Archive for Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Sales tax could fund street rebuilding

Lawrence leaders are working up a list of streets needing attention, but they'll only be approved if voters give the OK to a new sales tax this fall.

June 24, 2008


Potential reconstruction projects

Potential reconstruction projects

Forget the Final Four. Lawrence leaders are hoping residents become captivated by the First Four, a quartet of major city streets that leaders would promise to rebuild if voters approve a new sales tax.

City Manager David Corliss and his staff are proposing that portions of Bob Billings Parkway, Kasold Drive, 19th Street and Wakarusa Drive become the first streets reconstructed if voters approve a 0.30 sales tax increase in November.

"We talked to our street division and asked them which ones they're continually having to repair," said Chuck Soules, the city's director of public works, who helped develop the proposal.

City commissioners will begin debating the proposal at their 6:35 p.m. meeting today at City Hall. Commissioners were mixed on whether the plan struck the right balance.

"I think there will be some debate on that," said Mayor Mike Dever.

In addition to the four major street projects, the proposal also includes $5 million for a new stormwater pump station at Fifth and Maple streets in North Lawrence; $500,000 per year for 10 years to address residential street and sidewalk issues in older areas of town; and $350,000 to build the Burroughs Creek Rail Trail in east Lawrence.

The proposal also includes $500,000 per year for 10 years to purchase fire trucks. Dever said he wonders whether a sales tax is the best way to purchase those vehicles. Instead, he said the city may be better served by finding fire truck money in other parts of the city's budget and using the $500,000 worth of sales tax money to do more street and infrastructure maintenance.

"I really want to catch up on our backlog of projects," Dever said.

City Commissioner Mike Amyx, though, said he thought city staff members were on the right track with the proposal. He said securing a stable source of funding for fire equipment was important.

"The problem with our current system is it seems to be awful easy for us to put off the replacement of a piece of equipment for a while," Amyx said.

The 0.30 sales tax is expected to generate about $4 million to $4.5 million per year. The major road projects are each expected to cost between $2.7 million and $4.8 million per year.

City commissioners, however, have not officially placed the sales tax issue on the November ballot. They have talked for nearly three months about placing the 0.30 sales tax and a separate 0.20 sales tax to fund public transportation on the November ballot, but have not yet taken a vote to do so.


ILoveLawrence 9 years, 10 months ago

I'm also tired of West Lawrence getting all the money. The street in front of my house, located well within city limits, but of course in the older part of town, isn't even paved. When it rains, the gravel disappears and all we have are ruts.

grimpeur 9 years, 10 months ago

You have got to be kidding me. BEFORE the streets listed are considered, the city should reconstruct 17th between Mass and Alabama (gotta subsidize, I mean, support that KU traffic), and 13th from Brook Creek to Oread. Hey, now that we've started converting our food supply into fuel for our cars, let's just get people who buy shirts, milk, books, or other essentials to pick up the tab for motorists! After all, we have to make sure all those KU and LHS and FSHS customers and employees can make their tiny commutes in quiet comfort. Wouldn't want anyone to walk for 20 minutes when they can drive. Stupid, stupid humans.Another very clear example of how our current misuse of the personal automobile is made possible by non-auto-related taxes and subsidies.News flash, geniuses: you can't raise enough money to keep up with the overuse of our streets by lazy drivers who insist on driving alone, less than 2 miles each way, every day, or who never consider walking to a store that's less than a mile away. But this is what we're being asked to support--the wasteful habits of a bunch of motorized welfare queens whose rapacious hunger for public money has become a line item. Screw that. Get off your butts and walk, ya lazy bastids, and stop ruining our streets!

Munsoned 9 years, 10 months ago

Burroughs Creek Rail Trail???? What the....???

1029 9 years, 10 months ago

This is an easy "no" vote. Why would anyone ever go west of Iowa unless they lived out there? Maybe the people who chose to live in the suburbs of West Lawrence should start a collection if they need Wakarusa or Kasold to be repaired. This is a ridiculous proposal aimed at catering to the West Lawrencians. Let's fix the roads that actually go somewhere. Fix 19th, continue making the downtown-area roads nicer, maybe extend the bicycle lane on 19th west of Mass, or make one from there north to South Park, or on 6th street.Also, fix that stupid traffic light at 7th and Kentucky that changes even in the middle of the night. The number of vehicles traveling on Kentucky is at least ten or twelve times more than the number that travel on 7th street, yet the traffic signal gives practically equal time for both roads.

nekansan 9 years, 10 months ago

How about using the sales tax to build the SLT. The resulting decrease in traffic on the East/West routes will reduce the maintenance needs of all the other roads.

Richard Heckler 9 years, 10 months ago

Apparently the price of gasoline is not a concern for each of our commissioners nor smog.Do city commissoners live in glass houses? The lady that travels by wheel chair must navigate E 13th because the sidewalks are........ How many more years must she be forced into the streets?Was there not just a huge story about addressing local ozone levels? Providing a network of new sidewalks ,bike trails plus bus travel might encourage less vehicle travel and cost a lot less money than fixing new streets.

Professor_Marvel 9 years, 10 months ago

Is Merrill going to drag his smog producing 2-cycle engines around town on these new bike trails?

supercowbellninja 9 years, 10 months ago

The only way I'd consider this tax is if the funds went to some other streets that REALLY need attention such as 9th street between Mass and Iowa, almost all of La., Kentucky, Oread neighborhood streets, etc. Why Bob Billings? That street seems fine to me.

OnlyTheOne 9 years, 10 months ago

"The problem with our current system is it seems to be awful easy for us to put off the replacement of a piece of equipment for a while," Amyx said. and it's even easier to push through another tax increase.

cowboy 9 years, 10 months ago

What savings has the 87,000 grand a year auditor come up with so far ? This sounds like the library expansion PR campaign part two. Until this " do nothing" commission and city staff start generating some cost savings ideas and proposals the sales tax issue should be tabled.

repaste 9 years, 10 months ago

Hey they did have funds for older streets, 300k not 4 mil... 5 mil for another pump station in north Lawrence - how much could Chaney make on those houses? Make give him a mill to stop building would be cheaper. Grimp & all are right - vote no.

jumpin_catfish 9 years, 10 months ago

More taxes, that will fix everything and so much easier than unpleasant choices like cuts, deep cuts and the old fashion idea of living within your means.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 10 months ago

"How about using the sales tax to build the SLT."It'd take at least a 1.5 percent sales tax for at least ten years to pay for it. But that would be an interesting vote.

bearded_gnome 9 years, 10 months ago

oh,whatta joke, Merrill/richard heckler pokes up his little rodent head! yet, he is part of the problem highlighted by this article!first, if he would actually read the article, instead of instaposting his liberal spam, he would have seen that "sidewalks" and other street repair is listed for residential areas. and, he's pimping the lady in the wheelchair on ct again. he has helped cause our problem:he has posted on this forum that he likes our broken streets, i.e. 700 block of ny, because they are passive traffic control devices! second, he is on the traffic safety commission, better called the traffic constipation commission. and he has pushed for the d----d roundabouts! money put into the roundies could have instead gone to actually fixing streets!finally, he promotes a third world life style for us to live, and really wants us all to not drive at all; yes, and he's on the traffic safety commission and he's opposed to driving! he and others opposed the completion of the SLT because people would drive on it! Lawrence leaders are working up a list of streets needing attention, but they'll only be approved if voters give the OK to a new sales tax this fall.---the word for this:extortion. mayor mike is right about rearranging priorities and catching up more of the backlog! please do! finally, shouldn't money already be in the city budget to fix streets?
answer to the question, the rail trail thingy is to run from 11th near hobbs park down to 23rd, taking that old rail property, paving it with cement and having little visitor centers at three points along the route. yes, they're going to, with matching fed money, but all originally taxpayer money, put in a concrete ribbon for twelve blocks. meanwhile, sidewalks in the surrounding neighborhood haven't been repaird since carter was in office or even since FDR was in office.

Richard Heckler 9 years, 10 months ago

Traffic Safety Commission does not provide funding for roundabouts. Roundabouts are a KDOT traffic calming device which can only be approved by the City Commissioners after it has been determined by the traffic safety commission that the request meets KDOT standards. The neighborhoods and the traffic engineerwork together to dertermine which device works best for the situation at hand. The Traffic Safety Commission does not set the agenda. That is done by the City Commission or citizens who have a matter that they feel needs the Commissions attention. Traffic Safety Commission uses standards set by DOT and KDOT.Speed limits,pedestrian crossings, parking problems,stop signs,yield signs,crossing guards etc etc also are some of the tools that the traffic safety commission,traffic safety engineer and the city commission work with primarily at the request of citizens. The city commission makes the final decision on all matters and I say throughout the years the city commissions have done well for its ' citizens and their neighborhoods.So far as sidewalks are concerned they actually are the homeowners responsibility and could probably be repairedusing benefit districts. Homeowners should be okay with the city repairing sidewalks no matter where they are located.

KsTwister 9 years, 10 months ago

The taxes we already paid earmarked for the streets should have been used for the streets. Welcome to Lawrence, now watch the slight of hand shift the money from this fund to that one. Would not surprise me to suddenly see a glass monument of a library or other whim appear instead. Enough.

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