Carl Brewer admits the state of the city probably wont be the biggest thing on Wichitans minds Tuesday night.
Thats because Wichita States mens basketball team undefeated and ranked No. 4 in the nation will tip off its game with Loyola at Koch Arena about 40 minutes after the Wichita mayor wraps up his annual look forward at City Hall.
Second fiddle? Well, yeah. I mean, Gregg Marshall notched his 21st win Saturday and everything, Brewer offered with a wry chuckle.
Indeed, Brewers annual address, which begins at 6 p.m. in the City Council chambers, isnt a masterpiece of timing: In addition to the Shocker game, President Obamas annual State of the Union address is set for an hour after tipoff, at 8 p.m.
So Brewers hoping for a second-place finish.
Its a big part of why were fighting to try to make sure the speech is down to 20-some minutes, the mayor said. We want to respect Shocker basketball, and we want people to know well get them out there.
Brewer will talk about the citys ongoing battle with a tight budget. Hell talk about the efforts to stabilize Wichitas water supply. Hell talk about the citys continued financial commitment to public safety. Hell talk about economic development, downtown and other issues driven by citizen input in an elaborate community engagement process implemented in 2013.
And hell tell Wichitans about efforts to improve the citys processes, to guard against procedural snafus like the flap over West Bank development land.
Weve increased the amount of money weve put into streets, Brewer said. Our citizens wanted a focus on streets instead of just arterials. They wanted a focus on neighborhoods, and we agree. Its a quality-of-life issue.
Brewer said residents also want to see some results at the citys groundwater recharge project and on a long-term solution to the citys water future.
Were addressing the issue of the ASR (groundwater recharge) project alone, weve run into the drought and weve had issues with Cheney Reservoir, the mayor said. Weve gained some ground on water, but we have to come up with a long-term plan. Were asking citizens for continued input on what theyd like to see.
Transit will be another focus of the mayors speech. The citys bare-bones bus system runs out of funding this year.
Were going to redo the bus system, Brewer said. We want input from the people on which system is the right one. Do we operate on weekends? Do we run on later hours? Do we do a regional system out into the smaller cities around us? Its going to present some financial challenges.
So will a speech on a busy night in Wichita and in the nation.
Normally, the president does his, the governor does his, and we do ours, Brewer said. Not this year.
The president, I guess, can do whatever he wants, so we just decided to go on and get our portion done.
Slightly more than 300 people have indicated they plan to attend the city speech.
The cumulative message is this: Lets keep working, give us some input, and well all get to the ballgame together, Brewer said.