Residents can help shape the 2015-2016 proposed budget through social media

Wichita (KSN File Photo)

WICHITA, Kansas – Wichita officials are asking residents to provide ideas during the development of the 2015-2016 operating budget.

The city will host a social media town hall meeting from 1:30 to 3 pm on Wednesday, May 21, when residents can weigh in on the operating budget at the City’s Facebook and Twitter sites.

Residents can continue to comment at Facebook and Twitter after the social media town hall event ends at 3 pm.

“The city will post questions in order to stimulate feedback. We would like feedback on those specific issues, but we would also like feedback on issues citizens have concern with as it relates to city budget,” said Mark Manning, Wichita City Budget Director. “We think social media opens up engagement to a whole new realm of citizens. It provides the opportunity for feedback in the convenience and comfort of their own home on their time.”

Last year, community engagement was an important factor in operating budget issues including converting turf to wildflowers and native grasses; planning for the future of O.J. Watson Park; and keeping other programs intact, such as the Wichita Police Department mounted unit and air patrol.

During last year’s town halls, 671 social media comments were received, with more than 66,000 page views.

The Social Media Town Hall meeting will address the annual expenditures in the operating budget.

Potential topics including animal control services, snow removal, street and pathway maintenance, citizen engagement, and the use of technology to better serve and engage more residents.

The city’s budget totals more than $500 million.

City services funded by the budget include Police, Fire, Parks and Recreation, Street and Building Maintenance, and Water Utilities.

The 2015-2016 Proposed Budget is scheduled to be presented on July 15.

The city council will take final action on the budget on August 12.

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