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Archive for Thursday, August 19, 2010

County OKs nearly 3 mill tax increase

August 19, 2010

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Despite pleas from residents to not raise property taxes, two Douglas County commissioners held firm to a $69 million budget and the 2.993 mill increase that came with it.

Close to 30 residents addressed county commissioners Wednesday night as they gave final approval of the 2011 budget. More than half of those residents asked the commission to not raise taxes for anything but the bare essentials.

Many of them voiced support for Commissioner Jim Flory’s amendment to reduce the budget by $862,000, doing away with the two $350,000 allotments that would go toward economic development and preserving the county’s heritage and open space. Flory’s amendment also would have taken away $162,372 that had been budgeted for employee merit bonuses.

Douglas County resident Danny Johnson said that with the recent recession he was “astounded” the commissioners were looking to boost property taxes.

“I think it is really poor timing to increase taxes for anything that is not an absolute necessity,” he said.

Others defended the need for funneling money to programs that promoted job growth, tourism and preserving the county’s agricultural character.

With the approaching 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, local John Brown portrayer Kerry Altenbernd said that Douglas County has a chance to capitalize on a wave of tourism.

“If we fail to do this now, protect our heritage and open spaces and put it off a few more years, we may not have this advantage, we may not have this chance again,” he said.

In the end, Commission Chairwoman Nancy Thellman and Commissioner Mike Gaughan approved the budget as it was proposed. Flory voted against it.

The approval will add $51.63 to the property tax bill for the owner of a $150,000 home. Flory’s amendment would have reduced that amount by about $13.

Flory said he wasn’t against efforts to promote job growth, the county’s heritage or preserve open space. But he believed they should be supported by a sales tax that is approved by voters.

Both Gaughan and Thellman said their constituents have voiced support for economic development and historic and open-space preservation.

“It is part of our responsibility to have a vision for our whole community and not just talk about it, but act on it,” Thellman said. “We have tremendous opportunities around us. We are taking modest steps to begin to bring some of that vision to life for our community.

Comments

TrooGrit 3 years, 8 months ago

"The approval will add $51.63 to the property tax bill for the owner of a $150,000 home. Flory’s amendment would have reduced that amount by about $13."

I can only surmise jfizel, that your $6 figure is what you calculate that is a month. But you totally neglected the fact the school board is asking for roughly the same size increase in mill levy, the city commission has already indicated that water and trash bills will rise about 15%, and the utility board has already granted Westar one rate hike, with another being considered. Black Hills was granted an increase as well, although fairly small. You add all that up, mr. big spender, and it's wayyyy more than $6 a month.

I don't feel you have a keen appreciation for the strain that a lot of people's budgets are undergoing right now, and for you to paint the sky blue, and the birds singing and say it's only $6 its rather disingenuous, if not downright delusional! We've had your kind of government from and of the left for awhile now, and I think a lot of us are saying, we don't want that kind of government, we want our leaders to actually listen to us, instead of presume to know what's best for us and to totally ignore us!

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kansasmutt 3 years, 8 months ago

jfizel ) People like you are just what the county is being lead by. People who do not have a clue of what other people are dealing with. That FN $6.00 could mean life and death for an 80 year old women who needs meds she cant buy.YEA, times are that FN tough dic$weed. You my friend are a fool and ignorant to the real world. This stupid @$s county leadership is a FN joke.They could care less if our old folks die or not. They are selfish, blind idiots. When the day comes to meet at those pearly gates, the judge over all of us will look back and say "your one of those people who didnt care about your fellow man" look down at the nice warm spot we saved for you.Come on down, the heat is on.

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Practicality 3 years, 8 months ago

No response jfizell?

Just blah, blah, blah, then somehow it is Bush's fault that the county commisioners raised the mill?

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pizzapete 3 years, 8 months ago

Douglas County resident Danny Johnson said that with the recent recession he was “astounded” the commissioners were looking to boost property taxes. “I think it is really poor timing to increase taxes for anything that is not an absolute necessity,” he said. Agreed Mr Johnson, poor timing indeed.

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Practicality 3 years, 8 months ago

jfizell,

Please explain how these "down payments" are going to do what you think they will do. Just saying it doesn't make it so. And, I fail to see how bringing GWB into the conversation has anything to do with anything concerning this. Are you trying to say it is GWB who is responsible for raising the mill tax?

Further, FYI, Mr. Gaughan was not elected, he was appointed.

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Jason Fizell 3 years, 8 months ago

Thanks to the political leadership and courage of Commissioners Nancy Thellman and Mike Gaughan Douglas County's long-term INVESTMENT -- in both economic development and historic preservation and land conservation -- that will improve and ensure our future economic growth and sustainability.

In fact, we're talking only ~$6 towards each of these important undertakings for a $150K household. If that's going to break the bank, you've got larger concerns to address closer to home. I mean really, that's the price of a foot-long sub and chips!

Frankly, your "just say no crowd" of anti-tax, anti-communitarian zealots are always against any such community investment projects, no matter the timing or situation. The fact is, it was your political leadership (GWB) and governing philosophy (deregulation, corporatism, and slashing taxes on the rich) that dug our nation into this hole -- so don't think you can just start pointing fingers at those who inherited your mess and are endeavoring to dig us back out!

Without a doubt, it takes vision, foresight, and commitment to turn-around a country and community mired in hard times; moreover, to make make a true and long-lasting recovery, we must learn from our mistakes and lay the ground work for a return to greatness and a revival of community spirit. These $350,000 down payments won't do that alone, but they're far better than simply sitting on our hands -- mostly carping anonymously on this forum -- about a situation that your "do-nothing" approach has not only created, but does nothing to fix.

Finally, by making these long-term investments -- in growth, prosperity, and the preservation of what as made our community great -- our County Commission is simply fulfilling the past promise of the collaborative efforts of ECO2 as well as what they they promised to do when we elected them to do this difficult job on our behalf. For that, I say bravo!

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gr3sam 3 years, 8 months ago

Jim: Thanks for being a voice of reason among fools.

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Practicality 3 years, 8 months ago

Sigh,

This was predictable. Like the other poster voiced, this is not the only increase people are having to contend with.

Mr. Altenbernd. I appreciate history more than most people I know, it is one of my favorite hobbies. I don't think that Lawrence attracts a large group of tourists because of it though. I think the people who attend are mostly locals. Most civil war people tour big battle fields on the East coast and in the south, where they can see multiple sites all within short driving distances from each other. I understand that you love that stuff, but it would probably be better to seek donations and sponsorship from business or maybe even KU could kick in some money.

People are worried about money. They believe that government is not recognizing their plight. I haven't any idea what preserving the "open space" even means. All one has to do is get in a car and take a short drive in any direction to see plenty of open space and farmland. There are also two big lakes within 20 minutes of Lawrence.

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toe 3 years, 8 months ago

Easily predicted. The lack of non government workers has always spelled success for any tax increase.

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avoice 3 years, 8 months ago

As for a wave of tourism, don't hold your breath. No one in the vicinity is going to have the wherewithal in the near future to spend any money on vacations -- or even staycations -- in Douglas County, Kansas.

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TrooGrit 3 years, 8 months ago

I totally agree with all the comments so far, and I know, because I was one of those constituents who contacted both Thellman and Gaughan to make my opposition to any spending increase known, at this time. I'd fairly certain the opposition likely ran about 2 to 1 against the increased spending, yet, here we are, bend over again residents of Douglas, the all-knowing, all-seeing, all powerful government is gonna give it to you again!

Jim Flory is the only one with a brain, is what I would have to conclude. Nancy and Jim - OUT next election!

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cheeseburger 3 years, 8 months ago

Many more of your constituents spoke in opposition to tax increases and funding for heritage, but you chose to hear what you wanted to hear. Very, very disappointed in Thellman - I would never have guessed she could have left her religious upbringing and practices behind in favor of deceit and poor representation and waste.

Jim - we appreciate your efforts to hold the line. You'll be fighting an uphill battle until we can replace at least one of those tax-and-spend liberals on the commission, which hopefully won't be very difficult come next election.

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kansasmutt 3 years, 8 months ago

"" Both Gaughan and Thellman said their constituents have voiced support for economic development and historic and open-space preservation."" This statement taken from above shows you they only listen to the ones who back them. I have yet to hear ANYONE who supported raising any tax. They think , owh its only $53.00 . Well, you add that to the extra $50.00 a month electric bill increase, the $30.00 a month gas increase , the $25.00 a month water increase, the $180.00 a year school tax increase , the $70.00 a month health insurance increase , the extra 1% sales tax increase , the extra 28% a month food price increase , the fact wages have went down 15% , the fact many are out of work and you spell doom for many in Douglas County thanks to those 2 idiots . I dont honestly know if i have ever seen 2 more people so out of touch with reality EVER !!!!

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jmadison 3 years, 8 months ago

Seven hundred grand down the drain. Will the county be enumerating the business closures as a result of higher costs of business due to this scheme?

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