Flag Day Ceremony at City Hall

The American, POW/MIA, Kansas and Manhattan flags fly in the breeze during the Flag Day ceremony at City Hall on Friday. City officials hope to have a new city flag by July 4.

The city of Manhattan hoped to have a new city flag to raise Friday for Flag Day, but that wasn’t the case.

City administrators solicited designs from the public earlier this year to replace the current flag, which includes an outline of the top of an apple, the same featured in the city’s logo, encased in purple, white and green borders.

Vivienne Uccello, public information officer, said the Arts and Humanities Advisory Board narrowed 120 entries to six finalists in early May, but flood preparedness efforts over the last month put a public vote on the flags on the city’s back burner.

Right now, Uccello said the city is working to have a graphic designer polish those designs to present to the public. She said she expects to release the designs in the next couple of weeks for a vote. The city commission would then give final approval to the winner of the public vote.

Uccello said the hope is to announce and raise Manhattan’s new flag on the Fourth of July.

City payroll grows

The total payroll for the Manhattan city government grew 4.53% in 2018.

Total payroll — including base wages, salaries, sick leave pay, and car and phone allowances — was $22.9 million in 2018, up $992,000 from $21.9 million in 2017.

A report from the Kansas Policy Institute shows that payroll in 10 of Kansas’ higher population cities grew by 3.1% from 2017 to 2018. In comparison, inflation was 1.9 percent.

In addition to Manhattan, the cities in the report included Hays (5.4% growth), Lawrence (no change), Lenexa (9.8% growth), Olathe (4.1% growth), Overland Park (2.2% growth), Salina (3.5% growth), Shawnee (5.3% growth), Topeka (3.1% growth) and Wichita (2.3% growth).

Manhattan had the fourth-highest growth among the cities, but it also had the second-lowest payroll outside of Hays, which had a total payroll of $8.9 million in 2018.

Nineteen city employees made over $100,000 in total pay, led by city manager Ron Fehr with a 2018 total pay of $164,488.

In 2018, city administrators implemented a hiring and travel freeze in response to a then-anticipated $1.2 million budget shortfall.

May sales taxes grew modestly

Manhattan’s sales tax revenue in May 2019 increased by 1.24% compared to May 2018.

The state’s sales tax report for May shows $957,302 in sales tax revenue for the city. That’s an increase of $11,771, up slightly from $945,531 in May 2018. Both tax reports reflect revenue distributed from March sales.

The city has generated $4.62 million through April, an increase of $37,785 or 0.82% from $4.58 million through that same period in 2018.

The revenue was $5,246 higher than budgeted in April. Overall, the city is ahead of total sales tax projections for the year by $52,573.

Parking changes

The city’s public works department will removed “No parking” signs at the following ATA Bus stops: Beechwood Terrace, Eighth and Bertrand streets intersection, Baehr Place and Claflin Road intersection, Garden Way and Garden Place intersection, and Juliette Avenue and Vattier Place intersection.

New “no parking” signs will be added to stops at Poyntz and Juliette avenues intersection, and Beechwood Terrace. The city is also creating a new stop at University Drive at Claflin Road.

Appointment

The Manhattan City Commission on June 4 reappointed Mark Bachamp, 4292 S. Dam Road, to a four-year term on the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.

The term starts July 1 and ends June 30, 2023.

City reporter for the Manhattan Mercury