Archive for Thursday, May 3, 2007

Corliss: Budget must be cut

Reduction in services likely after sales taxes fall short

May 3, 2007

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6News video: City leaders may take unusual step to remedy revenue problems

Faced with revenue shortfalls, city leaders may take an unusual step in the coming weeks to remedy the problem. The city is exploring what would happen if they cut up to 6% out of this year's budget. Enlarge video

A hiring freeze and cutbacks in some city services are being studied at City Hall, as new figures estimate revenues for the 2007 city budget will fall about $1 million short of expectations.

"If we're going to have less revenue - and that appears to be the case with sales tax - it means we can't spend as much," City Manager David Corliss said. "That is true in families, it is true in businesses and it is true in this building, too."

Specific spending cuts haven't yet been proposed, but Corliss said they likely would involve reduction to services that residents would notice.

"This won't necessarily be a pleasant task, but I have a lot of confidence in the community and the prospects for growth," Corliss said.

Corliss is considering the unusual step of reducing the city's already-approved budget after sales tax collections for the city were down 2.4 percent in the first quarter of this year compared to a year ago.

That's significant because the city built its budget on the assumption that sales tax revenues would grow by 3.5 percent.

City commissioners have told Corliss to look for cuts. If cuts aren't made, the city would be on pace to spend roughly $3 million more than it is expected to receive in revenue in 2007.

The city has about $11 million in "fund balance" money - the equivalent of a savings account - that it could use to cover the $3 million shortfall. Some commissioners, though, are concerned that using that money could leave the city vulnerable in a financial emergency.

City policy states that the fund balance should not drop below 15 percent of the city's total general fund spending. Taking $3 million from the fund would drop it below 14 percent.

"We have to be very careful about getting below the danger levels with our fund balances," Mayor Sue Hack said. "That would be very poor planning on our part."

Corliss said he'll be looking at cutting the budget up to 3 percent, resulting in $1.1 million to $1.6 million worth of cuts.

Comments

Michael Capra 7 years, 12 months ago

no new cars,trucks,equipment,fix what you have and give incentives to employees and managers to get this done,what is the saying lets spend it all so we get more.Nothing is in place to make them save money,WHO EVER SAVES THE MOST GETS A 500 DOLLAR BONUS

perkins 7 years, 11 months ago

Good idea, 458casul. Many large private industries give a bonus to employees whose efficiency suggestions are adopted.

Sigmund 7 years, 11 months ago

Cut the City of Lawrence's budget 5% except for fire and police. Every single department, special interest group and citizen should share the pain of previous commissions mismanagement equally

samsnewplace 7 years, 11 months ago

Stop wasting $80,000 plus per piece of ART? in this City, most of the junk looks like crap anyway and this is a HUGE waste of money on the City's part. Don't be stupid and cut services that the community NEED rather than those that we don't like to LOOK at anyway! Wise up here!

oldvet 7 years, 11 months ago

Freeze hiring on any open positions, freeze raises for this budget year, stop travel, stop personal use of cars unless in a hiring contract, all the things that businesses do to survive a tough time... and times will get better.

50YearResident 7 years, 11 months ago

Take the money out of the EMERGENCY FUND, that is what it is for. Then use cost cutting to replace the funds in the next couple of years. Quit funding the homeless programs. Working people come first. (More funding homeless increases, less funding the problem will slowly go away).

common_cents 7 years, 11 months ago

Oh, and - NEW FLASH - raising the sales tax isn't going to make this any better. A fall in sales tax means that people have gone elsewhere to buy items. Raising the sales tax will cause this practice to increase. It's all part of the basic economic theory of supply and demand: When prices go up, demand goes down. And, although taxes are not part of the "price" of any item, consumers view their total expenditures as the "price."

blackwalnut 7 years, 11 months ago

This should halt any more talk of tearing down a perfectly good library to build a new one.

Obviously we cannot afford an ice rink right now, either.

Start making the developers pay for the infrastructure required by new development. Make developers fix the roads, sidewalks and sewers supporting their developments for a number of years.

Keep out-of-towners coming to Lawrence with the events that draw them, publicize, publicize, publicize, hold even more events. I don't think these events in South Park, the Lawrence Arts Center, the train station, etc. cost the city as much as the sales tax revenue they bring.

And make sure any new retail brings NEW BUSINESS to Lawrence. (A #2 Wal-Mart will not.)

SAY NO TO THE HACK TAX

blackwalnut 7 years, 11 months ago

oldvet: All your suggestions involve sacrifices on the part of city employees. I don't think that's a smart strategy. I've seen how this works in corporations, and the attitudes that result. The people are the heart and soul of any organization. It isn't the city employees' fault the budget is in trouble. The burden of fiscal tightening should be distributed evenly and fairly among everyone and that includes all citizens as well as the leaders.

kshiker 7 years, 11 months ago

Blackwalnut --

Developers already pay their fair share of the costs associated with new development. The city already has the authority to establish special benefit districts and levy the costs of a new development on the property owners with the developer paying 25% of the upfront costs.

The solution to this problem is simple: Cut the budget. The city doesn't have enough money to pay for the current level of services, then they need to readjust expenditures.

blackwalnut 7 years, 11 months ago

kshiker:

Maybe 25% is not enough.

Cut the budget? Well, duh! I don't think anyone has suggested we don't need to cut the budget.

The city should not pay a single penny for Wal-Mart to build s #2 store. WM should pay every cent.

kshiker 7 years, 11 months ago

Here is quick way the city could immediately save over $1,000,000. That took me all of 5 minutes with a calculator and the city budget.

Cut the following programs: - Van Go Mobile Arts $75,000 - Lawrence Arts Center $520,000 - Homeless Task Force $210,000 - Lawrence Community Shelter $30,000

Double the Fare for Riding the T: - Increase of $165,000

blackwalnut 7 years, 11 months ago

KU's home games moved to KC is a travesty. I cannot for the life of me fathom how this was allowed.

blackwalnut 7 years, 11 months ago

I wonder if people realize how much the Lawrence Arts Center draws people from outside Lawrence to come here.

Cut across the board because it's necessary, but be careful not to completely destroy things that bring "tourists" here to spend money.

How much would the city save if developers actually paid the 25% of new infrastructure every time? How much if that were increased to 50%?

Eileen Emmi Jones 7 years, 11 months ago

kshiker (Anonymous) writes... Developers already pay their fair share of the costs associated with new development. The city already has the authority to establish special benefit districts and levy the costs of a new development on the property owners with the developer paying 25% of the upfront costs.

kshiker seems to have access to all the facts and figures. How much, exactly, in dollars, and as a percentage, have the developers actually contributed to the improvement of infrastructure during the past several years' development boom?

"The city already has the authority to" make developers pay is not the same as developers actually paying.

Sounds kinda dishonest there.

Raider 7 years, 11 months ago

Put in some retailers downtown that people actually want to shop at. Get rid of some of the overpriced "kitch" stores that pass themselves for art. Bring in some national retailers that people flock to KC to shop at. The fact that sales-tax revenue has dropped should tell you that people are going to KC or Topeka to do their shopping. Bring in some of the places they want to shop at and get these people back.

Also, cut the budgets of all departments by about 3-5% across the board until the budget is balanced.

kshiker 7 years, 11 months ago

The level of ignorance on this forum about the development community is astounding. While I am not actively involved in the development community (I wish I was), the experience of buying homes and actually doing research and becoming informed has given me an enormous amount of insight on how the previous City Commission exploited the supposed "developers not paying their own way" hoax for political gain.

A great deal of you who live in new neighborhoods on the west side of the city already pay special assessments on your homes. Although it looks like a property tax on your annual statement, it is in fact a special assessment to cover various things (water and sewer hookup, arterial street improvements, etc.). Under state law, the city is given the authority to levy special assessment in the form of a benefit district on any new neighborhood in the city (which it actively exercises). The costs of these improvements are rolled into special assessment bonds which are bid out to the private market and paid off over the course of 15 to 20 years by the actual homeowner who lives in the new development.

The main reason that Schauner and company did not want to expand their use of special assessments is that, under state law, there are very strict procedural requirements that must be followed when instituting special assessments. The main requirement is that the city must ensure that the money raised by the special assessment is actually spent providing services to the new development. Instead, Schauner and Co. wanted to impose an excise tax on the new developments, which would have carried no procedural requirements and would simply have allowed them to spend the money anywhere in the city general fund.

As you can see, there is already a mechanism in place whereby homeowners in new developments are paying for the cost of providing city services to that development.

kshiker 7 years, 11 months ago

Blackwalnut --

Do you have any sort of empirical evidence on how much additional revenue the Lawrence Arts Center brings into the City of Lawrence? It would be nice to have figures.

average 7 years, 11 months ago

Raider -

Name me a store. Please. Who is it that people are flocking to KC for that would fit into downtown Lawrence? Are there no vacant buildings downtown? Are you suggesting Compton, Fritzel, Simons, etc are only willing to rent/sell to artsy boutiques and bars and would reject the mythical "national retailer that we really need"? The national retailers that will open a store in downtown Lawrence have opened stores in downtown Lawrence.

Raider 7 years, 11 months ago

Average,

Please tell me one decent place in town to buy men's clothing? I'm not talking about clothes for students and old men, I'm talking clothes for working professionals in their 30's? Weaver's is for old men, and the other stores like GAP and A & F cater to kids. If men want decent clothing they have to go to the city b/c there is nothing in Lawrence. I'm sorry, but Kohl's, JCPenney, Target and Wal-Mart don't cut it. That's just one example of the new types of retail this city could use.

Then there's entertainment. How about a decent movie theatre? Why is it that AMC's headquarters is in downtown KC and we're stuck with an extremely outdated and trashy Hollywood Theatre? If I want to see a movie, I drive to Olathe b/c the theatres are better. What about miniature golf? What about things to do other than go sit in a bar and drink with a bunch of students?

I'm just tossing out a few examples, but there are plenty of areas that Lawrence can develop in the retail sector to draw new business and keep people from going to the city.

monkeywrench1969 7 years, 11 months ago

I currently pay $250 in specials and will for the next ten years as KShiker says.

I would have to disagree witht he cutting of Art Center and Van Go. Both have great programs for after school and transport of children who would normally have no where to go and in many cases keeps them from roaming the street.

We give to much to the homeless in this town who do not contribute.

This is a great dual use of the "T": http://youtube.com/watch?v=fVBzOaWGKWQ

Bud Stagg 7 years, 11 months ago

Sales tax dollars are down for the city, gee imagine that. I have 2 things to say.

1 My company does online sales in Kansas. Since we have gone to a destination based tax, my website uses the states tax rate service to determine that tax. When a city zip code comes up that also covers the county, we are only required to pay the county and state sales tax, no city tax. How does the city beneifit from that?

2 With a slower economy in Lawrence because we can't attract new employers, then there is less sales tax generated.

Get it together Lawrence, get some jobs in here or we are all going to be paying higher taxes.

samsnewplace 7 years, 11 months ago

Too many higher up's and not enough little folks run City Hall as it is. What happened to only needing a City Mgr? Now not only do we have a City Mgr but TWO Asst. Mgr's (HUGE COST WHEN ONE MANAGED TO DO THE JOB BEFORE). Who approves these changes, City Commission? That would be the first place I would cut, then back to the awful ART in this City, number 2. People didn't spend as they projected they would so therefore they fall short. HELLO, not everyone can just go shopping and have a fun day out these days. We spend all our money at the gas stations....which in turn makes the cost of everything go up, therefore we can't just spend for fun.

Wiley 7 years, 11 months ago

What about all the new Fire Trucks being bought so they can transform the green ones to nice pretty red ones. How many more fire stations need to be built. The old ones were placed around Lawrence in strategic areas. How many millinons of dollars went into the new buildings and fire trucks. What was wrong with the old ones? When was the last time the police department received a "Brand New" building built to suit their needs. I'm not talking about the run down, hand me down building on Bob Billings.
How about splitting the money used between the different city organizations instead of dumping it all into just one.

monkeywrench1969 7 years, 11 months ago

Has anyone ever firgured out why they need to run fire trucks and police cars with ambulances when there it an injury. Not having a fire truck might reduce the wear and tear on the vehilces and I would be happy becasue I would not be stuck behind the big truck while a whole bunch of them stand around while the ambulance guys help and load up an injured person.

average 7 years, 11 months ago

I can support having a transit system (ill-planned as the T is). I can understand low fares to encourage ridership. But, to continue to refuse bus-side advertising, a very common form of revenue, as defaming the pride of six year old end-of-life busses?

It would only remove a drop of red ink, but it would certainly be an sign of priorities getting back on track.

Godot 7 years, 11 months ago

Corliss should have reminded the public and the commissioners that the budgeted increase in property tax also did not happen. The total budget shortfall will be worse than stated in this article.

LogicMan 7 years, 11 months ago

"Name me a store. Please. Who is it that people are flocking to KC for ..."

Not necessarily for downtown, but here's some:

Sam's Club Costco Lowes K-Mart Red Lobster Olive Garden Golden Corral Cracker Barrel A german restaurant (not "flocking", but that's where one is) BMW Mercedes Audi Cabellas, etc. Nebraska Furniture Mart If there was one, Ikea

KsTwister 7 years, 11 months ago

Hack touts a sales tax increase even when Kansas Revenue Service in Topeka has warned cities that sales taxes no longer produce an expected amount of money for city budgets. That would mean building projects with no way to pay for them. Until they come back to your property tax bill to do so. So far Corliss has come up with: No city staff overtime looking for grants -really we pay for this? So what do you think of these?

I think the City Manager and City Financial manager and City Auditor position become one and the same job (isn't it really). Use those funds there now. And cut all studies, which seem to be recurring line items every year. There is another $500k- 1-million.

Eliminate one of the two trips to Washington, D.C to beg for bus funding and beg harder the first time. Limit the "T" to only necessary buses within the city limits for $1 a ride, those that go out the industrial parks where people work need to increase those fares even higher for the gas, wear and tear to the buses.
First priority should be making the Levy secure, repair the older sewers, bad streets and sidewalks, secure the budget and then we'll talk about Lawrence's other "wants".

justsomewench 7 years, 11 months ago

leave Van Go alone. it's for kids in need.

on the other hand, the last time the Art Center put together a community service priced art program any one of my kids could participate in was....golly.

it's kinda funny that the only affordable arts programs are put on by parks and rec. and even that cost is steep for a single parent family.

Godot 7 years, 11 months ago

When corporations get in financial trouble, they slash administrative costs. Tell Corliss his job depends on reducing administrative costs by 20%. He'll find a way.

Here are a few suggestions: Eliminate the glossy newsletters included with the water bills. Who reads them? And stop sending out return envelopes. How many people actually mail their water bills, anyway? Get email addresses for everyone who signs up for water service, and send an email bill, that they can pay online.

Increase the charges for arts and recreation classes to reflect the actual cost of putting them on.

Eliminate the T.

Eliminate the "percent for art."

blackwalnut 7 years, 11 months ago

So far the only jobs DeeverNut have indicated they'll bring to Lawrence are $7 jobs pushing carts at Walmart.

I guess people can stop commuting to KC for the money, now!

blackwalnut 7 years, 11 months ago

justsomewench says: on the other hand, the last time the Art Center put together a community service priced art program any one of my kids could participate in was:.golly.

Those instructors at the Lawrence Arts Center have bachelor's or master's degrees in their medium. It is high-quality art instruction, not recreation. That quality of instruction is a bargain at $100 or so for 8 weeks including materials. If you are looking for a bit of summer entertainment or babysitting for your kid, you're right to go through Parks & Rec, because that's what they intend to offer.

Do you know how much those Master's degreed instructors earn at the Lawrence Arts Center? $12 per hour! And it's a part-time job for them with no benefits. That is very low pay for an expert in any field.

blackwalnut 7 years, 11 months ago

kshiker response to the question of whether developers should share the cost of infrastructure for new development is a long discourse on how homeowners are paying their share.

I know homeowners are being assessed, because I pay plenty of that, and even a young person I know in a not-so-new apartment pays something like $50 in sewer tax for a 2 BR apt.

It's the developers who should be paying a bigger share of this. The homeowners already pay a big share.

The developers are making profits, and the city and homeowners are footing the bill for roads and sewers and sidewalks. Not fair.

blackwalnut 7 years, 11 months ago

The T ought to accept advertising in and outside its buses.

b_asinbeer 7 years, 11 months ago

Marion,

I actually agree with you on this. I'd rather see more cops on foot in downtown rather than in their cars or "bikes with flashing lights".

kshiker 7 years, 11 months ago

Blackwalnut --

So let me get this straight. The City of Lawrence is diverting taxpayer money to the Lawrence Arts Center to the tune of $520,000 per year so it can afford to provide "high quality" art instruction to citizens who could otherwise afford to pay for private art lessons. Why is art so much of a public benefit that we should be required to subsidize the private education of citizens who could afford to pay for their own lessons?

This is a prime example of the misplaced priorities of this city government. Never mind that we have constantly deteriorating streets which causes an unquantifiable amount of property damage to vehicles in the city each year. Since we need an estimated $3 million annually to fund city street repair, isn't it logical to cut the $500,000 in funding for the Lawrence Arts Center to pay for at least one-sixth of the desparately needed street repairs?

The last time I checked, 100% of Lawrence citizens utilize our road system on a daily basis. How many people take advantage of these art programs?

kshiker 7 years, 11 months ago

Blackwalnut --

In most cases off-site improvements such as major arterial street construction and improvements are paid for by the developer based on agreements negotiated with the city when the subdivision plat is approved. In addition, the developer pays for the following items in each new subdivision: - Planning and platting submittal fees; - Building permit fees and inspections; - Construction and improvement of all streets in subdivision including curb, gutter and street signs; and - Construction and improvement of all sidewalks.

Furthermore, the homeowner or developer pays one-time tap fees and development charges to the city for sewer and water of approximately $1,500 per single-family home. The cost of actually installing the water and sewer lines in the new subdivision is typically paid by the homeowner via a special assessment.

Sounds like a pretty substantial contribution to me!

blackwalnut 7 years, 11 months ago

kshiker: You can argue whether the arts are of value to individuals or to the community - or for that matter in the schools - until the cows come home. That is a very old debate and it won't be settled in that forum.

My only comment is that your post assumes something that is probably not true: that those who enroll in classes at LAC can afford private art lessons. In many cases they would also have to afford equipment, such as a kiln or a photography lab. I don't think your assertion is true.

What I don't understand is why you would choose to live in Lawrence. None of the things that are fundamental parts of Lawrence's unique personality seem to have any value to you.

jlw2000 7 years, 11 months ago

Maybe people just aren't spending their money anywhere. I know my family has cut back drastically in discretionary spending. Food and energy prices are going up.

I think the T will see increased revenue this summer with gas prices over $3. I also think the city should add more routes to the T. Perhaps a route going out to YSI on Saturday mornings only.

Please keep in mind that money spent at local businesses stays in Lawrence and gets recirculated here. There was a Chicago study where something on the order of $.68 for local vs $.43 for non-local stays in the community.

blackwalnut 7 years, 11 months ago

kshiker says: "...the homeowner or developer ..."

There you go. Which is it - the homeowners or the developers? Homeowners are paying plenty. Developers aren't paying much.

kshiker 7 years, 11 months ago

Blackwalnut --

I like KU, Clinton Lake and the west side of Lawrence. Just because I happen to be a very large fan of the university, like to live in close proximity to the lake and enjoy living on the west side of Lawrence, does not mean that I should be forced to buy into the rest of the unnecessary items (crap) which certain citizens consider to be the "character" of the community, especially if I have to pay for it with my tax dollards. Your poor little community is changing; sorry if you don't like it. You will get over it someday.

kshiker 7 years, 11 months ago

Blackwalnut --

Interesting point ... Homeowner pays $1,500 in connection fees vs. developer constructs the streets and sidewalks in an entire neighborhood. This is a tough one. . . I wonder who paid more here.

lunacydetector 7 years, 11 months ago

i remember before the new arts center was built. supposedly they got over 300,000 visitors a year. 300,000......300,000....i'm not sure what days they are open, so lets say 6 days a week or 312 days a year which means they get 961+ visitors per day.

961 / 10 hours a day = 96 visitors per hour or 1.6 visitors per minute. hmmmmmm. i'm trying hard to see it.

KsTwister 7 years, 11 months ago

More than not I think its after streets and sidewalks are established that needs the funding and not the initial build.

KsTwister 7 years, 11 months ago

As far as the Art Center goes, I thought the city was doing a study of turning the Carnegie Library into a place for the homeless. Until I find that info again does anyone know?

kshiker 7 years, 11 months ago

KSTwister --

I'm astonished by this. So there is no tax paid by the residents of these neighborhoods after the homeowners have taken possession which is designed to compensate the city for the cost of providing services to the neighborhood? . . . . I guess we might be overlooking the fact that residents in new subdivisions are required to pay property taxes to the city on an annual basis (an enormous amount I might add) to fund city services, which supposedly includes street maintenance.

Also the city does no maintenance whatsoever on sidewalks. If you will remember from a previous controversy in the LJWorld, the homeowner is entirely responsible for replacing sidewalks which have fallen into a state of disrepair.

blackwalnut 7 years, 11 months ago

kshiker: "...does not mean that I should be forced to buy into the rest of the unnecessary items (crap) which certain citizens consider to be..."

But you think others should be forced to buy into all the unnecessary new development the city cannot afford just because you and a few others want it?

It goes both ways.

blackwalnut 7 years, 11 months ago

kshiker: Awhile ago you said city could ask developer to pay 25% of streets and sidewalks. Now you suggest they pay it all. Which?

kshiker 7 years, 11 months ago

Blackwalnut --

That was only for those improvements (mostly sewer and water, but I think occassionally streets) which are made to the property via special assessments. Under Kansas state law, the developer is required to pay for a certain portion of the bonded indebtedness incurred in the special assessment. In terms of streets and sidewalks required by the city, it is my understanding that the city is increasingly requiring developers to pay for aterial street improvements and sidewalks in order to get plat approval. Needless to say, the developer is paying for the lion share of improvements to the neighborhood under either scenario.

oldgoof 7 years, 11 months ago

Did I read Marion posting?: "This City MAY be getting back on track!" .. Goof's head is spinning. Someone slipped something into my coffee.

kshiker 7 years, 11 months ago

Are you buying into the new development? The last time I checked new homeowners still pay property taxes, sales taxes, franchise fees, etc. If you would like to pay for part of the cost of my home, please do so. The developer pays for the cost of providing infrastructure to the new neighborhood. The only needs the city needs to finance is additional fire and police protection along with new parks. The last time I check, these items benefit the whole city, not just the residents of one neighborhood. I don't care if you don't like West Lawrence, it is definitely here to stay.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 11 months ago

I say it is time that all Lawrence,Kansas online purchases have our sales tax attached to them. There are very few people on the planet that do NOT shop online from time to time. I noticed when I ordered a customized Apple computer for our daughter about 3 weeks ago Apple did in fact include our sales tax on the invoice. This is far better than increasing our local sales tax by 1% as both Comm. Amyx and Comm. Hack have discussed upon becoming mayors.

blackwalnut 7 years, 11 months ago

lunacydetector:

The Lawrence Arts Center does indeed get a great deal of traffic, with the museum, the gift shop, the art classes, the dance classes, the performances in the auditorium, the art fairs, the public meetings and ceremonies, the receptions, the gallery shows, the use as private meeting space and church meeting and wedding receptions...

Hang around there and the numbers will make sense to you.

However you want to justify getting rid of it, it can't be based on lack of use.

blackwalnut 7 years, 11 months ago

kshiker: I live in west Lawrence. I'd like to protect my neighborhood from dangerous levels of traffic. I'd like the city to balance its budget before we get a $30 million library and whatever Fritzel et al want. And it's my perfect right to feel that way.

Does anybody believe this person is not a developer?

Eileen Emmi Jones 7 years, 11 months ago

If the city is allowed to assess 25% of the cost of improvements required by new development to the developers, and we can't afford to fix our potholes, then 25% is too low.

Make the developers pay 50%. They can afford it.

kshiker 7 years, 11 months ago

Blackwalnut --

You and I agree. How amazing. I also don't support spending an inordinate amount of money on a library that the city does not need! The library is a supremely awful idea whose time I hope never comes.

I see you are probably a member of that lovely little quasi-socialistic group the West Lawrence Neighborhood Association. All that traffic being diverted to those poor West Lawrence neighborhoods because of the new Wal-Mart. An absolute complete hoax if an issue ever existed!

kshiker 7 years, 11 months ago

EmJones --

Again . . . Special assessments, under state law, can only pay for the cost of initial construction of certain neighborhood benefits. Street maintenance is funded, justifiably so, by property taxes paid by the neighborhood residents. I pay for your streets where you live; so you can pay for mine too!

KsTwister 7 years, 11 months ago

Kshiker: Speaking from my own experience with four homes purchased here, for the newer ones I paid "specials" which were taxes placed on my mortgage to cover sidewalks and sewers which at the time the developer also paid for their share. This is common practice I know.

However, having stayed in one of my homes long enough to have paid the "special" taxes I still had no sidewalk in front of my home. But then two years later the sidewalk I already had paid with my payments and listed in the description of sale AND the mortgage I received the biggest surprise*--every home in that subdivision had to pay $600 each in a city decree to fund sidewalks to prairie park school and down one side of each street. Now looking back I should have pursued it in court because I was not the only homeowner to catch this act but I did not. I moved to an established neighborhood instead. The taxes we pay should include sidewalk repairs for as high as they are now but don't raise it now.

"Also the city does no maintenance whatsoever on sidewalks." Correct they hand that off now too, but I do remember a time when they did maintain them. That money was probably funneled off to another pipe dream years ago. Probably to pay for the walking paths that took priority over the neighborhoods.

kshiker 7 years, 11 months ago

KSTwister --

You definitely have more homeownership experience than me. I'm currently only experiencing my second exhilirating round of special assessments. Unfortunately, even though special assessments seem to be the most widely utilized and fair method for financing infrastructure development, I would assume that even they are misused and abused from time to time.

I currently live in a culde-sac (spelling?) and thankfully have no sidewalks in front of my home to maintain. Especially since the city loves to plant large trees several feet away from the sidewalks without budgeting for future repairs, they are just screaming to be a major future maintenance issue.

Godot 7 years, 11 months ago

KStwister, I have owned a home in Lawrence for nearly 30 years. I have never known to city to maintain the sidewalks.

KsTwister 7 years, 11 months ago

That is because you did not live in old west Lawrence 50 years ago.

News_to_me 7 years, 11 months ago

From reading all these posts here, one would think that developers play plenty. However, it must still be a pretty lucrative business for them to keep developing. Yet they sure whine an awful lot. Kinda' reminds me of the price of gas approaching three bucks a gallon and Big Oil companies reporting profits of Nine billion dollars per quarter.

blackwalnut 7 years, 11 months ago

kshiker:

Not a member of any neighborhood association here.

And not surprised you are against trees, too.

coneflower 7 years, 11 months ago

kshiker says: All that traffic being diverted to those poor West Lawrence neighborhoods because of the new Wal-Mart. An absolute complete hoax if an issue ever existed!

Do you have kids? Do you care about other people's children?

The city cited an admittedly outdated KDOT study that concluded 6/Wak will be like 23rd/Louisiana with the planned new development. The study was done in June when school was out. There are two schools and a swimming pool nearby - lots of kids walking and biking. The schools make this issue critical.

I wouldn't dismiss people looking out for their children's safety, or begrudge them that right. I'm surprised you think that's a hoax of an issue.

The city needs to update that traffic study with KDOT before any new development is approved.

KsTwister 7 years, 11 months ago

"An absolute complete hoax if an issue ever existed!" Agree Kshiker.

That statement is true because last time I checked old West Lawrence was about 5 blocks square from Burford Park?(sp). FAR FAR ENOUGH AWAY.... I'm humming a few bars right now.

To your other questions Cone" Yes and Yes" And I bet they estimated the number of kids driving to school too. Hoax 1- spin 0 another please.

hawkfan24 7 years, 11 months ago

Stop the ART. Why do so many city employees drive thier vehicles home? How much gas, maintnance and who knows what else that alone cost. This was up for discussion at one point and you Corliss put it on the back burner, well stop putting things on the back burner and fix it, isn't that why you get paid so well and get a car and what ever else YOU get?

coneflower 7 years, 11 months ago

"And I bet they estimated the number of kids driving to school too."

No.

blackwalnut 7 years, 11 months ago

hawkperchedatriverfront (Anonymous) says: blackwalnut..or what ever the nut is:..tourists do not come to Lawrence:

The New York Times would not agree with you: http://www.6newslawrence.com/news/200...

And a friend waits tables downtown and claims L is filled with out of towners on the weekends.

dthroat 7 years, 11 months ago

You guys/girls can argue all day long about developers vs. homeowners, but understand one thing. While the developers will yell and scream about the extra costs (if the city adds them) they really do NOT care. Do you really think they will not pass that cost on???? The cost of each lot or business space just goes up. The builders (if they buy the lots) pass that along in the price of the house or business. Granted both groups will b* about it, but they really don't care. They know they will get their money back when the place sells.

And for all you people who moved into an ALREADY zoned neighborhood for that large of building - get over it. You moved there (they really did build most of those houses with the commercial zoning in place before they built the houses). Wally World makes a wonderful public foe for everyone to "rally" against, but it could be ANY large store. The area was zoned for this development NO MATTER what the store was. If I was 6/Wak (who actually owns the land), after the last city commission meeting I would tell my lawyers to just take this to court and get a judges ruling. I would be tired of all this BS. I personnally think they will win when it comes down to it, and no, I do not shop at WalMart or work there. This is NOT a WalMart issue - it is a zoning issue with the city trying to change the rules because of "vocal" neighbors - who should have known before they moved there.

Godot 7 years, 11 months ago

dthroat, totally agree. This is about zoning, land use, and property righs, aka the rule of law.

This is for the court, not a woman dressed in black, wearing a hood, hiding under sunglasses and tearing up fake money, to decide.

KsTwister 7 years, 11 months ago

Dthroat: Standing ovation!!!! Take a bow, good post.

pelliott 7 years, 11 months ago

Tax the bake sales, tax the churches, tax the charities. Tax the art, tax borrowing books, tax infants and children under 12, tax protesters, tax bicyclist, tax pedistrians, sidewalks are expensive. Tax soup kitchens, tax gardens, tax recyclers, tax conversation. Tired that talk is cheap. Tax opinions, tax music, dancing, even shuffling of feet. No where to go, think outside the box, then tax the box.

altarego 7 years, 11 months ago

dthroat!!!

"Developers" paying for infrastructure is like "Corporations" paying billions of dollars in punitive damages to people who don't know coffee is hot. The consumer/taxpayer ALWAYS pays in the end. Or with the end. I don't know. Something happens to the end regardless.

Marion:

4 month old puppies that jump fences scare the crap out of me. But good luck with all that.

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