Archive for Sunday, February 12, 2006

Get a grip

February 12, 2006


To the editor:

Are the city's priorities headed in the right direction?

Proposals have surfaced to provide Lawrence with a multifaceted sports complex, an annual festival at the future Sesquicentennial park, a $4 million-plus homeless facility, a new library, the purchase of farmlands, enhanced annexation and increased parks and recreation space at the Carnegie building.

We just learned that almost one-third of our streets require complete replacement, not to mention sidewalks and curbs that require attention or the streets in need of repair. We have additional needs:

¢ $41 million in North Lawrence;

¢ $75 million wastewater treatment facility that requires our fullest attention;

¢ adequate numbers of emergency service personnel;

¢ and city services that require substantial annual budget increases to get service levels to the city's need at fiscal year 2000. What would it take to bring our services up to 2006?

Where is this money going to come from? Loans we have to pay back? We already support fiscally draining enterprises like the T and Eagle Bend.

We don't need more right now. Lawrence is the guy who wants the new flat-screen TV before the Super Bowl, only to deliver it to a house falling down around him because he didn't maintain what he already had.

So much for affordable living in Lawrence. Taxpayers had better get a grip on their wallets. The only way to pay for it all is a major tax increase. Before the city leaps to the next new thing, we should require it to maintain what it already has.

Ken Meyer,



Richard Heckler 12 years, 3 months ago

When is the commission going to be the boss?

Why don't we don't plan space for schools or fire stations?

We have 12,000 people commuting for employment so who is bringing the high paying jobs to town in order for the majority to work here? This to me is far more important than the NW sewer situation.

There is more to economic growth than building houses and fancy strip malls. Thus far that is where so many eggs have been placed and property taxes have increased rapidly.

Light industry can be white collar and skilled blue collar.

In addition to light industry Douglas County/Lawrence could build on the education industry as well. Why not participate in training and educating the skilled work force? Maybe a community college/Vo-Tech which at the moment involves a fair amount of commuters.

There are a fair number of working traffic lights that get replaced in Lawrence such as what happened at 6th and Kentucky very recently. Smart Traffic lights are on the table for discussion. I would rather place flashing beacons at every school zone before Smart Traffic Signals or any other working traffic signals are replaced with new.

About the NW sewer situation. There is an enormous amount of pressure placed on city staff and commissioners to approve new housing developments. The pressure must seem like it is in perpetual motion. At best city officials can only estimate what space is left in a sewer system. In an effort to be more friendly to development perhaps an honest mistake occurred?

If the local development community were patient smart planning could take place which is practical and frugal. This would be better for our tax dollars. As it appears Lawrence is built according to when developers show up with a site plan to be approved. This is not planning...this is reacting.

So far as the new sewer treatment plant is concerned do not rush. Make practical and frugal decisions. We should encourage and stand by those commissoners who desire this course of action. We're talking big bucks.

Yes some Lawrence streets may need attention however again the sky is not falling. At this point in time high paying jobs would be top priority on my list of things that would improve Lawrence economic growth and it's quality of life.

Also I would place a new library over a sports complex if those were the choices

shanefivedyes 12 years, 3 months ago

What ever happened to growth supposedly paying for itself ?

Kelly Powell 12 years, 3 months ago

Merril, you are spot on about a vo-tech in this town...Maybe, just maybe if you got some people into vo-tech, they would want to go on to k.u... thus easing the townie/student rivalry.....Plus I would like a chance at learning a new skill without spending 300 a month on gas to do so. Maybe it is time for this town to elect a mayor, who would have some real power to make decisions instead of our current commision....."Death by committee" isn't just a made up phrase.

Richard Heckler 12 years, 3 months ago

What ever happened to growth supposedly paying for itself?

The housing industry makes money for itself but does not create enough tax revenue per property. That's where Light Industrial comes in with higher property taxes and higher paying salaries. New housing is easy as all that is necessary is approval of two local commissions and things are moving. Investors make more money on housing per acre than they do on light industrial contruction of larger capacity.

Tracking down high paying jobs will require far more effort and very little is said on this matter at any level. Who's in charge of good paying light industrial??

bearded_gnome 12 years, 3 months ago

Wow, Ken, take this letter and reprint it poster-sized and put up several dozen around town!!!!!

right on!

you know, the nearly 1/3 streets broken, I believe the city leadership has that as "passive traffic calming devices."

yes, priorities are seriously messed up!

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