Members of the Leavenworth City Commission have signaled an intent to cut an annual contribution to the Main Street Program from a 2014 budget. But the executive director of Leavenworth Main Street is hoping the commissioners will readdress the issue.
Wendy Scheidt said Friday that officials from the Leavenworth Main Street Program are still in the process of contacting commissioners in hope they will put the issue on the agenda for a meeting scheduled for Tuesday night. She also is encouraging the public to attend the meeting.
"We would urge the community to come back out," she said.
The non-profit Leavenworth Main Street focuses on revitalization and preservation of the downtown area.
"It's a proven revitalization tool," Scheidt said.
The city of Leavenworth traditionally has provided funding to the organization. Main Street officials requested $50,000 in funding from the city for 2014. That's the same amount the city paid to Main Street this year.
City commissioners are looking at eliminating the contribution to Main Street to help avoid a property tax increase in 2014. Commissioners are looking at other cuts as well including the elimination of a contribution to the Leavenworth County Development Corporation.
City staff initially recommended a mill levy increase of more than 1 mill to make up a budget shortfall. This would have resulted in a property tax increase.
Commissioners and city staff have since identified cuts totally more than $300,000 that would make a mill levy increase unnecessary.
Commissioners have not yet voted to approve the $25 million budget. But a majority of commissioners reached a consensus this week to publish a proposed 2014 budget that includes the cuts.
Scheidt said the $50,000 from the city represents about a third of Main Street's normal budget. The said the organization's total annual budget typically ranges between $155,000 and $180,000.
Without funding from the city, Scheidt said Main Street officials will have to roll up their sleeves, prioritize and work to increase revenue.
"We're just evaluating our options right now," she said.
She said Main Street has a reserve of $42,000.
"That would not cover our budget," she said.
The agenda for Tuesday's City Commission meeting was released Friday afternoon. Main Street funding does not appear on the agenda, but agenda items sometimes are added.
Scheidt said Friday that Main Street had commitments from two of the five commissioners for putting the funding issue on the agenda.
She said members of the community also may have concerns about downtown parking.
Another cut that's been identified for the proposed 2014 budget is the elimination of a downtown parking enforcement program.