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Archive for Wednesday, February 11, 1998

COMMITTEE FORMED FOR ALCOHOL TAXES

February 11, 1998

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A new committee will help Lawrence city commissioners who get some of the estimated $330,000 intended to help fight alcohol and drug problems in town.

Commissioners unanimously agreed to form a new Drug and Alcohol Review Committee. The committee would have five members with no ties to groups requesting use of the money, which comes from taxes assessed on sales of alcohol.

The committee would be advisory to the commission, which has ultimate responsibility for seeing that the money is spent properly. Commissioners rejected a suggestion that would have asked United Way officials to consider reviewing the applications on behalf of the city.

``We need to keep it separate,'' Commissioner Bob Moody said.

Commissioners also endorsed a list of eight criteria to be used during the committee's deliberations. Among the criteria: Programs should encourage collaboration and avoid duplication and fragmentation of services; and should address not only individuals but also their families.

Mayor Bonnie Augustine said anyone interested in serving on the new committee should send a letter of interest to the commission, in care of the city manager's office at city hall. The address is P.O. Box 708, Lawrence 66044.

New signals on tap

for 14th and Mass.

Another Massachusetts Street intersection is about to get new traffic signals.

Commissioners approved an agreement with the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) to allow for the installation of new traffic signals and application of new pavement markings at the intersection of 14th and Massachusetts streets.

KDOT would pay 90 percent of the project's construction costs, while city taxpayers would pay for 10 percent of construction, plus all of design and engineering work.

The project is intended to improve safety at the intersection, similar to a project finished last year at the intersection of 23rd and Massachusetts streets. That project, however, included widening streets to make way for new turn lanes.

The project at 14th and Massachusetts will create turn lanes without widening any streets.

City recycling programs

post record numbers

The successes of the city's recycling programs during the past year gave commissioners a chance to focus on other burning questions Tuesday night.

Commissioners listened as Bob Yoos, the city's solid waste manager, reviewed his annual report of the city's recycling activities: a state-best 29-percent recycling rate, with 8,730 tons collected by city crews and more growth on the horizon.

But commissioners wanted more information. Among their questions (and Yoos' responses):

  • Are the programs cost effective? (Yes.)
  • What happens to all the compost generated from the 7,667 tons of yard waste collected? (It goes in city parks, around city buildings and atop the city's old landfill in Riverfront Park.)
  • Who uses all the latex paint collected at the Household Hazardous Waste building? (Mostly non-profit groups, such as churches.)

Commissioner Erv Hodges went off the board, and asked Yoos about the city's sanitation efforts -- also known as trash collection.

``The city is awfully trashy right now,'' Hodges said. ``There's trash everywhere.''

Yoos, who manages the city's trash collection services, said crews spent Friday cleaning every alley in town, picking up litter, tires, appliances and other debris. Crews also plan to work throughout the year with neighborhood associations interested in conducting neighborhood cleanups.

Golf course annexation

wins city approval

The city soon will grow enough for four years in a single day.

Commissioners agreed to annex 1,129 acres of federal land near Clinton Lake, property the city currently leases from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for recreational purposes. The property includes the Youth Sports Inc. complex, the city's Clinton Lake Softball Complex and the new Eagle Bend Golf Course, which is expected to open sometime this year.

When the annexation becomes official -- commissioners still must approve the authorizing ordinance again next week -- the land grab will expand the city by nearly 7 percent, or nearly 2 square miles.

The city grows by an average of 300 acres a year. Officials acknowledge that the annexation would be the single largest in the city's history.

Annexing the property means extending city services to the area. The city will be authorized to respond to emergencies in the area with police and fire equipment, as well as collect city sales taxes from concessions sold in the area.

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