Wednesday March 16, 2011: Read transcript
LJWorld.com asked Bob Schumm 11 questions about issues facing Lawrence:
1. Do you support the city studying the privatization of the city’s trash system?
I would support studying the privatization of the city’s trash system but I must say that overall, the solid waste department does a very good job. One must remember that when you out source a city department’s function you lose control of both the financial and the operational aspect of that department.
2. Would you favor the city creating a city-operated curbside recycling service or do you believe that the system should continue to be operated privately?
At our house we recycle and compost everything possible. Curbside recycling would be more convenient and would probably encourage more citizen participation. However, I would be concerned about the private parties who are currently operating their businesses. Cost to the consumers would be a major question for me as well.
3. Did you support the $18 million bond issue to expand, renovate and add parking to the Lawrence Public Library?
Yes. I would like to see the next phase of the public library system to include an east and a west satellite location.
4. Are you interested in receiving proposals to redevelop city-owned parking lots in Downtown Lawrence?
City Commissioners should look at all options for development downtown. I would be very concerned about how the development affects the existing businesses and what the city receives in return for the right to build on public property (either monetary consideration or in the form of additional public amenity). The city must provide an open process to allow anyone who might be interested an opportunity to have their plan considered.
5. Do you support the city’s decision to take over ownership of the former Farmland Industries fertilizer plant and its plans to convert the area into an industrial/business park?
Yes, I think this is truly a great opportunity to provide a very large area for many more potential industrial customers as well as clean up our east entrance into Lawrence.
6. Yes, I think this is truly a great opportunity to provide a very large area for many more potential industrial customers as well as clean up our east entrance into Lawrence.
I support the use of tax abatements to attract new economic development as long as the requests provide for net, new sustainable jobs. Also, tax abatement should be used only after completion of a cost benefit analysis in order to determine how the business will contribute to the community as well as to determine how much tax we forgive. More than 50 percent abatement can rarely be justified.
7. How would you rate the overall condition of city streets on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being poor and 10 being excellent?
Some newer areas I would rate a 7 to 9, while some of the older and more heavily traveled areas I would grade as a 2 to 3. Overall I would rate streets of the entire city as a 4.
8. Do you believe the city needs a recreation center to serve the western portion of the city, and would you work to move that project forward during your term?
I think a western recreation center would be very well received. The big question is, of course, is it affordable?
9. Would you have supported a proposal to allow Lowe’s to build a store near Sixth Street and Folks Road?
This location has been problematic since the entire area was sold to the public as ‘new urbanism.’ Sites west of this location may offer a better opportunity to locate Lowe’s.
10. Do you support the use of incentives such as Community Improvement Districts and Transportation Development Districts that allow businesses to charge an additional sales tax to help pay for improvements at their properties?
Very sparingly, if at all. The situation should be truly unique, be for redevelopment purposes only, be otherwise impossible to accomplish without it, and have the general support of the citizenry. I would vote no on the current request before the city commission for a CID on 23rd Street, which includes Hobby Lobby, Jimmy Johns and Yokohama Sushi. I feel there is sufficient market activity in this general commercial district that would encourage developer interest in order to make an investment. The taxpayer should not bear the burden of this redevelopment.
11. How would you rate the quality and effectiveness of the city’s public transit system on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being poor and 10 being excellent?
I think things are going in a much better direction with the integration of the KU bus system as well as operating much smaller busses. I would rate the system an 8. The city needs to achieve a much higher level of rider activity. In the future, the city may want to look at demand response instead of fixed routes if the economics of the current system don’t improve.