Archive for Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Study: Cost to expand city exceeds present revenue

March 6, 2007

Advertisement

It will cost the city tens of millions of dollars to expand the community into new areas, according to a study commissioned by City Hall.

For example, want new homes and businesses west of the South Lawrence Trafficway? It will cost city taxpayers an additional $94.4 million in taxes and fees over 20 years. The city expenses - which are over and above the taxes the development would generate - would pay for roads, police and fire protection, parks and other amenities.

The $150,000 study by the Maryland-based consulting firm of TischlerBise states the city needs to strongly consider creating new revenue streams - such as impact fees, one-time fees placed on a development to pay for its infrastructure.

The study also looked at the cost for the city to expand into three other areas. The study found that:

¢ Industrial development near the Lawrence airport would cost the city $19.3 million more in expenses during a 20-year period than it would collect in new taxes or fees.

¢ A mix of offices, commercial space and about 13,000 homes south of the Wakarusa River would create a net deficit of about $84.9 million to the city during a 20-year period.

¢ Development of the area southeast of 23rd Street and O'Connell Drive would create a deficit of $55 million over 20 years, if it was largely developed with residential uses. If the area was developed with more industrial and office park uses, the deficit would drop to $36.9 million during the 20-year period.

The study is sure to spark disagreement in the community, City Manager David Corliss said.

"The study is based on assumptions and methodology that the firm uses nationwide," Corliss said. "But there will be very good people who have done a lot for this community that will fundamentally disagree with the assumptions that this firm uses."

Mayor Mike Amyx said the report creates more questions than answers. That's in part because a previous report released in March 2006 by TischlerBise indicated that growth was doing a reasonable job of paying for itself, Amyx said.

That 2006 study found that five out of the six categories of nonresidential growth - such as retail stores and manufacturing plants - paid more in taxes than the city spent to provide them service. The previous study also found that two of the four residential categories came very close to breaking even. Duplexes produced a net deficit of $9 per unit, while traditional single-family homes produced a deficit of $26. Apartments were the biggest deficit generator at $341 per unit.

City leaders said they wanted to hear an explanation from lead consultant Carson Bise on how to interpret the results of the two studies. Bise was unavailable Monday.

City leaders also said they wanted an explanation on why the report did not address the benefits of more retail development in the community. The previous report showed that big box retail development produced a surplus of $2,700 in taxes for every 1,000 square feet of big box retail space in the city. Yet, when the second report listed recommendations for types of development the city should encourage, it did not list retail development. The issue of whether to allow new retail development has become a contentious political issue on the commission in the last several months.

Commissioners will receive the report as part of their consent agenda at their 6:35 p.m. meeting today at City Hall, Sixth and Massachusetts streets.

Comments

hipper_than_hip 8 years, 5 months ago

Build more single family homes and less apartments.

LogicMan 8 years, 5 months ago

Sounds like going south is out of the question. Go west, not-so-young men! At least up to the SLT; across later.

cowboy 8 years, 5 months ago

Which of the latest group of mercenaries should we believe ? Politics aside for a minute , we have all these highly compensated administrators , a group of commissions who all believe they are experts , and have we heard one , even one , proposal to cut city costs or provide more efficient services to the public. The only thing we hear is " I want " ideas.

Its time for these amateurs to step up to the plate , make the necessary cuts in frill items , and take care of the city's business. In an obvious time of fiscal downturn they should be working on short and long term budget priorities and cutting all frills out .

If this were a business , all non essential expense would be halted and each department would be expected to bring some efficiency to the table , if you can't then you're gone.

This debate over housing cost is absolute BS. If Corliss cannot look at his financial history and give Lawrence an honest answer at how we have performed on growth costs then he is not capable of doing his job and or his minions are incompetent.

This all tells me that the city managers do not want to know the answers or are ignoring their own data. There is no reason the public should be manipulated with all the hocus pocus studies. Step up , give a clean analysis , validate the conclusions and lets take the information and move on whatever the results. Do not waste another penny on consultants.

Godot 8 years, 5 months ago

Why in the world did the study not include new retail? What is up with that? New residential growth has to have accompanying retail! This report is based on skewed assumptions (skewed toward the desired result). What a waste of time and money.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 5 months ago

"the Pot Smoker and his two stooges"

I still want to know who you are referring to.

lunacydetector 8 years, 5 months ago

it's time to elect some normal people.

please God, please help the normal people running for office WIN!!!! a big Amen.

lunacydetector 8 years, 5 months ago

did someone mention pot? i only saw something brown contained in aluminum foil....just not sure what it was, just knew it was time to leave the party, but that was years ago.

Lifelong_Lawrencian 8 years, 5 months ago

I smell a rat. This study is over 1 year late coming out. What are the odds that it would materialize right now after the incumbents take it on the chin in the primary? Also, what is the margin of error on their study?

"A mix of offices, commercial space and about 13,000 homes south of the Wakarusa River would create a net deficit of about $84.9 million to the city during a 20-year period."

This is their worst losing scenario. The cost of this amount of development over 20 years is easily in the $10's of billions (not accounting for inflation). The city's projected loss is less than 1%. That's assuming a pretty accurate analysis.

Here is the link to the study:

http://www.lawrenceks.org/web_based_agendas/03-06-07/03-06-07h/cmo_tischlerbise_cost_growth_study_final_draft.pdf

I suggest everyone read it carefully.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 5 months ago

"The city's projected loss is less than 1%. That's assuming a pretty accurate analysis."

Regardless of the size of the loss, why should the city lose anything in order to subsidize this? Why no have those who are profiting from this growth pay their own way rather than stick it to the existing taxpayers of Lawrence?

Lifelong_Lawrencian 8 years, 5 months ago

Logarithmic,

I was in Houston during this period. You're right, the oil went bust and South Houston was a ghost town over night. Not anymore. It is now one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S. (some years #1).

GreatHornedOwl 8 years, 5 months ago

Logrithmic, You are posting an average of three times a day. Most of it criticizing other people and opinions. Not a whole lot of substance, just a lot of propaganda and inflammatory words. You think you know everything, so why do you not run for office? Words like bootlickers, smear, whitewash, illegal; boom and bust are all emotional propaganda. YOU are the paid propagandist for the left. BTW, Houston has no ZONING. A perfect example of how not to build a city. A perfect example for a Propagandist. Keep up the good work, while the rest of us keep you in perspective while trying to find the truth.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 5 months ago

And who is paying for the growth, LL? Do you know? Does anybody in Houston really know?

I downloaded the study, and it's a quite comprehensive 43 pages. If you want to poo-poo it, fine, but read it first, and have well-reasoned criticisms if you don't want to prove yourself a vacuous knee-jerk.

50YearResident 8 years, 5 months ago

$150,000 for this "STUDY" and now I see the same company did another report in 2006. I wonder what the cost was on that one. $250,000 already paid in the plan we read about in last months paper by yet another company. Is there no end to to the cash available for "studys and reports? There must be a better way to run a city. Over $500,000 for nothing but outside opinions!!!!!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 5 months ago

"BTW, Houston has no ZONING. A perfect example of how not to build a city. A perfect example for a Propagandist."

A good number of the posters on this forum think that that's the way Lawrence should be.

So, should growth pay for itself, GreatHornedOwl?

conservative 8 years, 5 months ago

I wonder if one of the assumptions on the cost of growth was the new library? Maybe if this city didn't spend money like it was going out of style on wants instead of needs we wouldn't see this type of report.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 5 months ago

"I wonder if one of the assumptions on the cost of growth was the new library?"

If it doesn't, then it means that a greatly expanded population will be trying to use an already inadequate facilty, meaning that even if costs don't go up for existing residents, their quality of life will be reduced.

If an expanding population doesn't come with expanded city services, it means the quality of life for present residents will suffer.

GreatHornedOwl 8 years, 5 months ago

JABOTB,

I was not talking to you in my post, unless you are both LOG and JABOTB. Are you both? I have not seen anyone say there should be no zoning. Please show me the post.

JohnBrown 8 years, 5 months ago

Successful people who work in the free market will conduct a Due Dilligence before investing, and part of that will inclide an ROI (return on investment).

The current commissioners did that, something no previous commission, the majorities of which all claimed to embrace "free markets", agreed to do, even when asked.

The question is no longer "do we grow or not?", the question is, HOW do we grow with the best ROI?

I think that IS progress.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 5 months ago

"I was not talking to you in my post, unless you are both LOG and JABOTB. Are you both?"

Little secret-- when you post on a forum like this, you are talking to everybody who reads it. There's a private email option if you want to talk only to LOG-- just click on his name.

"I have not seen anyone say there should be no zoning."

No, they just bitch and moan any time zoning is actually enforced.

Lifelong_Lawrencian 8 years, 5 months ago

"No, they just bitch and moan any time zoning is actually enforced."

Like the Walmart debacle?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 5 months ago

"Like the Walmart debacle?"

Exactly-- zoning was violated to allow it in the first place. Attempting to enforce it got a lawsuit from the richest company in the world and some of the richest developers in town, which is some pretty heavy-handed bitching and moaning.

Jamesaust 8 years, 5 months ago

Well, we already know from their last study that an ideal high revenue/low services city is one comprised of shopping centers and giant stand-alone stores with few if any people. In other words, incorporate a city on the edge of Lawrence, build a shopping mall and an office park, and the tax revenue will roll in, all while this new "city" doesn't have to spend any money on people. What sort of bizarre study was that?

I'm not sure this one is much better. I've actually READ their study and there seems to be one thing that's a bit strange. They claim that various options for expansion all show net losses to the City coffers. These losses accelerate toward the end of their 20 year time horizon. The study is quite clear why this is: the compounding nature of debt service for having borrowed the money for the expansion.

Yet, elsewhere, the study comes clean in its assumptions that it assumes that the rate of inflation over this period is ... ZERO. Now, they give several reasons why its 'cleaner' to assume this but that doesn't change the obvious result that the study's assumptions are flawed. Its flawed because on the cost-side inflation, via debt interest, is factored in, while on the revenue side, inflation is factored out. In other words, extending the study beyond its 20 years to say, maybe, 50 years, the City of Lawrence would be bankrupt -- on paper ... and so would ANY scenario set up in this manner.

I only find two general items in this study useful: 1. Support for the same-old concern that the Chamber of Commerce - despite Mr. Dever's unsupported claims elsewhere today - is NOT bringing in adequate job and revenue generating businesses.

  1. The existing cost of some services, especially the massive amount of monies targeted to the Library Fund, do not allow for more expensive programs for a new library, a 'rec' center, or traffic circles.

Finally, one key item missing from this study is the secondary revenue aspect of development - revenue that generates to the City from existing businesses that benefit from development. This study is only concerned about checks written by someone "new" and payable to "City." If money flows through an intermediary's hands, it isn't recognized. This is a significant factor in bringing revenue/costs in line.

GreatHornedOwl 8 years, 5 months ago

JABOTB and LOG, Thanks for the clarification and responses. I now understand the relationship. But, I know LOTS of people with Multiple IDs on message boards. Not a far fetched concept. Black White, Left Right, Grow no Growth, all polar opposites. NOTHING is that easy in life. Using hyperbole to get your point across to compensate for the lack of representation is a mistake. Moderation is the key to a healthy life and planet. If spew is all you are going to do, I will ignore the both of you. (Dr Seuss homage). Back to work.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 5 months ago

James--

Good points for discussion, but service on debt is not the same thing as inflation. Sure, the city's revenues will increase over time, due to inflation, but so will its expenses-- that's why they didn't account for inflation. So while inflation does tend to lower the "cost" of any debt over time, the question is how much, and was it adequately accounted for in this report. And in the first few years of that debt, inflation won't be the friend of the taxpayer.

"In other words, extending the study beyond its 20 years to say, maybe, 50 years,"

Perhaps the assumption is that the costs of expansion will be largely paid for in 20 years. It deserves clarification.

"Finally, one key item missing from this study is the secondary revenue aspect of development - revenue that generates to the City from existing businesses that benefit from development. "

Exactly where does this money come from? Is it property taxes? And what else does that money have to pay for? Will any or all of it help recoup the cost of expanding city services and infrastructure, or will all or most of it be required to pay for the operation and maintenance of these things?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 5 months ago

"Finally, one key item missing from this study is the secondary revenue aspect of development - revenue that generates to the City from existing businesses that benefit from development."

And isn't this what they call trickle-down economics?

Lifelong_Lawrencian 8 years, 5 months ago

James and Bozo make some great points. In reference to James post:

  1. The existing cost of some services, especially the massive amount of monies targeted to the Library Fund, do not allow for more expensive programs for a new library, a 'rec' center, or traffic circles.

I assume you are referring to the "Snapshot" methodology used in the study that extrapolates the city's 2007 Budget. Is this what they use to project the next 20 years of maintenance and infrastructure replacement costs? I think everyone would agree that the city's infrastructure has been let go for some time and that we are currently spending/budgeting a lot of money to fix it.

Jamesaust 8 years, 5 months ago

Bozo - I don't think you're getting my full point.

First, debt service is comprised of two parts: (a) the principal borrowed, and (b) the interest. Most, although not all, of the interest charge is the investors' expectation of inflation. So, yes, debt service costs incorporate inflation.

Second, inversely, no, inflation does not lower the cost of debt service absent a large and unexpected increase in inflation during the period. It would be quite the foolish investor who lent money with a below-inflation return. While that turns out so for some investments (risky equities, e.g.), this is rarely so for bonds (municipal bonds), which have two risks: (a) default - rare, and (b) unanticipated inflation risk. Bonds INCLUDE a calculation for inflation over the period.

Third, while revenues and expenses can both be affected by inflation, they are not affected identically or by the same mechanism. Inflation, except where it exists by its proxy, interest, or as a statistic, is not a single item but a sum of single items. In other words, the City's cost for health costs might be increasing 7% a year while its cost for vehicle fuel might decline (compared with rates last year). Sales tax revenues will be influenced by inflation but property tax revenues will only indirectly.

Fourth, I assume the 20 year time horizon is based on the repayment period of the debt, municipal bonds. But my point remains the same regardless of the time period - of course comparining one set of prices that include an inflation component and one set that does not will show a widening gap over time. Imagine comparing the price of an orange and a apple over the last 100 years, except orange prices are current market costs, which include inflation, but apple costs are assumed to be constant 1907 prices. One would see an ever-growing gap.

This brings up another point: while the debt for development must be retired over 20 years, the benefits/costs extend indefinately. What has the benefit/cost ratio been for building Old West Lawrence? I'd stake my life on the conclusion that the benefit in the last century and some has been considerably higher than the 20 year development cost.

Lifelong_Lawrencian 8 years, 5 months ago

Okay James, I'll admit that most of that was over my head, but your last paragraph is interesting.

"This brings up another point: while the debt for development must be retired over 20 years, the benefits/costs extend indefinately. What has the benefit/cost ratio been for building Old West Lawrence? I'd stake my life on the conclusion that the benefit in the last century and some has been considerably higher than the 20 year development cost."

Let's not forget the lifetime of many of the infrastructure items. Streets may only last 20-30 years but waterlines and sewers last over 100, while all the time facilitating a steady stream revenue. This also excludes the fact that today's sewers are built much better than the one they are replacing downtown. They also transport less sewage due to mandated 1.6 gal. toilets in new construction.

Soon all the sewers will have to be replaced downtown, so ends its useful life. Put in new sewers and the cycle starts over, but with a greatly reduced tax base unless renewal takes place. However, this will be offset but the inordinately high income from franchise fees, since these homes waste so much energy.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 5 months ago

"Bozo - I don't think you're getting my full point."

I understood your point-- and that's why I said that inflation does decrease the "cost" of any debt over time.

But that's really only of interest to the bondholders who are actually hoping that they get a return on their investment above and beyond inflation. In other words, of the $150 million taxpayer subsidy to growth projected by this study, $80 million pays for actual return on investment to bondholders, and $70 million just covers inflation on that debt, but that's $70 million that taxpayers won't have to cover the inflation on any other expenses they may have, and those expenses won't just magically disappear because some shiny new neighborhoods appear on the outskirts of town.

While I'm glad that Old West Lawrence is there, it's been there way longer than I've been alive, and one of the oldest neighborhoods in town. I'm just guessing that the costs of development there were paid almost exclusively by those who built and/or bought the houses.

While the residents of these prospective neighborhoods might invite someone from an older neighborhood over for dinner occasionally, I'm not clear what benefit you think the older residential areas get from the construction of new ones.

Look at it this way-- if someone gets a new car, but I get sent the bills for the car loan, however much I pay out is an amount I can't spend somewhere else. The fact that inflation is factored into the size of those payments is really irrelevant, since I never get to drive the car.

Godot 8 years, 5 months ago

"If an expanding population doesn't come with expanded city services, it means the quality of life for present residents will suffer.

Hmmmm. wouldn't that hold true for expanded retail, as well?

Mkh 8 years, 5 months ago

Looks like the Pro-Growth crowd has got some explaning to do with this one. For too long they have ignored the Heavy tax burden that the people must endure for their "growth", which may I remind you has not brought many "middle-class" jobs to area. Sorry but building more box stores will not provide appropriate wages to support a family in Lawrence.

Apparently the view from the back of the Pro-Growth Bandwagon has been a bit distorted.

Mkh 8 years, 5 months ago

James,

You've raised some interesting questions here. But like Bozo, i'm not following your Old West Lawrence example, not sure that is applicable here. Totally different circumstances, different costs, etc.

But even still, do you want to carry the enourmous tax burden for the twenty years so people in a hundred can be magically reaping profits (assuming that would even happen, which is a big IF)?

Plus, we have to ask the question, can the city of Lawrence handle going into that much debt and still be able to handle unforseen expenses. As we grow out from the city do not forget the massive expenses it will take to keep the Old City alive.

Jamesaust 8 years, 5 months ago

"-- and that's why I said that inflation does decrease the "cost" of any debt over time."

So, if inflation is 3% and thus $1.00 today is worth $0.97 a year from now but you repay a debt that comes due a year from now of $1.00 x 104% (4% interest), or $1.04, by using your $0.97 plus your $0.04 in interest, how has the cost of the debt decreased? What was $1.00 in year one is now $1.01 in year two, adjusting for inflation.

"I'm not clear what benefit you think the older residential areas get from the construction of new ones."

Well, there's the constructing of the new ones. There's the additional business of the new ones. Who do you think supplies these new areas? Who sells them food? cars? What does, say, Francis Sporting Goods or Amyx's barbershop do when they have a 25% increase in business resulting from a 25% increase in population? Or new business that arises in competition to these places whose client base are the homes/business of new development? Are all these development moguls supposed to be hiding their loot under their beds? They don't invest in the community? Hire new workers? Spend more on everything from lawn care to diamond rings, much of it right here in town?

If I, living in Old West Lawrence, am hired as an additional salesman at, say, Laird Noller to handle the extra volume of sales from a larger Lawrence, I'd say that I, and probably everyone else in Old West Lawrence, am benefiting considerably from this development IN ADDITION to perhaps spending more, thus generating more sales tax revenue, and maybe upgrading my home, increasing its value and thus increasing the City's property tax take - all resulting from the additional economic activity caused by development (but unrecorded by this study).

Mkh 8 years, 5 months ago

James,

Thanks for explaining that, I have a few question from with in your post, but first I was wondering where you think all of these new residents will work? Because that question is really the Ace of the hand don't you think?

That will really tell us who will benefit from these new residents. If they are as spend happy as you claim they will be, seems to me they better have a better job than working at Home Depot.

The problem with affluent new residents is that they have to work in KC (sometimes Topeka) to be able to afford their affluent lifestyle which you say we will all benefit from. The issue of high paying jobs seems to always get swept under the rug by the Developers (who certainly do not pay their employees very well).

"Are all these development moguls supposed to be hiding their loot under their beds? They don't invest in the community?"

I can tell you for a fact that most do not...Johnson County is where a lot of the "loot" goes. The same can be said for most wealthy families here. That is just the nature of the Free Market, the consumers with the most money can afford to go and get the best merchandise--and I'm sorry but Francis Sporting Goods (chuckle) will lose out to Galians and the super chain stores anyday of the week and twice on Sunday.

Don Zimmer 8 years, 5 months ago

Why do they keep referring to some posters as "paid bloggers" and what does that mean?

Do I understand this article right in that both studies were done bythe same consultants and they had opposite conclusions? What is going on here?

Election Time???????? the consultants asured themselves that they will be hired again no matter which position wins the election.

Jamesaust 8 years, 5 months ago

"where you think all of these new residents will work?"

I believe the better question is: where will all those who sell goods and services to these new residents work? ummm...mostly Lawrence.

Let's also be clear: we're talking about non-residential development as well. But God help anyone who would dare to propose a new manufacturing plant in Lawrence. (I can hear it now - greedy corporations, loss of precious farmland, tax abatements, and on and on.)

Mkh 8 years, 5 months ago

" believe the better question is: where will all those who sell goods and services to these new residents work? ummm...mostly Lawrence."

What are you basing this assumption on? Let's say for instance that the SLT goes through and developement on the South of Wakarusa occurs in full force, the same type of developement we have on the West end currently.

Do you honestly believe those residents will be heading into downtown Lawrence for their goods, or heading to JO county on the sparkling new savior the SLT?

The folks on the WEST end of town already drive all the way around Lawrence to shop in KC, what on Earth makes you assume that new residents on the South or East side won't (including the many of them who already will be working in KC)?

Mkh 8 years, 5 months ago

"Let's also be clear: we're talking about non-residential development as well. But God help anyone who would dare to propose a new manufacturing plant in Lawrence. (I can hear it now - greedy corporations, loss of precious farmland, tax abatements, and on and on.)"

Your right we are, but my fear is that the non-residential means more Box Stores, aka "Retail" that do not provide high wages for workers.

The problem with a new manufacturing plant is once again, that is not a High Wage Job! The Real Estate in this town is vastly over inflated (guess who's fault that is), which means in order for quality of life to be maintained we have to have our residents working higher paying jobs--- especially when considering the millions of added taxes that are being proposed, and adding more Box store and manufacturing jobs will not accomplish that and lead to Disaster.

Mkh 8 years, 5 months ago

Godot: "Lawrence needs new retail that attracts dollars from the far end of the earth (that is an exaggeration, but worth consideration) with its attendant sales tax, to support the lifestyle Lawrencians want."


Please tell me this is not THE PLAN...please tell me you don't have not pinned your hopes for this community on this.

I'm not saying that we shouldn't attract Some retail...but if your going to bet all your chips on "retail", KC and Topeka will eat you for lunch.

Lawrence will never be able to compete with the super retail centers of KC...Never.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 5 months ago

"So, if inflation is 3% and thus $1.00 today is worth $0.97 a year from now but you repay a debt that comes due a year from now of $1.00 x 104% (4% interest), or $1.04, by using your $0.97 plus your $0.04 in interest, how has the cost of the debt decreased? What was $1.00 in year one is now $1.01 in year two, adjusting for inflation."

Yes, that is sort of true if inflation only works one way. While many items go up in price due to inflation, most debts do not go up due to inflation. Although your debt does rise by the amount of interest applied to the principle, that is usually a fixed interest rate. So if your debt is a dollar, with a 4% interest rate, then when the payment is due, you owe $1.04. But if inflation is 10%, and your income went up accordingly, then you have $1.10 to pay make that payment. You have 6 cents left over, although obviously those 6 cents are only worth 5.4 cents of the previous year's dollars.

So unless you have a variable rate loan based on the inflation rate, if the inflation rate goes up, repayment of your loan becomes marginally cheaper, assuming your income is keeping pace with inflation. Isn't this one reasons the Fed is so concerned about inflation?

With regards to the benefits you list from all this growth, that sort of assumes that no one will move into town wanting to take advantage of all of those new opportunities, doesn't it?

Amyx's barber shop has been there for a very long time. Are you trying to tell me that no new haircutters have come to town, and that Amyx (and all other long-time barber shops) is giving 50% more haircuts than he did 25 years ago? How about Francis Sporting goods? Are Wal-Mart and Target selling nothing to these new residents because they can't compete with Francis?

Granted, some businesses do quite well profiting from growth, but is that really worth the subsidies that older neighborhoods are required to pay for it, for no clear gain from it? Again, justifying undeserved profits or subsidies because it will get reinvested is just resorting to the theory of trickle-down economics.

Jamesaust 8 years, 5 months ago

"Do you honestly believe those residents will be heading into downtown Lawrence for their goods, or heading to JO county on the sparkling new savior the SLT?"

I don't know about 'downtown' Lawrence but when did economic activity within the city limits but not downtown become unimportant?

JoCo? If my hotwater heater breaks, I'm not calling someone in JoCo. If I want a pint of ice cream, I'm not buying it in JoCo. If I want someone to mow my lawn, ditto. Haircuts? Carpet? Pet grooming? Legal advice? I guess you can't make them prisoners and force them to buy Lawrence-only ... but I guess they usually will.

"Your right we are, but my fear is that the non-residential means more Box Stores, aka "Retail" that do not provide high wages for workers."

And yet these study people, in their first report last year, found retail to be THE MOST favorable type of development for the City, providing the maximum amount of taxes with the minimum amount of city costs. Hmmm......I guess Lawrence can't afford to cater to a Disneyland-like standard of perfect development - not unless the median household income in town quadruples.

Most of these concerns are legitimate but they are addressed by luring in wage paying, tax paying business, not by insisting that all costs be paid up-front, in advance (unless your goal really is 'anywhere but Lawrence').

drewdun 8 years, 5 months ago

I WANT EVERY SQUARE INCH OF DOUGLAS COUNTY TURNED INTO McMANSIONS.....NOW! IF THIS DOESN'T HAPPEN, THE SOCIALISTS HAVE WON!

I CAN ENVISION IT NOW - CLINTON LAKE WILL BE RINGED WITH MILLION DOLLAR HOMES, AND ACCESS WILL OF COURSE BE LIMITED TO LAKE RESIDENTS. WHAT FUN IT WILL BE FOR LITTLE TAYLOR, PRESTON, TYLER, TAYLOR, MADISON, AND TAYLOR TO PLAY THERE! AND WITHOUT THE GUTTERTRASH!

SOUTH OF THE SLT, WE CAN PUT 1/2 MILLION DOLLAR HOMES! LITTLE COLIN, HANNAH, MAX, JACK, AND TAYLOR CAN PLAY ON THE (CONCRETE) BANKS OF THE WAKARUSA! WHAT FUN!

IN THE SE, WE CAN PUT <$100K HOMES FOR THE less fortunate. LITTLE emilio, tyrone, kate, terry, AND tom CAN LEARN TO ROLLERBLADE IN THE CONCRETE JUNGLE!

EVERYONE'S A WINNER IN THE DOUGLAS COUNTY SPRAWL SWEEPSTAKES!

YAY, SPRAWL!

drewdun 8 years, 5 months ago

JOCO REDUX (CLAP, CLAP, CLAP CLAP CLAP) JOCO REDUX (CLAP, CLAP, CLAP CLAP CLAP) JOCO REDUX (CLAP, CLAP, CLAP CLAP CLAP) JOCO REDUX (CLAP, CLAP, CLAP CLAP CLAP) JOCO REDUX (CLAP, CLAP, CLAP CLAP CLAP) JOCO REDUX (CLAP, CLAP, CLAP CLAP CLAP) JOCO REDUX (CLAP, CLAP, CLAP CLAP CLAP) JOCO REDUX (CLAP, CLAP, CLAP CLAP CLAP) JOCO REDUX (CLAP, CLAP, CLAP CLAP CLAP) JOCO REDUX (CLAP, CLAP, CLAP CLAP CLAP)

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 5 months ago

"JoCo? If my hotwater heater breaks, I'm not calling someone in JoCo. If I want a pint of ice cream, I'm not buying it in JoCo. If I want someone to mow my lawn, ditto. Haircuts? Carpet? Pet grooming? Legal advice? I guess you can't make them prisoners and force them to buy Lawrence-only ... but I guess they usually will."

Yes, but if the population increases by, say 20%, it's much more likely that we will merely have 20% more barbers, 20% carpet stores, and so on down the line, than it is that every business and service in town will have a 20% increase in their volume of business. And while there will be an increase in the collection of sales and property taxes, those will go almost exclusively towards covering the higher costs of the city and school board in serving the needs of the expanded population. Which means that for most people, growth is at best neutral, and if they have to subisidize it through higher taxes, it's a net negative.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 5 months ago

"Most of these concerns are legitimate but they are addressed by luring in wage paying,"

Are minimum-wage jobs OK? Where do these people live? How do they get to work?

"tax paying business,"

All taxes, or should they get abatements, and what should the requirements be for qualifying?

"not by insisting that all costs be paid up-front, in advance (unless your goal really is 'anywhere but Lawrence')."

If they aren't paid up front, who should pay them? Should the builders and contractors who make the structures, build the roads and sewers, etc., finance it for them? Or should the city make the taxpayers do it?

Thats_messed_up 8 years, 5 months ago

From Lunacydetector:

"it's time to elect some normal people.

please God, please help the normal people running for office WIN!!!! a big Amen."

LOL That's what I've been praying for for months!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 5 months ago

How's that self-medication going, concrete? I hear that MD 20-20 is good stuff.

Thats_messed_up 8 years, 5 months ago

How in the hell is the new vegatarian market downtown going to be able to feed 13,000 new households of hungry vegatarians south of the Wakarusa river???????

George_Braziller 8 years, 5 months ago

Marion - When was the last time that you actually looked at the world when it wasn't viewed through the end of an amber bottle? You are a truly bitter and unhappy man who really needs to get a new hobby.

George

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 5 months ago

How big do we need to be? 100,000? 1,000,000? 20,000,000?

Is there such a thing as too big? Should the state just outlaw any city under, say, 500,000? We can just move all 2 1/2 million Kansans to KC/OP, Wichita, Topeka, Lawrence and Hays (gotta give something to the folks out west.)

Think of all of those illegal immigrants looking for a place to live. We could get them ALL to move here, because we're just too pitiful to make it on our own.

Jamesaust 8 years, 5 months ago

"but if the population increases by, say 20%, it's much more likely that we will merely have 20% more barbers, 20% carpet stores, and so on down the line, than it is that every business and service in town will have a 20% increase in their volume of business."

Is there a point to this statement?

"And while there will be an increase in the collection of sales and property taxes, those will go almost exclusively towards covering the higher costs of the city and school board in serving the needs of the expanded population"

So, you're not out anything.

"Which means that for most people, growth is at best neutral....."

So, where's the beef?

Sorry, Bozo, its a valiant effort. But you're not making progress here. You're determined that growth must be bad. I'm just uncertain how you pick what year of historic growth was the point that growth became bad. All those people fleeing a desiccated rural economy have to move somewhere.

Mkh 8 years, 5 months ago

"JoCo? If my hotwater heater breaks, I'm not calling someone in JoCo. If I want a pint of ice cream, I'm not buying it in JoCo. If I want someone to mow my lawn, ditto. Haircuts? Carpet? Pet grooming? Legal advice?"

James is this really the economic backbone of the community...barbers, carpet sellers, pet groomers, and land mowers? Is this how we judge the economic vitality of Lawrence?

If so this boat is sinking even faster than I anticipated...anyone want to buy my house? I've got to jump ship!

No offense to anyone who occupys those positions, but it's going to take a lot more than that to support the insane property rates and overall taxes this town endures.

I can't wait to come back to this town in twenty years and laugh myself silly.

I Do Not think all growth is bad...but this town has no idea how to maintain Smart Growth, the biggest problem is our ego, but that the same problem everyone has. I suspect that after April comes and the Developers have their Commission back things will return to the good 'ole boy system.

But I think it's great that so many of you have extreme optimism in regards to unbridled expansion of the city's limits...your going to need that optimism when the bottom falls out.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 5 months ago

"Is there a point to this statement?"

The point is pretty obvious, but I'll humor you. The vast majority of folks in this town will see no net benefit from it getting bigger.

"So, you're not out anything."

Only $150 million according to this study.

"So, where's the beef?"

Why are you ignoring the study that this thread is discussing?

"You're determined that growth must be bad. "

Strawman argument. I've said that growth is at best, neutral, for most people-- from a strictly economic standpoint, anyway. There are many quality-of-life issues that can be somewhat subjective. Some people prefer sprawl and endless rows of ticky-tacky houses and strip malls over grazing pasturage and arable farmland, others not so much. But when existing neighborhoods have to subsidize that growth through increased taxes, then it's definitely a negative from an economic standpoint, too. Unless, of course, you're part of the 10% or less of the population that thrives on those subsidies to growth. You know, the ones who are obliterating all city records on campaign financing in this election.

Godot 8 years, 5 months ago

Reality_Check, what is in it for you is more amentities, more T, more Bert Nash, more Parks n' Rec, more Senior Services, and, if you happen to be a homeowner, hopefully, less of an increase in your property taxes.

If Lawrence does not increase its RETAIL APPEAL, all of us old time property owners who thought we would hold on to the death, and maybe even will our properties to our grandchildren, will be forced to sell because we cannot bear the inevitable, inexorable, increase in our property taxes.

Lawrence needs new retail that attracts dollars from the far end of the earth (that is an exaggeration, but worth consideration) with its attendant sales tax, to support the lifestyle Lawrencians want.

Godot 8 years, 5 months ago

What does Lawrence offer that is unique?

cowboy 8 years, 5 months ago

Whats in it for me ?

Tell us how you make your living ?

All of us feed each other folks , if a portion of us go down you all will feel the pinch.

Tell us how you will manage a shrinking revenue budget , what will you cut first ? We are pretty close to that right now.

jafs 8 years, 5 months ago

It seems to me that if you factor in as many of the variables as you can, and use common sense, that growth up to a point is valuable, and at some point becomes neutral or negative.

Up to a point, growth will increase the quality of life - more services, more diversity in the population, more economic opportunity.

At some point, the downsides start to outweigh the upsides - downsides include more traffic, congestion, crime/homelessness, loss of community, breakdown of infrastructure, increased demand on city services, etc.

It seems to me Lawrence is clearly at or beyond this point, so I would like to stop subsidizing growth.

Godot 8 years, 5 months ago

Footprints, Waxman and Kiefs are examples of the kind of retail that is unique to lawrence, and that has worldwide appeal. Unfortunately, thanks to Gov. Sebelius, sales tax on items delivered to other cities in Kansas does not go in Lawrence's coffers. I do not know how sales tax on items delivered outside of Kansas is treated.

So, I ask again. What does Lawrence have that is unique that will draw people here to spend their money? Music, theatre, art, science and education. Those are Lawrence's niche markets.

Godot 8 years, 5 months ago

Making money off of those markets is difficult, since the science and education part are government controlled, and people in Lawrence seem to think that people who do music and art should do it for free, just for the joy of it.

Godot 8 years, 5 months ago

Point being, if we cannot generate sufficient revenue from the things that makes Lawrence unique, we are going to have to attract other businesses, including retail, that are not unique, but that draw people who will spend their money.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.