From the Reference Desk...

This blog provides links to current resources to help you find what is new and noteworthy in the state of Kansas. State Library staff will highlight a topic of specific interest and supply links to important news and services in the state of Kansas.

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Jul 20

Cities in Kansas

Posted on July 20, 2016 at 9:57 AM by Brian Herder

Weeks ago we discussed the nature of counties in Kansas. For this blog post we will discuss cities.

Cities are different than counties in that they are not specifically intended to carry out local operations of the state government, although they still do this to some extent. For example, city police may arrest suspects of a state crime, which can then be prosecuted by the state via the local court district.

Kansas statutes Ch. 12, Article 1 outlines basic city powers and responsibilities in Kansas. Incorporated cities are legally recognized as having certain powers of a corporation, such as a business, summarized in KSA 12-101. They are also permitted powers of zoning, taxation for city purposes and certain powers of law enforcement.

Article Twelve of the Kansas Constitution addresses corporations, which includes cities. Since a 1960 amendment to the Kansas constitution, Kansas cities function under home rule principles, which empowers cities "to determine their local affairs and government, including the levying of taxes, fees , charges, and other exactions." If one peruses Kansas legislation from the late 19th and early 20th century, one can see many state laws passed specific to one city. With the enactment of home rule, the state legislature can spend more time dealing with issues of a statewide nature, and leave many of the most local issues to the cities' power of home rule.

The state of Kansas recognizes three classes of cities depending on population size. While all cities have to follow some of the same laws and rules, other laws and rules are specific to the city's class. First class cities have populations of more than 15,000, Second class cities between 2,000 and 15,000, and Third class cities of less than 2,000. Growing second class cities are legally allowed to remain second class cities until they reach 25,000, while growing third class cities are allowed to remain third class cities until they reach 5,000.

City voters may choose between being governed by the City-Manager plan, or the Modified Mayor-Council Form of Government

It is important to note that one city, Kansas City, has consolidated its city government with the Wyandotte county government. This is the only consolidated city-county government in Kansas.