From the City Manager's Desk

September 10, 2018

1/2 Cent Sales Tax Renewal 

In the general election in November there will be a ballot item to renew the current 1/2 cent sales tax. 
The 1/2 cent sales tax funds 52% of the forecasted $24 million spent each year on street projects. 
The citywide sales tax program uses about $14 million raised annually through a 0.5 percent retailers’ tax, also known as a sales tax. The funds are used exclusively for costs of maintenance and improvements of existing City of Topeka streets, gutters, curbs, sidewalks, alleys and street lighting.
Learn more about street projects, preventative maintenance and investing in Topeka's infrastructure here:
The City Manager’s Office, Public Works and Finance are partnering to present to groups of citizens about the Citywide Half Cent Sales Tax renewal. If a group would like to request a presentation, please contact Molly Hadfield at or (785) 368-0991. 

Road Construction Update

The image on the right is a list of featured road construction projects for 2018. 
Recent rainfall has slowed down recent construction, however, all projects are still on track to open on time. 
Work continuing on: 
  • Micro surfacing. Project is completing its sixth week. Two crews are working and the majority of micro surfacing should be completed by the end of September. Rain slowed production last week.
  • SW 37th between Burlingame and Kirklawn. This mill/overlay project with limited base repairs started on Wednesday.
  • Clarion Woods.  The AB-3 base rock was placed on the first section of roadway this week.  The first lift of asphalt was scheduled but rain may delay this installation.
  • SW Huntoon/Arvonia. The concrete is complete at the main intersection – concrete work, curb and gutter, and retaining walls continue up the hill to the west to Executive Drive. 
  • A project to help with drainage at three intersections (Clay/4th, Clay/5th, and Fillmore/5th) started this week.
  • SW 6th between Gage and Fairlawn.  Contractor continuing with concrete work. 
  • Localized bridge deck maintenance repairs continuing on the SE 6th Street Bridge over the Shunga.
Street Project Startup and Major Phase Changes:
  • SW 29th – Fairlawn to I-470 will start in September.
  • Two alley projects will start within the next two weeks.
  • Startup of the two mill and overlay projects.

Topeka Zoo Staff Member named an AZA Hero Finalist

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums is hosting a video contest to find 4 heroes who are passionate about their work to star in their next video. We're proud to say that one of our educators, Rachael, was chosen as a top 10 finalist. The online vote will be the primary factor in selecting the final 4 so we need your help to get us to the top of this nation-wide contest!
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) provides accreditation to 232 zoos and aquariums that meet the highest standards for animal welfare and work relentlessly to protect wildlife and wild places. AZA is searching for four heroes, passionate about their work and conservation, to star in our next video! Vote for your favorite hero today and check back on September 26 to see the winners. Winners will be announced at AZA's Annual Conference hosted in Seattle, Washington. Learn more about AZA and our commitment to animals and conservation:
Voting is simple. All you have to do is click on this link ( and vote for Rachael R. at the bottom of the page. Thank you!

Finance Department volunteers at Habitat for Humanity

The Finance Managers had a team building and goal setting retreat last week. The morning was spent at the Habitat for Humanity Restore and afternoon at the Kansas Health Institute. Both Habitat and Kansas Health Institute (KHI) were very accommodating hosts and important partners for the City of Topeka.

 Recent Updates 

  • There have been seven water main breaks in September with 610 breaks year to date. Last year at this time there were 257 total breaks.
  • The Planning Department has launched anew “Building Permit Map” on the City’s front page. If you ever wanted to know “what is being built there?” this new interactive online map allows you to search all residential and commercial building permits by dates.
  • Transportation Operations Division swept 197 miles of streets this week.
  • Several collections crew members attended the flood fight training at the Water Department. The training involves flood walls, relief wells, and closure structures.

Clean Slate Day  

Clean Slate Day will be held in the Municipal Court on September 21st from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Topeka Community Foundation has provided a grant to help pay for some fees and fines for those who income qualify.
If you plan to attend Clean Slate Day, please bring an I.D., social security card, proof of income and any information about Municipal Court offenses. 

2018 Kansas Winter Expo 

Utilities crews participated in the 2018 Kansas Winter Expo. Several staff members placed in the skid steer, excavator and severe duty snow plow events.
Skid Steer: Alex Schell 1st Place, Mark Vincent 2nd Place, Jim Fincham 4th Place, Tyler Parrish 5th Place, and Keven VandeVelde 6th Place.
Excavator: Alex Schell 1st Place, Mark Vincent 3rd Place, Jim Fincham 4th Place, Keven VandeVelde 5th Place, Justin Spencer 6th Place.
Severe Duty Snow Plow: Jim Fincham 2nd Place, Mark Vincent 3rd Place, Alex Schell 4th Place, Keven VandeVelde 6th Place.

Metropolitan Topeka Planning Organization Survey 

The Planning Department hosted two community meetings and launched an on-line survey for public feedback on the Topeka/Shawnee County Transportation Safety Plan sponsored by the Metropolitan Topeka Planning Organization (MTPO) and WSP consultants.
The project involves research of 23,591 crashes between 2010-2016 to ultimately determine how to reduce injuries, fatalities, and substantial economic loss related to crash incidents locally ($193 million annual average). Total crashes in the region are trending up. Much of this is due to driver behavior. Serious injury and fatal crashes are trending down except for pedestrians and bicyclists. For more information and to take the survey that will help develop focus areas for the plan, please visit

Coming up

  • City Council Meeting, September 4th at 6 p.m. 
  • Topeka Police Department Coffee with a Cop at the McDonalds on SW 21st and Belle will be on September 19th from 5:30-7:00 p.m.
  • Topeka Water Festival will be held on September 20th at Garfield Park.
  • Clean Slate Day will be on September 21st from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Municipal Court 
  • Topeka Fire Department is will be hosting its annual Open House and Fallen Firefighter Memorial on October 13th between 1:00 and 4:00 at the Fire Department Headquarters.

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: