- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 3, 2015

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas has recently raised the rent by more than 25 percent for agencies housed in state office buildings.

The Topeka Capital-Journal (http://bit.ly/1OmjFFG ) reported Monday that the Department of Administration began charging higher rents this summer.

According to documents obtained by the newspaper, rent was increased about 27 percent for the current fiscal year, beginning July 1, compared to the previous year. That is a jump from $15.25 per square foot in fiscal year 2014 to $19.40 per square foot in fiscal year 2016.

Department of Administration spokesman John Milburn said fewer tenants in the Docking State Office Building, which sits west of the Statehouse, are part of the reason for the rent increase. He said the department’s Office of Facilities and Property Management had agreed to reduce rates for two years to help agencies with their budgets, and the two-year period was up.

Kansas Board of Regents vice president for finance and administration Elaine Frisbee says some agencies experienced a double hit because the federal funds those agencies received decreased as rents went up. The Regents paid about $485,000 in rent last year and saw their rent increase by $178,000 this year.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment saw its rent go up from about $5.1 million to $6.2 million.

Agencies have not received additional funding to offset the increase. Frisbee says the Regents have approved a request for additional funds, but admits that the request is not likely to be successful when it goes to the Legislature. She says that hopefully, the request will raise awareness of their long-term concern about rent.

Frisbee said, “We’re just pointing out this is happening to us and we’re managing it but would rather not have to manage.”

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Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, http://www.cjonline.com

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