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Letters to the Editor

Growing the tax base

March 7, 2009

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To the editor:

Recently, the Parks and Recreation Department has been advertising for Lawrence residents to volunteer to plant flowers downtown. Great idea. I volunteered along with two others. Looking forward to it. I like to see things grow, as in downtown Lawrence and the rest of town.

From time to time, we need to remind ourselves of what we’ve got here. As I’ve said before, sometimes you can’t see the quarter because the nickel is too close to your eye.

After a five-year fight to get Wal-Mart out at Sixth and Wakarusa, what’s next for the city? If Lawrence, Kansas, home of the Jayhawks, needs to rely on volunteers for needed services, something is wrong. Aren’t Wal-Mart and all the other entities that eventually locate out there going to pay taxes? What about the $37 million the Fritzels and their investors are spending on The Oread project?

The city needs to quit putting roadblocks in front of farsighted developers who increase the tax base. Come on, city commissioners. Take down the yellow police tape that surrounds our town. Let’s be the best. Let’s go green. Let’s get a tax base in here.

Dennis Barritt,
Lawrence

Comments

ocean 5 years, 1 month ago

thanks just another bozo -----

mentioning the Oread subsidies of $11million in TIF funding from the City special sales tax for the TIF district was omitted from the LTE here.

this letter is wrong. the hotel is not going to produce a huge net increse in hotel sales taxes but rather take away from the other hotel revenues.

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parrotuya 5 years, 1 month ago

It is spelled: t-a-x a-b-a--t-e-m-e-n-t.

Now, where is my tax cut!

More tax cuts for the wealthy!

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BigPrune 5 years, 1 month ago

Bozo's "progressive" policies have created "pave it over." Isn't it ironic and stupid?

Why yes, it is.

I thought Lawrence was full of smart people. Obviously this isn't the case.

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camper 5 years, 1 month ago

What would Darwin say? I think he has been debunked long ago....just like Freud and Neitsche. But I think Darwin said that superiority ultimately leads to extinction.....while studying various sea invertebrates.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 1 month ago

"Another reason why Lawrence is known nationally as one of the worst cities to do business in the entire United States of America."

Yep, you pave-it-over types repeat that mantra so often I'm sure that like-minded folks elsewhere probably believe it, so you've created a self-fulfilling prophesy. But we have enough folks of that mindset here that if others aren't flocking here in droves, so much the better.

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BigPrune 5 years, 1 month ago

here's some cut and paste so MY message doesn't get buried behind some of Merrill's retread posts.

That's b.s. bozo and you know it.

It's just another example that Lawrence is business unfriendly, and I might add it is also a big reason why there are vacancies throughout town. The old parking lots are no longer large enough in order to fill vacancies.

It is over-regulation run amok. Another reason why Lawrence is known nationally as one of the worst cities to do business in the entire United States of America.

Brought to us by the close minded “Progressives.”

One day, Lawrence will open its eyes and realize why the world has passed us by. Thie root of our problems weren't caused by the national economy. This has been going on for years in Lawrence, and it's all home grown.

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Richard Heckler 5 years, 1 month ago

Think about this when home builders want to build more homes which do not pay for themselves:

Donovan Scruggs, Ocean Springs director of community development and planning, said the city's current budget. crunch can be tied directly to infrastructure expenses needed to serve new housing developments.

"If residential growth paid for itself and was financially positive, we would not be in a budget crunch," Scruggs said. "But with increased numbers of houses you have increased demand on services, and historically the funding of revenues generated by single-family housing does not pay for the services, they require from a municipality."

Scruggs said there have been two studies done on impact fees. One 100-page study was on services for police and fire protection, administration and parks. A second study was done on infrastructure related impacts on roads, water and water.

The current proposal calls for the fees to be collected separately.

"We want. to make sure we tie the fees as closely as possible to when the demand is being generated," Scruggs said. "Water and sewer fees would be collected when the subdivision is constructed. Services more related to occupancy and homes being constructed would be collected later. For example, no one will have a need for a park until there are kids in that neighborhood."

While developers pay for onsite water, sewer and road infrastructure, Scruggs said it is costly to pay for offsite upgrades needed, such as enlarging lift stations and raising water towers.

"Now if we have to upgrade a lift station, it is paid for by the general fund revenue paid by each taxpayer in the city," Scruggs said. "Someone on the west side of town would have to pay for subsidizing the growth in demand caused by the development in the east part of town."

The eastern part of town is where the greatest residential growth is being seen. Scruggs said there has been so much growth in recent years that the city has to elevate its water towers to keep pressure at adequate levels. "That was a direct result caused by the growth," he said.

Scruggs said that impact fees are legal if they are done properly.

"Madison's impact fee program had problems," Scruggs said. "Ours will not have those problems. It can be done right."

Ocean Springs had 120 homes constructed in 2000, 90 in 2001 and is on track to have 120 homes constructed in 2002. If impact fees had been collected on the 310 homes built in three years, the city would have extra revenues of about $2.1 million.

In order for the city to have orderly growth, developers need to be responsible for a certain amount of the infrastructure. Most builders understand impact fees are for a purpose that improves their development."

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BigPrune 5 years, 1 month ago

That's b.s. bozo and you know it.

It's just another example that Lawrence is business unfriendly, and I might add it is also a big reason why there are vacancies throughout town. The old parking lots are no longer large enough in order to fill vacancies.

It is over-regulation run amok. Another reason why Lawrence is known nationally as one of the worst cities to do business in the entire United States of America.

Brought to us by the close minded "Progressives."

One day, Lawrence will open its eyes and realize why the world has passed us by. Thie root of our problems weren't caused by the national economy. This has been going on for years in Lawrence, and it's all home grown.

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Richard Heckler 5 years, 1 month ago

Dennis Barritt is a local home builder who obviously wants to build more homes in spite of the situation regarding homes and jobs going down the tubes. Bedroom communities are too expensive.

Yep boom town economics is over and never can sustain itself. It's like living an illusion. It's like a Bush administration economic mismanagement team thinking only on a local level.

Lawrence powers that be have flooded all of the markets to the point that Lawrence experiences economic displacement rather than economic growth. While at the same time increasing our cost to live in Lawrence without enough new revenue to cover the expanded physical growth = fiscal irresponsibility

Consultants advised Lawrence commissioners of this flooded market situation a few years ago commissioners chose to live in denial.

More new retail cannot magically create more spending in Lawrence,Kansas. Why? Because the number of spenders does not change. Therefore this expanding the tax base talk is bogus. Lawrence,Kansas cannot afford more retail which makes our situation unfriendly to business across the board.

Does expanding the tax base necessarily create new economic growth? Absolutely NOT!

Does expanding infrastructure to accomodate the tax base expansion necessarily increase tax bills...absolutely YES!

It's like a Bush administration economic mismanagement team thinking only on a local level.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 1 month ago

BigPrune-- the parking lot regs were never a result of being "green." Quite the opposite-- they are a reaction to folks like you who need to have a 2 1/2 ton vehicle to buy toilet paper.

BTW, nearly everything Wal-Mart does is "greenwashing," not "green."

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BigPrune 5 years, 1 month ago

I love how Lawrence has gone "green." If you want to build something new, you have to put in a parking lot twice the size that you'd have to in the past. This creates more storm water run off and more impervious surfaces to tax our aging storm sewer infrastructure. Plus the added asphalt requires more oil. But, that's okay, we can still claim to be "green."

It's kind of like Walmart when they went out on South Iowa. They went "green" and even had an article in Time Magazine about their "green" Lawrence, KS store. Their roof was made out of wood (those poor defenseless trees), and their parking lot was made out of recycled tires, and their power was from clean burning electricity (not natural gas). I also remember the rumor their recyclables were trucked directly to the city dump. Sounds pretty green, just like Lawrence.

I never recycle. I enjoy feeding the earth with my garbage so our future generations a few million years from now can have oil for their cars. If someone asked me if I was "green" I'd say, "Hell yes!"

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barrypenders 5 years, 1 month ago

What if non-productive people became productive?

What would Darwin say?

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gl0ck0wn3r 5 years, 1 month ago

How would Gwen fill all her spare time if she didn't have all those studies and regulations to read? It would be terrible if she actually spent that time trying to organize her own finances.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 1 month ago

While your volunteering to work on the flower beds is a noble gesture, there's absolutely no evidence that the new Wal-Mart and other development at that intersection, or the new hotel, will lead to any net increase in tax collections -- how much of the new Wal-Mart's sales will come at the expense of the existing Wal-Mart and other retailers; will there be a net increase in the number of hotel rooms rented, or will other hotels in town who aren't receiving tax subsidies see reductions in their numbers of patrons? And what are the costs for the expanded infrastructure and its long-term maintenance as well as for city services that all this new development will require? Do the taxes the city collects from these new developments come even close to covering the costs associated with them, let alone producing anything extra for other purposes, such as flower beds?

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commuter 5 years, 1 month ago

Dennis we can't remove the yellow tape. What would Richard Heckler, Gwen, and their merry band of misfits do to entertain themselves????

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