TOPEKA, Kan. -After years of study, the Topeka City Council made a decision on a license and management agreement for the Topeka Zoo.
The council voted 9-1 to turn over management of the Topeka Zoo to the non-profit, Friends of the Topeka Zoo.
“We look forward to the continued success of our zoo under the leadership of FOTZ and to our continued partnership,” said Topeka Mayor, Michelle De La Isla.
The decision comes after council members expressed concerns over some references to taxation.
“There were many comments and suggestions made at that meeting concerning the language in the agreement, staff took those request had discussions with the FOTZ board members and pursued what language could be developed to address some of those concerns,” said City Manager Brent Trout.
The new license and management agreement was presented to the city council Tuesday night but some council members still had concerns.
“Where do we get the money, that is a lot of money,” said Councilwoman Karen Hiller.
Councilwoman Hiller, was concerned with the amount of money the city would be paying to Friends Of The Zoo and brought up the idea of a sales tax.
“A one/tenth of a cent county wide sales tax would provide more money than even in late year allowances that we have in this, which could give them more money than we’re talking about today.”
The council quickly shot down Hiller’s proposal.
“I’ve said since the first time we had this public discussion, I said at this time to the citizens that I don’t think there will be any tax increase at all with this transition and that was a dividing line for me,” said Councilman, Spencer Duncan.
With a few more language changes, the council approved the agreement, officially handing over management to Friends of the Topeka Zoo
“I sent my first email to Brendan nine years ago today about this very issue so we’ve been working on this a very long time and you have all put in a lot of effort and I look forward to continue to work with you and I know great things are coming,” said FOTZ board member Fred Patton.