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Archive for Friday, July 3, 2009

Lawrence residents could face new fees

July 3, 2009

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A closer look at the city budget

Here’s a look at several major items in the 2010 city budget.

• $300,000 to study and possibly design a new West Lawrence recreation center near Overland and Wakarusa drives.

• The elimination of the city’s Human Relations Division, which investigates complaints of discrimination. The duties would be taken over by the city’s legal services staff. The cut would eliminate two positions. Overall, city employment is expected to drop to 773 full-time equivalent positions, down from 783 this year. Most of the reductions are expected to come through attrition.

• $3.6 million in street maintenance work related to the passage of a new infrastructure sales tax. The major project will be a rebuilding of Kasold from 23rd Street to 31st Street. Overall, street maintenance funding in 2010 will grow to $8.7 million, up from $5 million this year.

• $2 million to fund extension of water and sewer service to the Lawrence Municipal Airport to open up ground on the airport to potential industrial and aviation development.

• $500,000 to replace the roof of the Lawrence Public Library.

• $1.8 million to purchase a ladder truck and an engine truck for the fire department.

• $200,000 to begin purchasing right of way for an extension of 31st Street from Haskell to O’Connell.

• A 1 percent merit pay adjustment for city employees. That’s down from a 2 percent merit pool in the 2009 budget.

Property taxes stable; sidewalk fee proposed

Lawrence residents could face a whole new kind of tax this coming year. Enlarge video

Lawrence City Manager David Corliss’ recommended 2010 budget — released on Thursday — holds the line on property taxes, but doesn’t leave many other stones unturned in its search to generate revenue.

For starters, Lawrence property owners could face a new monthly “sidewalk maintenance” fee on their city utility bills. The fee — which would average about 25 to 50 cents per month for the typical homeowner — would fund a program that would require the city to maintain sidewalks throughout the community.

The proposed budget also includes fee increases for a variety of parks and recreation services, for downtown parking and for municipal court violations such as speeding and other traffic offenses. Monthly rates for water and trash service also are slated to increase. Plus, visitors will be asked to pay more through an increase in the city’s guest tax — a sales tax charged on the rental of hotel rooms.

All that comes after voters in April agreed to create three new sales taxes that added an extra 0.55 percent onto the local sales tax rate.

“I think what we’re trying to do is ensure that the basic city services are well attended to, but also try to do a little more than just pay the bills,” Corliss said.

The budget includes some new projects, including $300,000 to study and possibly design a new West Lawrence recreation center near Wakarusa and Overland drives.

City commissioners will have the final say on all the budget matters, including whether to institute new fees and fines.

Mayor Rob Chestnut said he’s generally pleased with Corliss’ recommendations.

“I think there was clear commission direction that in difficult economic times, that we didn’t want to raise taxes,” Chestnut said.

Chestnut said some of the fee increases were simply tough to avoid.

“I think we have a catch-up factor going on here,” he said. “It is a delicate balance, but some of these fees haven’t been changed for a long time.”

Commissioners will conduct a study session to discuss the budget at 3 p.m. July 13 at City Hall, Sixth and Massachusetts streets.

Budget basics

Corliss’ recommended budget follows through on consistent direction from commissioners to keep the property tax mill levy steady. Corliss proposes a mill levy of 26.688 mills, unchanged from this year’s rate. A mill is $1 in property tax for every $1,000 in assessed valuation that a person owns in taxable real estate and property.

Many Lawrence residents actually may see the city portion of their property tax bill decline, as property values in several Lawrence neighborhoods have dropped with the faltering real estate market.

The decline in property values — the overall decline was 0.8 percent — sent city budget-makers searching for ways to generate revenue for 2010.

In total, the city expects to collect — through property taxes, sales taxes, water and sewer rates and other fees — $164.9 million in 2010, up 8 percent from the $152 million budgeted for this year. The bulk of the new revenue comes from the three sales taxes that voters approved in April.

On the spending side, the city has budgeted $157.7 million in expenditures for 2010, up 7 percent from this year’s budget.

The budget does not require the city to dip into its “fund balance” account, the city’s version of a savings account. Corliss said that was an important priority.

“It really is critical,” Corliss said. “We don’t know what the economy is going to do in the coming months or even years.”

Sidewalk fee

Corliss’ proposal to create a monthly fee to do sidewalk maintenance is the largest philosophical shift in the budget. State law requires property owners to maintain the public sidewalks that run through their property. Under Corliss’ plan, the city would take over that responsibility — minus snow removal — for a monthly fee that would be tacked onto water and sewer bills.

City Hall has received complaints about households that are unable to afford sidewalk repairs, but Corliss concedes that he does not know whether the community is ready for the change.

“I’ve labeled it a trial balloon, and maybe it ought to be shot at,” Corliss said. “But if we don’t address it, we’ll just continue to go down the same worn path of knowing that we have a problem but not a solution.”

Property owners would be required to pay the fee, whether they have a sidewalk that runs through their property or not. The system would charge each property based on the amount of front footage the property has along a public street. Corliss is proposing properties be charged either a half cent or 1 cent per month, per linear foot of street frontage. For a typical 50-foot single-family lot in Lawrence, it would amount to 25 to 50 cents per month. Corner lots would be more.

The fee would generate $200,000 to $400,000 per year, depending on whether a half cent or a full cent per foot is charged.

Chestnut said he expects the commission to have significant discussion on whether to move forward with the project.

“I hate to put a tax in right now, but I recognize that we’re falling behind in sidewalk maintenance, and I don’t know where the money is going to come from to catch up,” Chestnut said.

Other fees

The recommended budget follows through on previous warnings that a host of fines and fees would increase. Among those slated to rise:

• Water and sewer rates: The bill for a typical household would increase by about 95 cents to $1.90 per month.

• Trash rates: Would increase 66 cents per month for the average household.

• Downtown parking: The fine for downtown parking would increase to $3, up from the current $2 fine. The time limit for parking at Massachusetts Street meters also would be changed from two hours to 1.5 hours. Hours of enforcement also would extend to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Present enforcement ends at 5 p.m. The increases are expected to generate an extra $164,000 in revenue.

• Municipal Court fines: The fine for driving 1 to 10 miles over the speed limit would increase to $50, up from $38. Fines for other traffic offenses — such as running a stop sign, improper turns and driving left of center — would increase to $80, up from $68. Fines for notice to appear parking violations would increase to $55, up from $40. Court costs would remain steady at $52. Corliss also said he expects more tickets will be issued in 2010 because the budget recommends filling all vacant police officer positions. The higher court fines are expected to generate about $250,000 in new revenue.

• Parks and Recreation: The department will create a $1 fee for adults to enter the Prairie Park Nature Center. Children ages 5 to 12 would be charged 50 cents. Children 4 and under would be free. The department also would offer a $40 annual family pass. The department would start charging a $1 fee for children to use the South Park Wading Pool. The two fees are expected to generate about $12,000 a year.

• Eagle Bend Golf Course: The city-owned course at Clinton Lake would increase weekend green fees to $25 for 18 holes, up from $23. Green fees for nine holes would increase to $17, up from $15. Weekday fees would not increase. Cart fees, though, would increase by $1 for all days. All the golf fee increases are slated to begin immediately.

• Guest tax: The budget recommends increasing the guest tax to 6 percent, up from 5 percent. Corliss is proposing that the city use the increase to set aside $50,000 per year for the next 10 years to pay for improvements at the former Carnegie Library building at Ninth and Vermont streets. The building has been proposed to be the home for the Lawrence Convention and Visitors Bureau and the main offices for the Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area. Corliss is proposing that guest tax increase also be used to set aside $50,000 per year for the national heritage area to create exhibits and attractions in Lawrence.

Comments

disgustedagain 5 years, 5 months ago

"$300,000 to study and possibly design a new West Lawrence recreation center near Overland and Wakarusa drives." Now that's a crock. What a huge waste of money. Why the hell does west Lawrence need a recreation center when the city is cutting services for the poor and homeless??? The sidewalk fee, on the other hand, sounds like a good idea, since it's always seemed unfair that houses with no sidewalk never have to pay for sidewalk repairs but use everyone else's sidewalks.

Chris Ogle 5 years, 5 months ago

oh great... now a "sidewalk tax" whether you have a sidewalk or not.... Lawrence is so special

Melanie Birge 5 years, 5 months ago

“$300,000 to study and possibly design a new West Lawrence recreation center near Overland and Wakarusa drives.” Now that's a crock. What a huge waste of money. Why the hell does west Lawrence need a recreation center when the city is cutting services for the poor and homeless??? The sidewalk fee, on the other hand, sounds like a good idea, since it's always seemed unfair that houses with no sidewalk never have to pay for sidewalk repairs but use everyone else's sidewalks.

So sad to see that we still give and give to the people on the west side, while our social services are being cut from the people who need it the most, shame on Lawrence! I am thinking of moving away from all this lust for greed of a city, making me sick! One day they will need these services and thats when it will sink in that there wont be a service for them! But then again thats when they will reinstate social services, when they need them themself!

herman 5 years, 5 months ago

Hey Longhorn, You REALLY need to start doing a better job quoting people; Coreless didn't say: "I think what we’re trying to do is ensure that the basic city services are well attended to, but also try to do a little more than just pay the bills" but Coreless said: “I think what we’re trying to do is ensure that the basic city services are well attended to, but also try to do a little more than just pay the bills so I can get another 25% raise!" Happy 4th!

cowboy 5 years, 5 months ago

164 million in operating costs

Savings / Efficiencies Proposed = O

Cost Increase from last year = 8%

In any private business this budget would have the General Manager immediately fired.

Jan Brocker 5 years, 5 months ago

$300,000 To study and possibly design a new West Lawrence recreation center? Are you nuts? Give the money to someone who actually WILL find a home for the LCS since the board and the city can't seem to do so.

Silly_me 5 years, 5 months ago

Uh, things like recreations centers and such should only be considered when budgets are inline and balanced...I really don't believe its a good idea to add this item to a list of issues where there are basic services that need to be addressed. Also, aren't the other recreation centers we already have good enough to provide a template for a future rec center? Why keep reinventing the wheel.

And just for full disclosure, I live on the west side very close to the Wakarus and Overland site. Would I like a rec center..sure, but not at the expense of cutting other more important services.

been_there 5 years, 5 months ago

So what is Holcolm sports center, East Lawrence?

JSDAD 5 years, 5 months ago

Thought i paid my sidewalk fee in the form of specials when i bought my house, i dont need another side walk thanks i have one

cowboy 5 years, 5 months ago

If the city wants to enter the sidewalk business let them bill the property owner individually over a period of 12-24 months. There is no reason the rest of lawrence should pay for what the homeowner should bear. I don't share in the profit when you sell your home nor should i share in the cost.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 5 months ago

West Lawrence has a new rec center underway aka Clinton Lake Regional Park which sits on 1,505 acres which at multi millions should be more than adequate.

Between USD 497 and Clinton Lake Regional Park PLAY is well underway at a cost of more than $20 million easily. http://www2.ljworld.com/polls/2007/may/should_city_spend_20_million_or_more_play_project/

USD 497 did admit in the LJW that the USD 497 sports facilities project was indeed a part of PLAY.

Clinton Lake Regional Park is funded by the 1997(?) park and rec sales tax.

City Commissioners why add a NOT necessary new park and rec center to the tax rolls? Clinton Lake Regional Park is just a hop,skip and a jump away.

City Commissionesr how about spending that available $300,000 on old east Lawrence sidewalks and convert some of them to walk and bike paths such that west Lawrence has which have been funded in part with East Lawrence tax dollars? East13th street,East 19th street, Tennessee, Kentucky and Connecticut = safe walking and biking.

Place part of that existing one cent sales tax to east Lawrence walkways.

City Commissioners there is a ton of walking,jogging and biking throughout old east Lawrence so why not spruce it a up a bit and bring some of those east Lawrence tax dollars back home? It's only fair. East Lawrence would be forever grateful.

been_there 5 years, 5 months ago

Cowboy- Usually it is not the homeowner that uses the sidewalk. I never use my front sidewalk, but the two hundred tenants in the apartments around me do when they walk to KU. Which brings up the question, how is it figured for apartment buildings. Is the fee divided among the tenants or does each tenant pay the full amount?

skinny 5 years, 5 months ago

Enough is enough. Heck, my folks pay more in property tax every month on their house of 30 years than their house payment. So much for paying off your house before you retire. Crazy!!!

SettingTheRecordStraight 5 years, 5 months ago

Times are tough, so city fines and fees are going up. When times get better, these new fines and fees will remain. The model employed is similar to all those "temporary" or "sunsetting" sales tax increases. They're never temporary; they never sunset; they're always renewed, and our money is spent on something else.

This is how Corliss and his big-government buddies slowly lull us into surrendering more and more of our incomes to government.

classclown 5 years, 5 months ago

How about an impact fee levied on the students? They need to pay their share.

flux 5 years, 5 months ago

No thanks,,,,,,Having enough financal troubles as it is.

Sigmund 5 years, 5 months ago

Call it a fee or a tax (a rose by any other name would still smell) and it makes no difference economically. Every additional dollar taken by the government is one less dollar to spend at local businesses and additional time of your life that you are a slave to your government masters.

hipper_than_hip 5 years, 5 months ago

What about absentee landlords who own property but have no utilities in their name? Do their renters pay the sidewalk maintenance tax?

Sigmund 5 years, 5 months ago

“Property owners would be required to pay the (sidewalk) fee, whether they have a sidewalk that runs through their property or not."

Great idea! Next year a yacht fee whether or not you own a yacht!

woodenfleaeater 5 years, 5 months ago

Why don't they install meters in front of each house? And if you want to use the sidewalk, all you have to do is put a nickel in the slot, the gate will raise, and you can be on your merry way. Like a toll.

LogicMan 5 years, 5 months ago

"The fee — which would average about 25 to 50 cents per month for the typical homeowner — would fund a program that would require the city to maintain sidewalks throughout the community."

Keep the current requirements in force (new construction and major redevelopments must install sidewalks).

But make this $2/month, and the city takes over all maintenance/replacements. And the city aggressively installs sidewalks on existing blocks where none exist or are incomplete (e.g. southern Iowa, north/east Lawrence, etc.), and later where sidewalks are only on one side of the street.

Sigmund 5 years, 5 months ago

ylime3499 (Anonymous) says… "I'm glad i'm moving!"

Great, rub it in.

walkingonwater 5 years, 5 months ago

I cannot get out of this town fast enough. I live on the west side of Lawrence, by the way, and I see no need for another park over here. So please, blame the city management and not the residents on the west side. City management bites.

George Lippencott 5 years, 5 months ago

You know the idea of a sidewalk tax is not a bad idea. I have long resisted the notion that the sidewalk that I do not want and do not use should be my responsibility. Spread that responsibility around. In fact while you’re at it why don’t we extend the charge at a flat rate to everybody using water or sewerage? Sidewalks are for everybody. Let everybody pay. The homeowner is already inconvenienced by having the sidewalk and maintaining it (shoveling snow) why should we pick on them exclusive to pay for the thing. More importantly, why charge by the linear foot so those inconvenienced by having more side walk to shovel must pay more taxes.

George Lippencott 5 years, 5 months ago

Where did the idea come from that the homeowners get money for the sidewalk when they sell the house?? I suspect that a sidewalk in Lawrence detracts form the price of the home.

GardenMomma 5 years, 5 months ago

You said it Moderate. I have about 10 feet of sidewalk in front of my house (unless you also count the driveway entrance, then make it 30 feet). Why should I pay the same as my neighbor who has three times as much sidewalk in front of her house?

What about those who live on the side of the street that does not have a sidewalk? Some neighborhoods have a sidewalk only on one side of the street. What about retail? Maybe they should pay a fee for parking lot square footage too? Some parking lots could certainly use maintenance (e.g. 9th & Iowa by Royal Crest Lanes.)

gr 5 years, 5 months ago

"The decline in property values — the overall decline was 0.8 percent — sent city budget-makers searching for ways to generate revenue for 2010."

Why do we never see statements such as:

The increase in property values — the overall increase was 3.8 percent — sent city budget-makers searching for ways to decrease revenue for xxxx

...rather than...

spending $300,000 to study what to do with the "excess" revenue?

Why, whether an increase or decrease in revenue, is there always someone spending hundreds of thousands of dollars for bogus reasons? Fraud and waste, I guess, and the economy is just an excuse to implement it.

gl0ck0wn3r 5 years, 5 months ago

lolz. So, Lawrence has increased sales taxes and plans to increase other taxes (fees) to cover all sorts of services during a period in which business and residential growth is stalling. Brilliant! Good to see Hecklerbot got in his usual paste about the schools despite the fact it has really nothing to do with the topic at hand... and then suggests spending tax money is cool as long as the spending is in his neighborhood... Hypocritical much?

Chris Ogle 5 years, 5 months ago

I am sure Downtown would be exempt from the sidewalk tax... they don't pay for parking lots, outside lighting, or many other items that are required by site plan.... Why would they pay this one??

John Hamm 5 years, 5 months ago

"The budget includes some new projects, including $300,000 to study and possibly design a new West Lawrence recreation center near Wakarusa and Overland drives." AAAAAUUUUUGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!

Fred Whitehead Jr. 5 years, 5 months ago

The incompetant city commission has traditionally spent the community into oblivion with it's curious notions implanted by consultants they have hired (Lawrence city comissioners have barely enough intellect to buy enough yard signs to get elected) Now the elephant in the room is delivered by such incompetance as wildly embracing and building roundabouts, because the elite and effite European models they have seen are doing it. As a result of city elections that no one pays any attention to, we find ourselves with such abysmal leadership as Mr. Core-less and his cronies, who now are stumbling to find money in difficult times to preserve their jobs and raises. As the opening shot in this discourse stated, "What a crock". But folks, as long as you continue to elect these dismal personalities to city government, as long as we have a city government system that disallows true representation, as long as city elected officials continue to ignore the citizen input and concern, we will have this situation and we will continue to be screwed without even being kissed.

Alexander Neighbors 5 years, 5 months ago

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

Sigmund 5 years, 5 months ago

frwent (Anonymous) says… "The incompetant city commission has traditionally spent the community into oblivion with it's curious notions implanted by consultants they have hired (Lawrence city comissioners have barely enough intellect to buy enough yard signs to get elected) Now the elephant in the room is delivered by such incompetance as wildly embracing and building roundabouts, because the elite and effite European models they have seen are doing it. As a result of city elections that no one pays any attention to, we find ourselves with such abysmal leadership as Mr. Core-less and his cronies, who now are stumbling to find money in difficult times to preserve their jobs and raises. As the opening shot in this discourse stated, “What a crock”. But folks, as long as you continue to elect these dismal personalities to city government, as long as we have a city government system that disallows true representation, as long as city elected officials continue to ignore the citizen input and concern, we will have this situation and we will continue to be screwed without even being kissed."

Nothing to add here, frwent FTW.

gsxr600 5 years, 5 months ago

Where's the money to fix the %#*$ing terrible streets in Lawrence?

LadyJ 5 years, 5 months ago

I know there is stimulis money for buildings sidewalks, can that money not be used for repairing them?

purplesage 5 years, 5 months ago

Baloney. That's BAH - LOW - NEEE.

What on earth do they do with the thousand, no, millions, collected from property and sales taxes, returned from less local levels of government to fund projects, etc. etc.

And it doesn't just apply to the city. School systems are not exempt. Neither are courts. Now, there's a rip. The fines are enough to get somebody's attention. What about the ludicrous fees that the court charges. It is criminal.

Governmet is burdensome. Time to say enough. But then, we elected Obama.

Matthew Herbert 5 years, 5 months ago

let me translate for those who might be optimistic: You get to pay a fee now to maintain the sidewalk and the city will take that money and never maintain anyones sidewalk. Then, in a couple years when we get a new mayor, they will cancel the fee and your broken-up, poorly maintained sidewalk will once again be YOUR problem to deal with. As the owner of a corner lot (highest fee bracket) with NO SIDEWALK anywhere on my property, let me express my disgust with this joke of a tax.

Thats_messed_up 5 years, 5 months ago

QUIT WASTING OUR MONEY ON RIDICULOUSLY UNNEEDED ROUNDABOUTS IDIOTS! Like the two on O'Connell Road!

lionheart72661 5 years, 5 months ago

So then the city can get off their butts in the winter and come out and shovel the sidwalks too instead of charging the residents for not shoveling. Boils down to one word "GREED"

valgrlku 5 years, 5 months ago

Hipper than HIp -

That's exactly what I thought. If the fee is attached to the water bill, which many renters pay, the actual property owner of a rental wouldn't pay anything to maintain the sidewalks. Why not tack the fee onto the property taxes? Why decided to charge everyone, when some property owners who can afford to maintain the sidewalks choose not to?

My water bill as a single renter averages $60+ per month, with only $12 or so for actual water usage. The rest is comprised of sewer (maybe 5 flushes a day), "stormwater removal," taxes, and trash (once a week, in a dumpster that 13 units use - do the math there - $18 per unit per month). I feel I already pay enough...

been_there 5 years, 5 months ago

Renters use a lot of city services that are paid for by the property owners. If a renter has kids in school, it is the property owners paying for their education.

dontcallmedan 5 years, 5 months ago

Waka1: "Welcome to the Socialist Republik of Lawrence." Signs of dain bramage?

tir 5 years, 5 months ago

The sidewalk fee idea is not really a bad one, except I think everyone who pays a utility bill should have to contribute, not just property owners, because there are a lot of people who use the walks who don't own any property. And after all, property owners are the ones who have to shovel the walks in winter and pick up the trash left behind by thoughtless pedestrians (of whom there are many) and that's a lot of free labor we're required to provide.

Too bad Dave Corliss didn't implement something like this before the city forced me to replace my sidewalk last year at my own expense. It cost me $1500 and I had to pay it all at once to a contractor, not in measly 25-cent increments like Corliss is talking about charging. Small wonder I feel as if I got screwed over by the City, since I had to shell out a large sum like that on the spot, and now Corliss is planning to fix everyone else's broken sidewalk for what amounts to chump change, paid on a monthly basis. And I know I'm not the only one who got screwed over, either. A lot of people have been summarily ordered to replace their sidewalks in the past couple of years whether they could afford it or not.

Personally, I think all the property owners who have been forced to replace their walks at their own expense should be EXEMPT from paying the sidewalk fee for the rest of our lives! We have already paid way more to fix our sidewalks than we ever would have to pay under your fee proposal. Don't believe me? Do the math--I figure I paid the equivalent of 500 YEARS WORTH of 25-cent monthly sidewalk fees. I should live so long! The fact that I paid it to a contractor instead of the City doesn't matter--it was still money that the City forced me to shell out to fix the walk so they wouldn't have to.

I hope that all the property owners who got stuck paying sidewalk replacement costs like I did will show up at the City Commission meeting when they discuss this and demand an exemption from the fee. At the very least we deserve that!

Richard Heckler 5 years, 5 months ago

Absolutely use the money to repair/maintain/improve existing resources NOT to create a new tax increasing item.

maf3789 5 years, 5 months ago

I live over here in east lawrence, behind harper street as a matter of fact. The city put in a new sidewalk that goes from harper down to east lawrence center, lots of folks walk dogs, have strollers that use that sidewalk. I didnt know east 15th street needed sidewalks on both sides of street, what it needs is a stop light at 15th and haskell. the east lawrence center is a hub for kids and adults on this side of town, i just love it.

mcontrary 5 years, 5 months ago

Hurrah! At last the city is waking up on how to maintian sidewalks. Thank goodnes.

budwhysir 5 years, 5 months ago

If we had more people fixing things, and less people studying the need to fix things, not so many things would be broken. I believe the major item that is broken is the SYSTEM. Our system for taxation and government spending is at an all time high of confusion

Chris Ogle 5 years, 5 months ago

budwhysir: you are Oh so right... grasshopper

Rae Hudspeth 5 years, 5 months ago

Wait, what? charging little kids to use a City Park wading pool?

What's next? 25 cents to ride the swings?

and funding a "study" for Recreation on the side of town that can afford recreation.. bad deal.
Hand us a buck apiece and our own "Study" will tell you that it's not needed, end of subject.

Rae Hudspeth 5 years, 5 months ago

damn... posted too soon...

so.. we're also going to fund hiring someone to collect the $1 for each little kid that uses a city park to cool off? How's THAT supposed to work?

MIke Mallory 5 years, 5 months ago

Well I think they should raise our taxes, thats right, I am willing to pay more for better streets, rec centers and parks, it will bring more people to town, Come on, will it really kill you to pay a few extra bucks a month to support your community. And by the way, I am not one of the wealthy either. Lets pay up and make this city one to be proud of!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dayna Lee 5 years, 5 months ago

I have a long running joke with a lot of people that says that I am willing to give my kids anything as long as it's a dollar. I'd give a dollar for sidewalks. (I don't even have one on my side of the street.) What I won't pay for is $300,000 "studies". Doesn't anyone on the commission have a degree in anything? Come on, aren't there any developers that owe this city a favor and could give us some advice free??? People tell me how to do my job everyday and give me tons of free advice, doesn't anyone with experience just like this town and want to help out with city development and planning?

Alexander Neighbors 5 years, 5 months ago

well they need to make up the money they spent on the YH witch hunt....

Lee Eldridge 5 years, 5 months ago

I'm a supporter of less taxes and smaller government generally, but I have to admit that the sidewalk tax makes sense to me. The home owner didn't choose to have the sidewalk. I would guess most, if not all, would prefer not to have one in front of their house. Sidewalks are a community benefit, not a home owner benefit. In my neighborhood, it's on the other side of the street. My kids use it virtually every day. Yet it's my neighbors responsibility to care for them, and not mine.

I'm not against a new rec center either. Though not exactly sure why we would spend $300k to research it.

vinividivici 5 years, 1 month ago

been there: Who the heck do you think property owners get there money from????? Do you not think all these tax increases makes rent for properties increase?

lawthing 5 years, 1 month ago

I am going to place a troll on my sidewalk and he will collect money from anyone who dares to cross it.

Godot 5 years, 1 month ago

I agree with the first comment. What a crock!!

Cut the budget by 10%. Do not give bonuses. Do not spend $300,000 on a study to study whether to spend several million that we do not have.

Taxing homeowners for other peoples' failure to maintain their sidewalks? Does that mean the city will reimburse me for the money I spent to repair the sidewalk in front of my property?

and this, the mother of all "crocks" "The decline in property values — the overall decline was 0.8 percent — sent city budget-makers searching for ways to generate revenue for 2010."

You have got to be blind, incompetent or insane to believe that property values in Lawrence decreased by less than one percent in the last year,

Corliss, Chestnut, and others are bathing in denial river.

tbaker 5 years, 1 month ago

Elections have consequences - even the local ones.

Didn't I just see a blog about city employees getting bonuses this year on top of this madness? Remember this and vote against these commissars next time.

Ralph Reed 5 years, 1 month ago

Let's see. I don't have a sidewalk, but am going to pay for one.

I don't have waste water runoff, but have to pay for it.

The roads suck in my neighborhood, but I'm told it will be a cold day in H*ll before they're fixed. Evidently, the roads have to be completely rebuilt from the bed up. In addition, the City's attitude is that anything benefiting my neighbor also benefits Haskell which ain't gonna happen because Haskell doesn't pay taxes. (true statement)

Yet, the City is probably going to foot the bill to reroute 11 Street for the KU Athletic Corporation, Inc.

$300K to "study" the feasibility of a rec center near Dragstrip Road and Overland. That's a waste of money. Where the H*ll is Overland Drive anyway?

I've also got a better deal for people than the $1 to use the wading pool in South Park. I'm putting one of the plastic splash pools in my front yard. 50 cents a head to use it - at your own risk of course, just like the South Park wading pool.

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