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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

hawkperchedatriverfront 5 years, 1 month ago

flyin squirrel, the permit was approved by the city commission. it is "transparent" in the records of the meetings :)

In fact, I may be able to dig up a letter from staff that says such and that the permit for demolition is good forever as it is issued to a contractor and even it follows the next owner as long as the contractor listed on the permit is used.

Well, take off the saran wrap and the permit is even more "transparent:"

Maybe the owners Banks represents do not have enough money to tear it down ?

Money is tight these days.

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flux 5 years, 1 month 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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not_holroyd 5 years, 1 month ago

flux: Oh, I form my own opinions. But they rarely intersect with Merrills. And I am hardly right wing or left wing. Its an ad hominem analysis I know, but that method of such analysis is not necessarily wrong or misleading.

And I am far from the only one around here who uses the same logic. Merrill is somewhat a standardized laboratory test reagent in the world of Lawrence community affairs, so it fair to use him like a Ph strip.

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flamingdragon 5 years, 1 month ago

wow. so if Merrill likes something, the right wing must be against it, right? like flux says: Be an adult and form your own opinions. Being divisive only ensures that nothing will be done.

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flux 5 years, 1 month ago

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

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not_holroyd 5 years, 1 month ago

I'm glad Merrill keeps my "who not to vote for" list updated. He provides a useful service.

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ocean 5 years, 1 month ago

Banks is much better qualified than Bush and would appeal to many developing business interests - he has the savy to smooth out bumps in the current city mangement 'we hope'.

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flyin_squirrel 5 years, 1 month 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...

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not_holroyd 5 years, 1 month ago

Or how about crime reporting and crime statistics by block or multi-block area? Most other cities distribute this. It is almost mandatory to have for humans to understand crime statistics, including police administration.

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flux 5 years, 1 month ago

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

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ocean 5 years, 1 month ago

so is merrill endorsing only two or would he support Banks also?

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Chris Ogle 5 years, 1 month ago

Anyone heard from merrill today?

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Bowhunter99 5 years, 1 month ago

Merril says:

blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah

http://www.blahblahblah.com

blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah

http://www.blahblah.org/BS

blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah

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Richard Heckler 5 years, 1 month 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.

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consumer1 5 years, 1 month ago

I hope I havn't offended the people I mentioned since, I also know I am considered a wacko on this board. The one thing I know for sure is, Lawrence hasn't grown an inch since it's beginning. We have always been divided and remain so today. We are a study in contrast.

My motto is: Lawrence the city I love to hate, and hate to love.

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consumer1 5 years, 1 month ago

Yes Merrill, we know you are a NO BUILD at any cost proponent. Yet you backed the last commission who spent all of the street repair money on useless round abouts while the streets continued to decay. I am sure everyone remembers the last election where the city asked for a speciall assement tax for improving the streets in town. Thanks to your ilk, we are taxed a second time for repairs that weren't done during your NO BUILD commission. You have no credibility here. Don't feel bad though, there are only a handful of people who garner any respect on these boards. The bobs, Jonas and Blue harely. That is about it.

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Chris Ogle 5 years, 1 month 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

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RoeDapple 5 years, 1 month ago

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

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OldEnuf2BYurDad 5 years, 1 month 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.

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monkeyhawk 5 years, 1 month 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”.

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Richard Heckler 5 years, 1 month ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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Larry_The_Moocher 5 years, 1 month ago

Maybe he is fishing for an envelope?

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cowboy 5 years, 1 month ago

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

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Michael Capra 5 years, 1 month ago

price banks was fired from the city

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hawkperchedatriverfront 5 years, 1 month ago

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

Perhaps, Mr. Banks, could explain why the property he represents for his clients has not been torn down, demolished although a permit has been approved. The permit approval process has been quite transparent but the property needs no longer to be "transparent' i.e. visible. Tear down 1232 Louisiana.

I would challenge Mr. Banks on the transparency during his tenure at City Hall. It has been documented that the Neighborhood Resources dept had not been audited by HUD for years.

The lack of transparency then and now regarding parking revenues is still clouded. How much, from what lots and what actually goes to the parking lots and maintenance, or is it as many believe slopped into the General Fund.

This looks like an upcoming game of Plinko and the show and competing contestants will determine if the Price is right.

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