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Archive for Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Banks blasts city’s lack of transparency

February 25, 2009

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City Commission candidate Price Banks took the city manager’s office to task Tuesday, saying the office doesn’t conduct business in a transparent enough manner.

At a press conference in City Hall, Banks criticized the city’s budget document for not having basic information that residents need to know as the city discusses potential budget cuts.

“They have provided absolutely the bare minimum in terms of the city’s revenues and expenditures,” Banks said.

Banks provided reporters with a list of specific issues that he said could not be found in the city’s budget document, which is about 250 pages. Those included:

• How much the city manager is paid.

• Names of contractors or services provided as part of the $24.4 million in contractual services in the budget.

• Details on operational costs such as how much the city pays for sand and road salt, how much the city pays to lease space for the Municipal Court building, and how much the city pays to operate specific Parks and Recreation facilities such as the swimming pools and the Prairie Park Nature Center.

Banks, who was a city employee in the 1980s and 1990s as director of planning, said he thought the budget was the sign of a larger problem of City Hall not sharing enough information with the public.

“I don’t think they are very transparent in general,” Banks said. “I think the budget is just an example of that.”

City Manager David Corliss’ office issued a statement saying it was inappropriate for city employees to engage in election discussions. But the statement said the city has been awarded the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association each year since 2003. The city also posts all payments made to vendors each week on its Web site as part of the City Commission agendas. Information about employee salaries also is available by calling the city’s Human Resources Division, the statement said.

Visit city reporter Chad Lawhorn's Town Talk blog

Comments

cowboy 5 years, 9 months ago

Very solid point Mr. Banks , lets see the detail !

Richard Heckler 5 years, 9 months ago

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monkeyhawk 5 years, 9 months ago

"Friends and neighbors ..."

merrill, you are not my friend, and definitely not my neighbor. I do appreciate that you published who you support, however. I know exactly who NOT to vote for.

If Mr. Banks is so concerned with transparency, perhaps he has some buds in the legislature who can push for a complete audit of city hall for the past 7 or 8 years. Let's see if he can earn my vote. Be a hero, Price. Show us that you deserve to represent us.

"Donations for Gwen can be made out to "Dough for Deadbeats - Gwen for Lawrence”.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 5 years, 9 months ago

"Mr.Banks should be reminded that even during his tenure information was not shared as he believes it should be now."

But, he was only the city planner, not the city manager.

RoeDapple 5 years, 9 months ago

And the surprise here is.............................?

Chris Ogle 5 years, 9 months ago

No Price at any Price. Of all people to talk about transparency.... guess he forgot about the secret planning dept. back in the 80s

Richard Heckler 5 years, 9 months ago

We need candidates who will rein in over building thus long term tax relief. Over building is a tax increase any way you look at it. Over building simply does not pay back the community.

Over building = a tax increase and is unfriendly to business.

Economic growth without tax increases is very very good.

Roundabouts did not kill the economy nor were they a large expenditure in the big picture. They were something a few people do not like.

Just because speculators purchase property does not guarantee that construction will be allowed for it is NOT the duty of the taxpayer or local government to maximize profits for speculators. Speculating=gambling. Land speculators know these things.

There is no ordianance that I know of that says local politicians are required to approve any new construction project.

New retail is suppose to create NEW ADDITIONAL revenue and NEW ADDITIONAL employment for a community NOT merely spread our limited retail dollars to the point where nothing NEW or ADDITIONAL is realized aka economic displacement or economic pollution.

Certainly it is not to replace existing retail for nothing is gained = taxpayers realize TAX INCREASES to cover the cost of additional demand on community services.

flux 5 years, 9 months ago

Merrill thanks the People of Lawrence need his opinon 24 hours a day....we dont!

flyin_squirrel 5 years, 9 months ago

The house at Louisiana hasn't been torn down because they don't have the demo permit. The city wants engineering plans as to what is going to be re-built before the permit will be issued. Isn't that why we have zoning and planning approval processes? Kind of like putting the cart before the horse...

flux 5 years, 9 months ago

Your such a follower holroyd. Be an adult and form your own opinions

flux 5 years, 9 months ago

I agree flamingdragon, nothing gets accomplished by creating seperation. Merrill loves to create that seperation amongst the citizens of Lawrence. We are much greater then the political partys we affiliate ourselves with.

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