From the City Manager's Desk

December 17th, 2018

Topeka Fire Department welcomes new accelerant detection dog Benny 

The Topeka Fire Department is pleased to announce the addition of our new Alcohol Tobacco and Fire Arms (ATF) Accelerant Detection Canine Benny. Benny will take the place of Webster, who died in March of this year. The Topeka Fire Department would like to invite our media partners to come meet Benny and see a demonstration of his skills in detecting the presence of ignitable liquids.
Benny is a 2 year old male Yellow Labrador Retriever who completed his training at the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Canine Training Center at Front Royal, Virginia. His Handler, Fire Investigator James Vollintine, completed an intensive 6 week training program on December 7, 2018, where he was introduced to Benny and they received their ATF Accelerant Detection Canine certification.
Benny will respond throughout the City of Topeka, Kansas and assists investigators in detecting the presence of ignitable liquids at fire scenes. When requested, Benny will respond throughout northeast Kansas and the Midwest region to assist other agencies. Benny will also assist with public relations and educational programming.

City of Topeka potential victim of cyber-attack on Utility billing payment system 

On the afternoon of December 7th, the City of Topeka was notified by our Utility Billing Payment System software vendor Central Square that the City of Topeka has been a potential victim cyber-attack. This potential data breach has not been confirmed at this time. Central Square has turned over their information to a forensics investigator to confirm the potential breach of the City of Topeka Utility Billing Payment System. On Saturday, December 8th the City of Topeka Information Technology team went through the data breach system and did not see any malicious activity. As a potential victim of a cyber-attack, the City of Topeka wants to keep our costumers information safe and city Information Technology staff worked with the software vendor on December 7th to transition the current online Utility Billing Payment System to a more secure platform as advised by the software vendor. Local law enforcement and the FBI have been notified of the potential breach.
The City of Topeka is working with very limited information at this time regarding the potential cyber-attack. The data breach occurred between October 31st and December 7th. The data breach would affect any City of Topeka Utilities customer who made a one-time payment, made a credit card payment over the phone, or set up autopay during this time. E-checks and customers who set up autopay before October 31st will not be affected. While this potential compromise has not been confirmed by a qualified forensic investigator yet, the City is strongly recommending, as a precautionary measure, customers who make credit card or debit card transactions using the online Utility Billing Payment System between October 31st and December 7th to contact their credit card issuer for advice related to the potential exposure of their credit card information.
As the potential victim of a cyber-attack, the City of Topeka has identified that up to 10,000 customers have been potentially impacted by the data breach. City of Topeka Utilities Department will be sending a letter to customers whose information has potentially been impacted.
If you are concerned about the exposure of your credit or debit card information, please access www.IC3.gov to file a complaint. The Internet Crime Complaint Center or IC3 accepts online Internet crime complaints. In order to file a complaint on IC3, you will need personal information, including your address, telephone, and email. You will also need financial transaction information, specific details on how you were victimized and any other relevant information that you believe is necessary to support your complaint. When filling out a complaint with IC3 please be sure to include Click-2-Gov in the description part of the incident form. The City of Topeka is cooperating with the FBI and your input and information are valuable to support cooperation efforts.
Information on the potential breach will be on the City of Topeka website front page and updated as information becomes available. You can find more information on how to respond to a data breach at: https://www.ftc.gov/data-breach-resources

Road Construction Update

🚧 ROAD CONSTRUCTION UPDATES 🚧
The image on the right is a list of featured road construction projects for 2018. 

Work continuing on:
  • SW 29th and SE Adams intersection. Still working to complete ADA upgrades and the signal installation.
  • SW 29th and Burlingame. Plan is to open all lanes of traffic by this Friday - December 14th; sod going down Thursday, Dec. 13.
  • Huntoon/Arvonia. Pavement markings completed. Small section of sidewalk left and adjustments to signals at the intersection are needed.  Opening moved to December 21st.
  • Central Park. ADA ramps completed this week.
  • Alley work continuing in the 1400 Block just east of KS Avenue. Project is approximately 90% complete.
  • Storm pipe being installed along SW Fairlawn (25th Street) under failed roadway. Continuing to run into issues with previous sand backfill.
  • Concrete subcontractor started work on Fairlawn at 29th on Wednesday.
  • Working on the alley project near 1st and Jackson.

Finance Department receives Certificate of Achievement

The city received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by Governmental Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) for its comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR). The certificate is the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management. 

Safe Streets Holiday Safety Tips

We want you to have the best holiday possible! This time of year, there are more people out and about and there are more activities and events. With this comes more opportunities for crime. Check out these tips from our partners at Safe Streets Coalition on things you can do to keep your family, home and packages safe this year.

 Recent Updates 

  • TFD Training Division staff facilitated Promotional Exam for the position of Apparatus Operator. 13 candidates successfully passed the exam.
  • There have been 42 broken water mains this month with 849 year to date. Last year at this time there were 393 breaks.
  • Public Works filled 867 potholes this week.
  • Fire under the north end of the KS Avenue Bridge caused significant damage to the northbound structure. Fire occurred on Monday morning and northbound lanes are close indefinitely. Staff is working with consultants to determine if structure can be repaired.

Development and Growth Management Report 

Planning released the November, 2018 Development and Growth Management (DGM) Report which can be found at www.topeka.org/planning
Highlights include:
• Total building permits for new construction/remodel are projected to be at the same level as 2017. However, residential permits are projected to increase by 18% while commercial permits would decline 16% by year end.
• 7 new residential units were permitted this month. 120 new residential units have been permitted for construction year to date within the City of Topeka. 110 total units were permitted in 2017.
• 50% of all new dwelling units within Shawnee County have been built within the City of Topeka year to date compared to 48% for 2017.
• Total building permit values are projected to decrease 34% by year end compared to last year which would be the lowest valuation total since 2014.

Snow and Ice Removal Plan 

Winter weather is here. Check out the city's snow and ice removal plan
You can also see a map of all the streets in Topeka to see if they have been treated. 
Priority 1:
Primary Streets: Arterial Streets and Emergency Snow routes
Service Level – Plowing will typically begin with 2” of snow accumulation. Complete snow and ice control within 24 hours of snowfall ending.
Priority 2:
Secondary Streets: Collector Streets
Service Level – Plowing will typically begin with 4” of snow accumulation. Complete snow and ice control within 24 hours after Priority 1 completion.
Priority 3:
Residential Streets: Local Streets
Service Level – Plowing will typically begin with 6” of snow accumulation to ensure that they are passable to emergency services and general public as necessary upon completion of Priorities 1 through 2.

Coming up

  • City Council Meeting, December 18th at 6 p.m.  
  • Housing Services is providing Lead-Based Paint – Renovate, Repair and Paint Certification on December 18th in the Holliday Conference Room. This training will be free to contractors with a maximum of 25 people getting certified.

Brent Trout 

This weekly report is presented to you from the office of City Manager Brent Trout.
This report was produced through our open data portal. We have several other open data portals to help connect you with the work we do, including portals that let you: