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City commissioners hear budget proposal





The Hays City Commission met Thursday for a work session and reviewed the proposed $36 million budget for 2015.

Toby Dougherty, Hays city manager, led the commissioners in a brief overview of the balanced budget.

Allocations include $70,000 for enlarging and remodeling the restrooms at Fort Hays Municipal Golf Course to comply with standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act, $26,680 for training materials in the Planning, Inspection and Enforcement Division and $505,755 in requests by outside community groups.

The mill levy would remain unchanged at 25 after $270,276 is spent to keep it down. Hays edges out Salina for the lowest levy tax burden in the state.

"We are consistently the lowest tax levy for any city outside of Johnson County in the state of Kansas," Dougherty said. "The city. That doesn't include county or school district."

The budget's public hearing will be Aug. 14.

Commissioner Kent Steward was absent from the meeting.

In other business:

* Chuck Comeau, president and founder of Liberty Group Inc., presented his group's vision for a hotel and events center in downtown Hays. The $15 million to $17 million project is expected to open in fall 2016. Comeau did not share which economic incentives his group might seek from the commission later.

* Commissioners discussed spending $25,000 to promote Hays Regional Airport. The city's agreement with the federal government to land SkyWest Airlines included a $50,000 commitment for marketing. The Hays Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Ellis County Coalition for Economic Development also will contribute money.