City to consider input from ACT ICT

Wichita (KSN File Photo)
Wichita (KSN File Photo)

In the last four months, more than 2,000 people in 102 ACT ICT community meetings shared their vision and priorities for the City of Wichita.

The ACT ICT listening followed a mailed community survey last April that more than 4,100 people returned.

Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer and the Wichita City Council asked City Manager Robert Layton and City staff to gather input from a variety of citizens to provide direction into the community’s vision for Wichita’s future. That input includes:

Vision
Residents showed strong value for community and toward future generations.
Survey – respondents are interested in the future of the community:

  • 98 percent agreed with the statement that “our community should strive to balance the needs and concerns of future generations,”
  • 7 out of 10 responded that they were willing to put community interests above personal interests.

ACT ICT – Residents shared 1,379 statements on their vision for the community.

  • The top theme was economic development – community growth, innovation, job creation, diversification, job training and business promotion.
  • The second most discussed theme was arts and culture and entertainment events and amenities.

Priorities
Residents ranked different priorities and their willingness to pay to address.
Survey – out of the 14 different priorities, the top priority was:

  • To create a reliable source of water
  • Four additional priorities ranked above 60 percent
  • Five additional priorities above 50 percent

ACT ICT – out of the 10 different priorities, the top priority again was:

  • To create a reliable source of water
  • Encourage economic development, business investment and job creation ranked second
  •  Six additional priorities ranked high

Preferred Funding Method
ACT ICT – When asked how we should invest to create our community’s vision for the future:

  • 7 percent said to reduce taxes and services
  • 11 percent – spend current dollars in a different way
  •  23 percent – increase property tax
  • 58 percent – increase sales tax

ACT ICT and Survey Findings Summary

“When we started this listening process last year, we said that we wanted to hear from the people and we would go to them because we wanted to hear as many voices as possible,” said Mayor Brewer. “Now they have spoken, and we want to thank every group and every person who gave their thoughts. Now it’s up to us as elected leaders to do what our citizens did – put politics and special interest aside and focus on what our citizens have said.”

According to Mayor Brewer and City Manager Robert Layton, City staff have been working on plans to address priorities and will incorporate feedback into the City’s short- and long-term planning processes.

“This has been a very rewarding process of hearing from a great variety of groups,” City Manager Robert Layton said. “We will take this feedback into account as we work through strategic planning, budget development and our long-term comprehensive planning process which is the reason we started this process.”

Of the 102 meetings, two were open to the public and the rest were scheduled meetings that included neighborhood and faith groups, middle and high school students plus college students, senior citizens, service and civic clubs, businesses, non-profits, business and labor organizations, political and professional groups.

The Hugo Wall School of Urban and Public Affairs at Wichita State University conducted the mail survey and developed the ACT ICT community engagement meeting process and collected and analyzed the input.

“Both the survey and the input from the meetings were very similar with a few variations,” said Misty Bruckner, Associate Director said. “In analyzing the information, what really struck us was people’s commitment to their community and their desire to have a better future for themselves and the next generation.”

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