administrator Stephen Wade suggests using $250,000 in money the city has left over from last year to create a land bank.

The mayor and city council learned of that late Tuesday from Freddy Mawyin, the city’s chief financial officer.

A land bank is a state-approved public authority that acquires distressed or seized properties, removes unpaid taxes, and holds the property tax-free while it is updated, then resold and returned to tax rolls.

The city’s general fund money remaining as of 2022 exceeds $1.66 million

Setting aside $250,000 to create a land bank was among three proposed uses Mawyin shared during a PowerPoint presentation regarding the estimated $1,664,162 the city’s general fund has left at the end of 2022.

During a meeting that lasted just over an hour, Mawyin also suggested allocating $1,157,901 for a program to help the city avoid debt and the rest, $256,261, for its Affordable Housing Trust Fund, created to encourage developers to build affordable housing here.

The Topeka city government currently has just under $500,000 in that fund, said Gretchen Spiker, city communications director.

At the end of the year, the mayor and council are expected to decide how to use the excess money.

Moreover:Officials discuss financing affordable housing projects

Topeka mayor and council approve police contract revisions

The mayor and council also voted 9 to 1, with Councilwoman Christina Valdivia-Alcala dissenting, to approve a revised version of the employment contract they approved in September 2021 with city police officers in the rank of sergeant and below represented. in the collection of the contract from the Fraternal Order of Police.

The mayor and council last September lifted the city’s residency rule for employees through December 31, 2027, which triggered a provision in the city’s contract with its base law enforcement officers that required talks to be reopened. to discuss residency if that happened, said a document on Tuesday’s session agenda.

After brief negotiations, officers’ and city representatives recently agreed to the amendment approved Tuesday, which allows officers to live outside of Shawnee County, that document said.

The city was notified last week that the officers had voted to agree to the revised contract, he said.

“All contracting unit members will need to reside within a distance that will allow them to report to work in an emergency in a time period not exceeding 60 minutes for a probationary period in 2023,” the amended contract states. “If a change to response times is needed in 2024, it will be managed through a Memorandum of Understanding between City and the FOP Labor Council.”

The agenda package document says the two sides also agreed to reopen pay talks for 2023 and 2024, and the contract approved on Tuesday includes gradual increases in the amounts based on an employee’s seniority and their place in the wage scale.

Those increases will cost the city $822,342 more this year and $887,136 more next year than it would have spent under the original contract, the agenda package document says.

Moreover:City raises police starting pay by 14%

Basketball players to reward

The mayor and city council learned at their meeting Tuesday that the city will hold an event at 6:00 p.m. March 6 at the Topeka Performing Arts Center, 214 SE 8th Ave., to recognize the Topeka High School basketball team for “taking the high road” December .3 while confronted with racism during a road game at the Valley Center.

Plans for the event were announced by Ernestor De La Rosa, the city’s head of diversity, equity and inclusion.

More details will be made public later, De La Rosa said.

Contact Tim Hrenchir at [email protected] or 785-213-5934.

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