Roeland Park City Council agrees to 2016 budget, but on split vote

The bathrooms and shelter at Nall Park are in need of repair.
The condition of Nall Park has been one of the concerns discussed by the city this year.

The Roeland Park City Council Monday passed its 2016 budget but not without some dissent.

Councilors Becky Fast and Ryan Kellerman voted against the budget, which holds the tax rate steady for the third year.

Fast objected to a a reduction in money for the park maintenance budget. The council in earlier discussions had agreed to designating $70,000 for parks, but that was cut to about $48,500 in an amendment added Monday night.

“We reneged on that commitment,” Fast said. “We are letting that infrastructure crumble.” Fast said she knew the rest of the council did not agree with her on her objection. Fast has been a strong proponent of upgrading the parks in general and Nall Park in particular.

The park money and another $50,000 taken from street maintenance were shifted to the city’s reserve funds. The proposed budget anticipated an erosion of the fund reserves in coming years.

Kellerman said his concern with the budget was over the small reserve. He said the city should be in a “need to have” business mode right now.

The city does benefit from a rise in valuation so it will have about $83,000 in additional funds to spend. Some costs also are being picked up with funds from the city’s tax increment financing districts.