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Lawrence City Commission to discuss capital improvement plan, consider plastic bag ban

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City of Lawrence staff will ask city commissioners for their input Tuesday on a draft capital improvement plan spanning the next five years.

Altogether, the city manager’s recommended CIP includes $121.5 million in projects for 2024.

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About 42.4% of that would go toward facilities, including $31.5 million for improvements at the Kansas River Wastewater Treatment Plant, $5.9 million for a City Hall reconfiguration, $5.7 million for the Municipal Services and Operations campus and $250,000 for a major renovation to the Outdoor Aquatic Center.

Another 18% of the total would go toward water and wastewater, 18.3% to roads and bridges, 8.8% to stormwater control and 8.1% to vehicles and equipment, with the remainder distributed between parks and amenities ($3.3 million), affordable housing ($1.1 million) and the airport ($931,00).

The discussion will come ahead of the presentation of the city manager’s draft budget for fiscal year 2024, set for the commission’s Tuesday, July 11 meeting.

Click here to view the full 2024-2028 CIP agenda item (large PDF).

Plastic bag ordinance

As part of the consent agenda — meaning a list of items that are generally considered routine and approved with one vote, unless a commissioner or member of the public asks to pull something for discussion — commissioners will consider approving an ordinance banning single-use plastic bags.

During their June 6 meeting, commissioners asked for some tweaks to the draft ordinance but generally voiced their approval. Read more from that meeting in this article, and see the proposed draft ordinance at this link.

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“Unless otherwise exempted under this Article, the use of Single-use Disposable Plastic Bags is hereby prohibited within the City limits,” the ordinance reads.

“… It shall be unlawful for any person, who owns, manages, operates, or otherwise controls an Establishment, to provide or permit to be provided to any Consumer, at a check-out stand, cash register, point of sale or distribution, or other point of departure, any Single-use Disposable Plastic Bag, for the purpose of enabling the Consumer to transport from the Establishment food, beverages, goods, or merchandise.”

The revised ordinance lists many exemptions, including produce or product bags meant to prevent contamination, dry cleaning or garment bags, newspapers, farmers’ markets, the sale of live animals such as fish, and more.

See the full meeting agenda at this link.

The Lawrence City Commission will begin its regular meeting at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday, June 20 at City Hall, 6 E. Sixth St. Commissioners will meet for an executive session (meaning behind closed doors) starting at 5 p.m.

The commission accepts written public comment until noon the day of the meeting emailed to ccagendas@lawrenceks.org. People may also provide public comment during the meeting in person at City Hall or via Zoom. Register for the Zoom meeting at this link.

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Mackenzie Clark (she/her), reporter/founder of The Lawrence Times, can be reached at mclark (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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Lawrence Indigenous, queer communities and allies mourn death of nonbinary Oklahoma teen

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Members of Native American and queer Lawrence communities joined in solidarity for a vigil in honor of Nex Benedict, a 16-year-old nonbinary student from Oklahoma who died this month after suffering injuries from a fight in the girls’ bathroom at school — the bathroom state law required them to use.

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