Leavenworth city commissioners plan to meet again this morning to finish a review of the city’s proposed 2020 operating budget.
Commissioners spent most of Thursday reviewing various portions of the proposed $53.179 million budget.

Leavenworth city commissioners plan to meet again this morning to finish a review of the city’s proposed 2020 operating budget.

Commissioners spent most of Thursday reviewing various portions of the proposed $53.179 million budget.

When they meet today, they will discuss portions of the budget related to the Leavenworth Police Department, Parks and Recreation Department and Public Works Department.

Commissioners likely will hold a public hearing on the proposed budget Aug. 13. At the conclusion of the hearing, commissioners will be able to vote to approve the budget.

As commissioners concluded their budget meeting Thursday, Commissioner Nancy Bauder asked about including funding for a possible public transportation program.

Bauder said she has been working with Mary Dwyer, Leavenworth’s community development coordinator, on a transportation plan. Bauder said they could seek state and federal grants to help pay for a program. But some local funding likely would be required.

“Is it too late to do anything this year?” Bauder said.

City Manager Paul Kramer said the city has no money budgeted for public transportation in 2019. He said now would be the time to add something for the 2020 budget.

In addition to serving on the Leavenworth City Commission, Bauder represents Leavenworth County on the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority’s Board of Commissioners.

During Thursday’s meeting, city commissioners also reviewed the proposed Capital Improvements Program.

The CIP is a five-year plan that budgets for road and building projects as well as equipment purchases. The five-year plan is updated each year.

Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Griswold said he would like to discuss using unallocated funds from the CIP for upgrading the grounds of the Leavenworth Public Library.

Mayor Jermaine Wilson said commissioners can discuss this proposal today.

Also Thursday, Leavenworth City Commissioner Mark Preisinger expressed frustration about a Leavenworth County road project.

Preisinger said a majority of the revenue from a countywide sales tax is generated in the city of Leavenworth. But the city government receives a smaller portion of funding for its share of revenue from the countywide sales tax.

“We pay in more than we get back,” Preisinger said.

Preisinger did not advocate for changing the formula used to determine the city’s share of sales tax revenue. But he expressed frustration that an Eisenhower Road project promised by the County Commission remains uncompleted.

County officials plan to widen a section of Eisenhower Road from west of 13th Street to County Road 5.

The Leavenworth County Commission identified the Eisenhower Road project as one of three specific road projects that would be completed by the county government if voters approved a 20-year renewal of the countywide sales tax. Voters approved the 20-year extension in 2015.

Preisinger said Thursday that the Eisenhower Road project was promised to taxpayers.

“It’s very important to Leavenworth and Lansing,” he said.

Preisinger said the project previously had turned into a political football.

In 2018, the city of Leavenworth filed a lawsuit against the County Commission. City officials argued the county was required to install traffic signals at Eisenhower Road and 20th Street as part of the Eisenhower Road project. City officials cited language from a 2016 agreement between the county and cities of Leavenworth and Lansing.

The lawsuit was filed after county commissioners at the time had discussed building a roundabout at that intersection.

A judge dismissed the lawsuit, saying the County Commission had taken no official action that was contrary to the city’s interpretation of the contract.

Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Griswold questioned Thursday whether the City Commission should send letters to county commissioners.

Preisinger said city and county commissioners need to work together.

Wilson asked if the City Commission should send a letter.

Kramer said commissioners could request an update about the project from the County Commission.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR