WATCH: Mayor Whipple says Wichita is facing budget cuts, asks for input

KNSS News
May 28, 2020 - 12:37 pm

Mayor Brandon Whipple says officials with the City of Wichita are doing their best to provide services while keeping employees and citizens safe from the coronavirus.

During his weekly briefing Thursday morning, he reminded residents to check Wichita.gov for the latest information on city functions and timelines.

His bigger concern Thursday was making citizens aware of budget issues facing the City of Wichita.

“It’s worth noting that we are facing a $12 million projected shortfall this year due to the coronavirus and a $16 million projected shortfall next year due to the coronavirus,” said Whipple.

He said the City has some hard decisions to make, but it is in a better position than most cities.

“We actually have a double-A rating by Standard & Poor’s for our bonds, which means it’s still safe to be doing business here in Wichita,” he said.

Whipple said there are no good decisions right now when it comes to balancing the budget, just “less bad decisions.”

He said citizens should stay in contact with him and with their council members if there are certain programs they are concerned about getting cut. He suggested checking out the video of the City of Wichita budget retreat to learn more about possible budget cuts.

The mayor was asked if he feels that Wichita is ready to reopen. He said he trusts the majority of businesses and people in Wichita will follow the guidelines about social distancing.

“We’re a bit of a victim of our own success,” said Whipple. “Because we handled this really well up front, we have people who say, ‘There really wasn’t a big problem. We can open up and everything will be fine moving forward,’ and the reality is we need to be listening to healthcare professionals in public.”

He said medical professionals want people to stay cautious.

Whipple said the Wichita Chamber of Commerce has been doing a good job of posting information about where companies and citizens can find masks and locally-brewed sanitizer.

“Our businesses have been very responsible and are looking for the best practices,” he said.

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