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Friday, Aug. 24, 2012

Olathe council passes $280 million budget

Special to The Olathe News

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The Olathe City Council this week passed its all-funds operating budget, which sits at roughly $280 million.

The budget represents a stable financial outlook for the city, with no significant increases or decreases.

Earlier this year, City Manager Michael Wilkes told the council that Olathe is finally getting back on its feet after the recession.

For the past few months, the city held several public workshops to obtain citizen input before the final adoption of the budget was made on Tuesday night.

At its meeting, the council also learned that Olathe’s new community center is one step closer to reality.

The general design of the project is now complete, Director of Parks and Recreation Kevin Corbett told the council Tuesday evening, but fine details are still being smoothed out.

“On Nov. 6, we’re going to put a shovel in the ground and get construction started,” he said. “With the level of excitement I’ve seen from residents, I can’t imagine this new center not engaging the community.”

The large community center will feature amenities such as a fitness center, gymnasium space, pool and surrounding park. There will also be numerous programs and classes offered in areas including swimming, sports, and dance.

Revenue from the community center, after expenditures, is projected to bring about $209,000 the first year. But Leon Younger, a consultant for the project, said that figure was a conservative guess.

A monthly pass for Olathe families is expected to cost $72, with non-Olathe families paying $85. There will also be individual and couple passes, along with the option to purchase a punch-card pass.

Steve Blackburn, an architect for the project, pointed out that the building itself will be a source of pride for Olathe.

“The building really doesn’t have a backside. It is handsome from all fours,” he said. “It has a very graceful look. It’s a fun building.”

After the presentation, the council seemed pleased with the final outcome of the community center’s design and financial outlook.

“This is awesome,” said Mayor Mike Copeland. “I’m really pleased with how it is looking. I think we’re making good decisions.”

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