Commission Votes To Ban Open Carry in City Buildings

The Manhattan City Commission unanimously voted Tuesday to prohibit the open-carry of firearms in 50 City buildings.

“The City can prohibit open carry by the public in City buildings if it has a sign posted at all the entrances,” said Katie Jackson, assistant city attorney.

Mayor Wynn Butler recognized that simply posting a sign wouldn’t physically keep anyone from openly carrying their firearm into a building, but said that cost-wise, signs are the City’s most viable option.

The City does have the ability to ban all firearms from its buildings, both concealed and unconcealed; but House Bill 2578, which passed through the Kansas Legislature this spring, would require Manhattan to to beef-up security at each building, a cost that would run into the millions.

“If we tried to prevent all firearms, we’re talking $30,000- $40,000 per building,” said Wynn Butler, mayor of Manhattan.

Signs for all 50 buildings will cost the City $3,500.

Transient Guest Tax

After the Flint Hills Discovery Center suffered an operational deficit of over $86,000 in 2013, the Manhattan City Commission considered a 2015 budget request Tuesday to raise the Transient Guest Tax by 0.5% in order to remedy the issue.

Mayor, Wynn Butler wasn’t in favor of the increase.

“We don’t need to be raising our taxes on hotel rooms. That’ll put us in the same league as Junction City. I think that’s a bad idea,” Butler said. “I think if we raise it, it’ll end up being permanent and that’s also a bad thing.”

Butler would prefer to explore alternative solutions such as utilizing the roughly $77,000 in projected excess Guest Tax revenue to cover the deficit, instead of adding that money to the Convention and Visitors Bureau budget. The City also plans to fund a full-time Program Coordinator in order to generate additional revenues for the Discovery Center.

Although no action was taken Tuesday, the consensus among the Commission was that an increase to the Transient Guest Tax was not immediately necessary.