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Archive for Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Commission briefs

October 20, 2004

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City recognizes Godzilla's birthday

As expected, Mayor Mike Rundle designated the week of Oct. 24 as "Godzilla Week" in Lawrence.

"(I) urge all citizens to bow down and heed the king of monsters," Rundle said at the conclusion of his proclamation Tuesday night.

The designation accompanies an Oct. 28-30 conference at Kansas University, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the first Godzilla movie. The conference will draw scholars from Japan, Hong Kong and England.

"He's going to be in a good mood," said Bill Tsutsui, of KU's Center for East Asian Studies, "because we are celebrating his birthday."

Property tax rate estimate lowered

City Hall's property tax rate in 2005 will be slightly lower than expected -- about $2 less for a typical homeowner.

City Manager Mike Wildgen said that new calculations of property values in Douglas County showed the city could tax individual properties at a 27.859 mill rate, down from the expected 27.882 mills for 2005.

That's also a drop from the 28.065 mill rate for 2004.

A mill is $1 in tax for every $1,000 of assessed valuation.

But valuation is rising by 6.4 percent, officials say. That means a $150,000 home now will be valued at nearly $160,000 for tax purposes. Factoring in the rate decrease and valuation increase, that homeowner would see the tax bill increase to $511 from $484. Under the old tax rate for 2005, that bill would have been $513.

City advancing plans for new fire station

The Lawrence City Commission moved a step closer to building a new fire station Tuesday night, approving a site plan for a planned station at the southwest corner of 19th Street and Stewart Avenue, on land leased from the Kansas University Endowment Association at $1 a year.

In addition to administrative offices, firefighter dormitories and a community room, the $5 million fire station also will house four emergency vehicles in the equipment bay: an ambulance, pumper truck, ladder truck and the Hazmat (Hazardous Materials) truck. Construction of Fire Station No. 5 will improve public safety for all residents of Lawrence as well as for KU, which surrounds the proposed fire station, officials say.

The last time a fire station was added in the city was 1982.

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