Archive for Wednesday, September 8, 1993

ABATEMENT, BONDS PASS ON 3-2 VOTE

September 8, 1993

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John Nalbandian, Lawrence resident, wouldn't have faced the dilemma that John Nalbandian, Lawrence mayor, did.

"If I had the money, and I was asked, I would invest in this business," Nalbandian said while struggling over which way to vote on a 50-percent tax break for Carrousel Printwear Inc. over the next decade.

Instead, after asking for a motion, Nalbandian provided the swing vote that would commit the public's potential tax money for the abatement.

On the same vote, with Commissioners Bob Moody and Jo Andersen opposed, the commission also agreed to sign onto $1.5 million in industrial revenue bonds for Carrousel. The bonds are issued in the city's name to take advantage of lower interest rates, but are paid through the company, which accepts all financial responsibility.

Carrousel, 2600 Iowa, plans a $1.2 million expansion into a 2.5-acre site at Oread West Research Park. The company sells imprinted sportswear and researches and develops printing equipment.

Nalbandian is a member of the Administrative Review Committee that last month recommended approval of the requests based on several factors, including a computer analysis that identified a benefit-to-cost ratio of 1.03 to 1.

Over the next 15 years, the city and county will give up an estimated $50,312 in property taxes because of the abatement, the analysis said.

Andersen said the computer ratio -- which takes into account the effects of new jobs, increased sales taxes and new housing purchases -- should be at least 1.25 to 1, to qualify for approval.

"This really bothers me a lot," she said.

Moody didn't mind the ratio as much as the possible effect on other screen-printing businesses in town. The abatement could give Carrousel an advantage over other companies, he said.

But Daniel Hix, president of Carrousel, said his business didn't compete with any other Lawrence company, because of its concentration on out-of-town business. Carrousel last week landed a nationwide sweatshirt and T-shirt contract with Budweiser, and was preparing a proposal for NASA's Kennedy Space Center later this week.

If the abatement wasn't approved, he told commissioners, the company "probably" would have moved out of town. After the meeting, he said Carrousel would have relocated to Eudora, which has similar tax abatement policies to Lawrence's.

"Anything you can do to save on taxes is a must," Hix said.

The company plans to hire 30 new employees in Lawrence, including three managers, five professionals and 22 production and clerical workers, eight of whom would work part time, according to the company's application.

Average annual salaries for new full-time workers would range from $18,000 to $40,000, the application said.

Here's what else occurred during Tuesday's meeting:

@sc7.5: Commissioners proclaimed:

-- Saturday to Oct. 24 as "Lawrence Indian Arts Show Days in Lawrence."

-- Sept. 19 as "Lawrence/Douglas County Day at The Woodlands," organized by Douglas County Senior Services, 745 Vt.

On the consent agenda, commissioners approved:

-- Minutes of previous board and commission meetings.

-- Payment of city bills.

-- Drinking establishment licenses for Harbour Lites, 1031 Mass.; American Legion Dorsey Liberty Post No. 14, 3408 W. Sixth; and Kaspar's, 3115 W. Sixth, Suite D. Commissioner Bob Schulte abstained from the vote.

-- Setting a deadline of 2 p.m. Sept. 21 for bids on five proposals: purchasing a mini van for the housing and neighborhood development department; selling surplus property from the utilities department; buying road salt for the public works department; installing sanitary sewers in the Colonial Place subdivision; and demolishing a structure and building a frontage road at the northeast corner of 33rd and Iowa streets.

-- Awarding a $19,757 bid to Jim Clark Motors for a police cargo/utility vehicle.

-- Accepting bids from people and groups wanting to buy surplus equipment from the city: Ahmed Mirzamani, $25,300 for five police sedans; Basehor Truck & Equipment Center, $12,750 for five vehicles, including a dump truck; Bo's Parts & Equipment, $4,500 for an asphalt paver; and Kansas Rural Fire District No. 3, $6,500 for a mini pumper.

-- An ordinance, on final reading, to remove parking near the intersections of Crestline Drive and Sixth Street, Moundview Drive and Century Drive, and on the south and east sides of Bremer Drive.

-- Three ordinances, on final reading, to establish a bus loading zone on the south side of Fireside Drive, east of Frontier Road; establish a loading zone on the south side of 10th Street, east of Kentucky Street; and install stop signs on Whitmore Drive, Cranly Street, Mayfair Drive and Kensington Road at 27th Street.

-- Spending up to $500,000 to fix the hole discovered June 3 at under the pavement near the intersection of North Second and Locust streets in North Lawrence. The city already had approved spending up to $102,000 for repairs. A broken storm sewer pipe created the hole under North Second.

-- Setting public hearings Oct. 12 to declare two properties structurally blighted: 222 N. Eighth and 817 Walnut.

-- Paying M.J. Harden Associates Inc./GeoAdvantage up to $35,072 for a strategic plan for a Geo information system.

-- The final plat of Oread West No. 5, a research industrial subdivision containing six lots and 23.5 acres. The property is on the west side of Wakarusa Drive, south of West 15th Street.

-- The final plat of the Stratford Addition, a residential subdivision containing two lots and about half an acre. The property is on the south side of Stratford Road, about 500 feet east of Iowa Street.

-- The final plat of the California Addition, an intended medium-density multifamily use subdivision containing .69 of an acre. The property is south of Fifth Street, on the west side of California Street.

-- The final plat of Pinnacle West No. 8, a residential subdivision containing 61 lots and 21 acres. The property is west of Eldridge Street, north and south of Harvard Road, were it extended.

-- The final plat of Alvamar Golfcart Garage Addition, a plat containing 3.2 acres. The property is at the north end of Crossgate Road.

-- The final plat for the Graves Addition, a residential subdivision containing four lots and about 1 acre, with one of the four lots being 4.5 feet narrower than planning restrictions normally allow. The property is on the south side of Hickory Street, between North Seventh and North Eighth streets in North Lawrence.

-- Site plans for: additional parking between Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W. 13th, and the Barber, Emerson, Springer, Zinn & Murray law office, at Massachusetts Street and South Park; Plaza IV Townhomes, in the Auto Plaza subdivision; California Street Apartments, 547 Calif.; and a medical office building planned for the northwest corner of 24th Street and Kasold Drive.

Commissioners removed the following items from the consent for further discussion:

-- A charter ordinance, on final reading, to give commissioners a framework for paying for a storm sewer master plan and a portion of a Kansas River pump station in North Lawrence, with the help of the Kaw Valley drainage district and Douglas County.

-- The use of the breezeway/arcade in the 700 block of Massachusetts Street for a community mural to be completed by Oct. 3, in association with the Harvest of Arts festival. Commissioners unanimously approved the site for the 14-by-43-foot mural contingent on: clarifying who owns and maintains the wall, and seeing that the project is reviewed for historical impact. Mayor John Nalbandian started off the discussion with a question for artist Dave Loewenstein: "This mural looks a little odd ... could you help us understand it a little bit?" Loewenstein said the painted mural represents three phases of Lawrence's art scene: dance, music and plastic. The mural is expected to last 15 years.

On the regular agenda, commissioners:

-- Modified a site plan for a new parking lot for Lawrence Memorial Hospital, to be built north of Fourth Street between Arkansas and Missouri streets. Commissioners agreed with Joe Hewitt, president of the Pinckney Neighborhood Assn., that the lot's southern access onto Fourth should be relocated to Arkansas Street. The vote was 4-1, with Commissioner Bob Schulte voting against moving the entrance/exit. Commissioners also agreed, unanimously, to request site plans of a medical office building, and to send a letter to the Douglas County Commission and Lawrence School Board about the possibility of requiring site plan review for projects initiated by governmental bodies.

In other business, commissioners:

-- Heard from Nalbandian, who denounced the weekend vandalism -- including spray painted swastikas and German words -- on the Jewish Community Center, 917 Highland. "We will not tolerate such acts of hate in our community," he said. "We also are troubled by reports of increased tension in our schools," he said, and commissioners will meet with school representatives to find ways to alleviate discrimination-based conflicts.

-- Decided to allow the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission to determine which rezoning applications could "significantly alter" land-use in an area bordered by Louisiana Street and Kasold Drive, and 31st Street and the South Lawrence Trafficway. The city commission two weeks ago asked the planning commission to defer all new rezoning requests in the area until after a Southern Development Plan is completed, which would take up to six months.

-- Scheduled a study session for 4 p.m. Sept. 29 to receive a status report on cross-connection control issues in Lawrence and the state. Earlier this year, commissioners passed an ordinance requiring connections into the city's water supply to be protected by above-ground backflow devices. The devices prevent possible contamination -- such as from dog urine or lawn chemicals -- from passing through lawn sprinklers and back into the water supply. Sprinkler contractors have objected to the requirement, saying other, below-ground devices are more effective.

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