Lawrence mayor, council working on 2024 budget


City of Lawrence Mayor Steve Collier and his administration are drafting his last budget as mayor. As part of that process, they have proposed an ordinance to the Lawrence Common Council, asking council members to approve $37.2 million in spending for various government funds for 2024, and the estimated 2024 property tax rate.

The estimated maximum rate is .8778.

Proposed 2024 expenditures include $27.4 million for the city’s general fund, nearly $4 million for highways, about $2.2 million for storm sewers and about $1 million for local road and street maintenance. Other funds include bonds, police pension, fire building debt, parks and recreation and capital development, according to the ordinance.

The ordinance includes an additional $17.8 million in “home-ruled funds” that are not reviewed by the state Department of Local Government Finance. Those funds include emergency services, the public safety tax, federal funds distributed through the American Rescue Plan Act, and funds for administrative and technology services.

The ordinance does not include special revenue funds, enterprise funds, capital projects funds and others that will be listed in the final 2024 budget proposal.

The 2023 adopted spending plan totaled about $80 million. That included $25.2 million for the general fund, about $4.3 million for highways, about $800,000 for local roads and streets and about $2.5 million for storm sewers. The remainder included enterprise funds, such as water and sewer utilities.

The final 2024 budget proposal was not completed by deadline for this story, according to City Controller Tyler Douthit.

Douthit said he anticipates giving a budget presentation to the council during a Finance Committee meeting set for 5:30 p.m. Sept. 20 prior to the regular mid-month council meeting.

The Finance Committee also will review various 2024 budget-related ordinances that were introduced Sept. 5 and assigned to the committee. They are:

  • Ordinance 10, establishing salary ranges for appointed officers and employees. Each position has a minimum and maximum listed in the ordinance. For example, the chief of staff would earn a minimum of $94,611 and a maximum of $107,829. The controller’s range is $94,873-$129,786; and the public safety chaplain’s range is $56,637-$67,490. The ordinance also would establish annual salaries for board and commission members. Board of Public Works and Safety and Board of Zoning Appeals members would be paid $3,600 a year. Other board and commission members would receive $900.
  • Ordinance 11, establishing salary ranges for fire and police department personnel, most of which were negotiated through collective bargaining. The police and fire chiefs have salary ranges of $70,878-$114,064. Police officers, depending on rank, range from $50,470 for a second-class patrolman to $94,757 for a captain. Firefighters have a similar range, from $51,780 for a second-class firefighter to $95,015 for a battalion chief.
  • Ordinance 12, establishing compensation for elected officials. According to the ordinance, the mayor would be paid $99,750 in 2024, the city clerk would receive $78,856, council members would be paid $16,275 each, except for the council president ($18,375) and vice president ($17,325).
  • Ordinance 13, which establishes appropriations and the property tax rate for the City of Lawrence in 2024.