Committee recommends City of Lawrence nix sustainability board, consolidate others

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A committee’s revised plan to update the city’s many boards recommends that the Sustainability Advisory Board and Public Incentives Review Committee be dissolved, among numerous other changes.

Over the last several months, the Board and Commissions Structure Committee has been tasked with limiting the number of city advisory boards, committees, commissions and task forces to 10, not counting those that are required by state statutes.

In a previous draft recommendation, the committee suggested consolidating 13 boards down to five and nixing another. The update comes after an online questionnaire and two listening sessions.

With the revision, some boards would be consolidated, and others would be dissolved. There would be eight boards altogether.

The Affordable Housing Advisory Board, Historic Resources Commission, Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, and Lawrence Cultural Arts Commission would all remain standalone boards.

The draft recommends that the Sustainability Advisory Board’s duties be transferred to city staff and/or other boards.

It recommends the same for the Transient Guest Tax Grant Program Advisory Board, Public Incentives Review Committee, Special Alcohol Fund Advisory Board, and Sales Tax Audit Committee.

“As part of this proposal, the Commission will have the opportunity to create a new board that is aligned to the priorities of the Prosperity and Economic Security Outcome,” according to the committee’s meeting agenda materials. “This new board does not have to be created as part of the initial restructuring process.”

The committee will decide during a meeting Monday whether to advance the new draft to the Lawrence City Commission for review and feedback.

Other suggested changes:

The Human Relations Commission and Community Police Review Board would be combined into one board for safety and security.

The original and revised drafts suggested that the Bodywork Advisory Board’s responsibilities be moved to Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health.

• The Board of Zoning Appeals / Sign Code Board of Appeals, Building Code Board of Appeals and would be combined into a single board for strong, welcoming neighborhoods.

• The Public Transit Advisory Committee, Multi-Modal Transportation Commission and Aviation Advisory Board would be combined into one board for a connected city.

“The BCSC submits these recommendations for input and discussion by the City Commission to ensure that we are meeting our charge and headed in an appropriate direction,” Chair Sharon Ashworth wrote in the agenda on behalf of the committee. “After receiving Commission feedback, staff will begin work on the transition plan for existing boards and commissions.”

The Board and Commissions Structure Committee is set to meet at 5 p.m. Monday, Aug. 21, at City Hall Riverfront, 1 Riverfront Plaza, Suite 320.

The meeting is open to the public; register to join via Zoom at this link. It is also set to be livestreamed on the city’s YouTube page, See the full agenda at this link.

The recommendations did not yet appear on the Lawrence City Commission’s list of future agenda items in the commission’s Tuesday meeting agenda as of Sunday.

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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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