There’s something kind of cheery about the way the Lawrence Journal-World detailed the spending associated with KU’s 2012 Final Four appearance. The town of 87,643 souls happily served itself with a bill for more than $180,000 in the wake of the Jayhawks’ run to the title game.
City Manager David Corliss praised municipal employees for their positive attitudes while policing and cleaning up after the all-night, downtown parties thrown by hoops-mad residents. “I very much appreciate their extra hours of work,” Corliss told the Journal-World. “While some may not particularly look forward to the after-hours work, they did it with smiles on their faces because they recognized it was a good time for Lawrence.”
The itemized bill, as printed in the newspaper, reveals that overtime payments to city workers were the largest expenditure, which probably accounts for some of the happy faces. The list:
• Personnel costs: $147,772 in additional wages. Of that, $111,218 was paid to police officers who worked additional shifts. Fire and Medical employees received $25,782, although about $12,000 of that will be reimbursed by Kansas University to compensate the city for staffing the watch parties at Allen Fieldhouse. Parks and Recreation wages totaled an extra $5,874, while Public Works checked in at $4,898.
• Various equipment and supplies: $19,011.
• Vehicle costs, such as fuel: $5,515.
• Rentals of portable toilets for downtown: $4,745.
• Loss of flowers and shrubbery in downtown: $1,638.
• Additional landfill charges to get rid of all the trash from the downtown parties: $1,105.
Not sure why, but the penultimate item “flowers and shrubbery” tickles my funny bone. I suspect Monty Python and the Holy Grail must bear the blame.