Lawrence City Commissioners voted Tuesday night to give themselves the option to use more than $250,000 in taxes in 1994 for a taxi-voucher system for public transportation in Lawrence.
During their weekly meeting, commissioners approved on first reading a charter ordinance allowing a one-mill exemption from the state's tax-lid law, provided the money be used for public transportation.
A one-mill tax, using current figures, would mean about $256,000 available for commissioners in 1994, the first year the money could be used for a voucher system, City Manager Mike Wildgen said.
But the spending isn't mandatory, he said. The charter ordinance simply would give commissioners the option to spend the money.
``It doesn't bind you to anything,'' Wildgen said.
Commissioner Bob Walters suggested drafting a separate resolution that would spell out the distinction between spending money and simply authorizing its availability.
``I don't want people to have the impression that we have to spend the whole one mill,'' Walters said.
THE ORDINANCE, which would grant Lawrence an exception from the Kansas Constitution, would go into effect 61 days after its second of two publications in the Lawrence Journal-World, unless a protest petition forces the measure into a referendum.
Also at Tuesday night's meeting:
Commissioners presented the Lawrence Arts Commission City Enhancement and Cultural Exchange Award to Ardys Ramberg, representing Harvest of Arts; proclaimed Dec. 8-14 ``Toys for Tots Remember the Feeling'' week; proclaimed Dec. 12 ``Headquarters 23rd Birthday and Volunteer Recognition Day''; and accepted an invitation to attend the ``1992: Year of the Indian Pow Wow,'' from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Dec. 12 at Haskell Indian Junior College.
On the consent agenda, commissioners:
Approved minutes of the previous city commission meeting.
Approved payment of city expenses: $1,246,013.13 to 363 vendors, and $661,138.96 for the Nov. 15-28 payroll.
Approved drinking establishment licenses for Club Liberty, Liberty Hall, 642 Mass.; American Bistro, 701 Mass.; and Fifi's Banquet Connection, 1350 N. Third.
Awarded weatherization contracts to: Midwest Insulation for insulation; Kennedy Glass Inc. for storm windows; and Kaw Specialities for weather-stripping of doors.
Awarded an $85,240 contract to May Contractors Inc. for a maintenance building.
Set Dec. 22 as deadline for submitting bids for new furniture for the city's building inspection department.
APPROVED AN ordinance on final reading removing parking on the east and west sides of Maple Lane (140 feet and 100 feet, respectively), allowing better visibility for children walking in crosswalks behind Kennedy School. Also approved was removal of parking on both sides of Maple Street, east 125 feet from the east curb of Massachusetts Street; parking from the west side of Maine Street, north 200 feet from the north curb of Fourth Street; and from the south side of Overland Drive, from Monterey Drive to Eldridge Street; and on the east side of Eldridge Street, from Sixth Street to Overland Drive.
Approved an ordinance on final reading to install stop signs on Westbrooke at its intersection with 15th Street. This portion of Westbrooke is on Kansas University's West Campus, south of 15th Street.
Approved an ordinance on final reading to set the speed limit at 20 mph on the Westbrooke Street loop from the street's east and west intersections with 15th Street.
Approved an ordinance on final reading to extend a loading zone 100 feet past the current zone on the west side of Maine Street, north of Fourth Street.
Adopted on final reading the amended 1988 Uniform Housing Code.
Approved a site plan for an addition to E&E Specialities, 920 E. Ninth.
APPROVED annexation of 13.811 acres for residential development, south of West 15th Street and a half-mile west of Wakarusa Drive.
Approved the rezoning of 72.5 acres, south of West 15th Street and 1/2-mile west of Wakarusa Drive, from A (agricultural) and M-1 (research industrial) to RS-1 (single-family residence).
Approved the rezoning of 33.29 acres, generally east and west of Carmel Drive, from RM-1 (multifamily), RM-D (residence duplex) and RO-1 (residence-office) to RS-2 (single-family residence), to make the zoning designations conform with current uses for the land. The lots are legally described as: Lot 23, Block 3, and Lots 6-10, Block 5, Alvamar No. 2; Lots 9-20, 24, Alvamar Northwest No. 5; Lots 1-9, 11-22 Alvamar West No. 6; Lot 15 Wimbleton Heights; and remaining unplatted land.
Approved a text amendment to correct Section 20-1610 of the city code, which contains protest procedures for uses permitted upon review permits.
Commissioners removed the following items from the consent agenda, for further discussion:
A site plan for moving Community Mercantile Co-op to 901 Miss. Commissioners approved the plan after hearing from project manager Jeff Helkenn, who said he planned to ask the Lawrence Board of Zoning Appeals for a variance to a green-space requirement that would eliminate four parking spaces in the parking lot, because the lot itself would have to be moved and condensed. ``It's a nice-to-know thing, but it has nothing to do with our body,'' Commissioner Bob Schumm said, recommending that Helkenn take his concerns to the zoning appeals board. Helkenn agreed, but said he wanted to state for the record his intentions to ask for a variance. Walters supported the site plan, despite the exception. ``I think this is a heck of a reuse of a building that has been a problem for some time,'' he said, ``and this is a great thing.''
A SITE plan for a warehouse and storage building at the northwest corner of Maple and Mechanic streets in North Lawrence. George Blevins, who owns a house north of the lot where the proposed 2,450-square-foot warehouse/storage building will be built, told commissioners he was concerned about privacy, and asked that the developer pay for a cedar privacy fence between the two properties. Alan Zimmerman, representing property owner Donnie Mellenbruch, said he had offered to pay for half of the fence. ``We feel the fence is totally to his benefit,'' said Zimmerman. He also asked commissioners to relax a requirement to build sidewalks along Maple and Mechanic streets. The commission, in approving the site plan, reached compromises on the two issues. They required a sidewalk only along Maple Street, and the developer must plant trees and other shrubs on the north end of the property to partially block a view of the building, as well as promise never to store equipment on the land north of the building.
On the regular agenda, commissioners:
Approved on first reading an ordinance authorizing the refinancing of $6 million in multifamily housing development revenue refunding bonds for Brandon Woods Inc., 15th and Inverness. The refinancing allows the retirement community to lower its interest payments on the bonds, and will not affect taxpayers, Wildgen said.
Deferred a request to rezone 1.19 acres at 307 W. 23rd, just east of Checker's food store, from C-2 (neighborhood shopping) to PCD-2 (planned commercial development). City planners have recommended allowing construction of a new Taco Bell restaurant east of the grocery store, 23rd and Louisiana. With Commissioner Shirley Martin-Smith absent from the meeting, Mayor Bob Schulte suggested the item be deferred until the full commission is present, likely next week.