Community forum planned on future of Wichita’s water

07/15/2014 6:56 AM

07/15/2014 6:57 AM

The Kansas Policy Institute, a conservative Wichita nonprofit organization, is hosting a community forum about Wichita’s water future from 8 a.m. to noon on Thursday at the Wichita State Metropolitan Complex, Room 132, according to a news release.

The city of Wichita is looking to propose a 1 percent sales tax on the November ballot that would largely fund a new $250 million water source for the city.

“We’re just trying to get all of these different perspectives in the same room and not in a debate format. We want to talk about if there is a problem, what is the scope of the problem and what are some possible solutions,” said James Franko, vice president and policy director for KPI.

Forum speakers include Tracy Streeter, director of the Kansas Water Office, on the scope of water use and the needs of south-central Kansas; Alan King, director of public works for the city of Wichita, and City Council member Pete Meitzner, who will speak about the city’s sales tax proposal; Art Hall, executive director of the Center for Applied Economics at the University of Kansas, on water markets and buying water from farmers; and Karma Mason, president of iSi Environmental, who will speak about the Wichita Chamber of Commerce’s recent water task force findings.

Speakers will present for 30 minutes and a question-and-answer session will follow each speaker.

Franko said KPI is not taking a stance on the water proposal before the City Council.

Registration and a light breakfast will begin at 7:30 a.m. and presentations start at 8 a.m.

The forum is free to attend, but advance registration is encouraged.

For more information or to register, call 316-634-0218 or visit www.kansaspolicy.org/events.

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