Archive for Thursday, July 8, 2010

Douglas County to consider ‘jaw-dropper’ property tax increase of 16.6 percent

The Douglas County commission is considering a proposal that would raise property taxes. The extra money would help restore funds cut from social services.

July 8, 2010, 4:31 p.m. Updated July 13, 2010, 2:51 p.m.


A combination of dwindling revenues, ongoing state and federal cuts and increasing community needs have Douglas County Administrator Craig Weinaug proposing what would be the largest property tax increase in his more than three decades in local government.

Budget hearings ahead

Representatives of departments, agencies and programs that receive money from Douglas County government are scheduled to make their cases to county commissioners for financing in the 2011 county budget.

Hearings begin at 8 a.m. and continue through 10:30 a.m. at the Douglas County Courthouse, 1100 Mass.:

Monday: Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center; Emergency Communications; Information Technology; Sheriff; Public Works; Destination Management Inc.; Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department.

Tuesday: Emergency Management; District Attorney; Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical; Jayhawk Area Agency on Aging; potentially others requested by commissioners.

July 19: Community Corrections and courts; administrative issues, including employee pay/benefits, Capital Improvement Program, Building Fund; discussion of heritage, open space and economic-development initiatives.

July 20: Discuss decisions on changes to budget.

July 26 and 27: Additional hearings, if necessary.

And that’s just fine with him, as a starting point for deliberations.

“This budget does not defer public costs to future years,” Weinaug said of his proposed spending plan for 2011. “It does, in fact, play catch-up.”

The budget, which would allocate $69.5 million for the county’s public services, projects and reserve funds, calls for a property tax increase of 16.6 percent.

Among other things, the additional money would:

• Cover a $1 million decline in revenues generated by mortgage taxes.

• Help agencies such as Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center and Douglas County Community Corrections recover from revenue cuts from state and federal sources.

• Restore $500,000 to the county’s Capital Improvement Program, which finances major road projects, building maintenance and other projects.

• Pump $500,000 into a new economic-development fund, plus another $500,000 into a new fund to purchase and promote preservation and use of open space and other so-called “heritage” assets and activities.

To do all that and more, commissioners would need to increase the county’s property-tax rate by 5.44 mills. With a mill equal to $1 of tax for every $1,000 of a property’s assessed valuation, the boost would cost the owner of a $150,000 home another $93.84 in property taxes.

“I know it’s a jaw-dropper,” said Nancy Thellman, commission chairwoman. “I also know that these are extraordinary times. … We’ll end up with some kind of increase, but I don’t know how much.”

Commissioners plan to conduct budget hearings during the next two weeks, to review and possibly adjust specifics for spending and revenue generation. They plan to formally approve their budget next month.

“I think it’s highly likely there will be a slight mill levy increase, just to provide the essential services that we need to provide,” Commissioner Jim Flory said.

Other local governments are mulling tax increases as well. The Lawrence school district is discussing prospects for boosting its property tax rates for 2011, and while Lawrence city commissioners are considering a proposed budget that would hold the line on municipal property taxes, they will review possibilities for increasing rates for water, sewer and trash services.

City commissioners also have agreed to have Lawrence voters decide in November whether they want to increase property tax bills by 2 mills to finance construction and operations of an $18 million expansion to the Lawrence Public Library. The construction tab would be paid off during the next 20 years.

County Commissioner Mike Gaughan said that while the county’s revenue sources continue to deteriorate, community needs do not.

And while state government can and will continue cutting its own spending, he said, taxpayers will be left to pick up many of those costs on their local tax bills.

“If communities value the services that they receive, then local government needs to step up to the plate and find the revenue for that,” Gaughan said.


KU_cynic 5 years ago

School board wants an increase, city wants an increase, county wants an increase . . . sales tax already higher . . .

It's time to say "No, live within your means like the citizens are doing."

Stuart Evans 5 years ago

don't forget that the president wants an increase too!

gatekeeper 5 years ago

Only if you make over $250K. Most of us aren't affected and I wouldn't really care if my taxes went up some if I made that kind of money.

Sean Livingstone 5 years ago

The increase for those making over $250k is going to affect many of those who provide jobs, like myself. If I still have to provide healthcare, that will be a cost to my business. Honestly, for my business, instead of expanding my profit, I plan to scale down a little so that my income will fall under a lower tax bracket, and thus I will pay less tax as a result. Simple but true... did I benefit from Bush's tax cuts? Yes, I did but not much. The solution has to be cutting back expenses in areas where it matters the most, like the military and medicare. For job creation, the administration shouldn't focus on income tax increase on certain growing sectors. The extremely profitable sectors may be able to afford more of these taxes.

akuna 5 years ago

It doesn't makes sense to scale back for a couple of reasons.

First, the higher tax that the President is suggesting only applies to monies over $250k. Income taxes use graduated tax scheme; it has been like this for years and years and years. All the profit (personal income) you make up to $250k is taxed at a lower rate. Personal income over $250k is taxed at a higher rate. If you make $260k, you only pay higher taxes on $10k.

Second, if you expand your business and make a larger profit and really don't want to pay more in taxes on the amount over $250k, you can give your employees a bonus. Then it is off of your books, and your employees will love you. Or if you are an S-Corp, you can hold onto that money in the business. You won't have to pay income tax on the money until you actually pay yourself.

brianjay1 5 years ago

You don't know what you are talking about! Taxes flow through the S Corp to the owner even if they are held in the business.

impska 5 years ago

You would care. You'd be earning 250K, working for 250K, and handing about half of it over in taxes to various government bodies. You would care about every single tax increase. Unless you're a saint - in which case, you've already taken a vow of poverty and spend your life working for free, helping the needy of the world.

akuna 5 years ago

Wrong. You'd only be paying 50% (if that number is correct) on the amount you make over $250k.

Michael Throop 5 years ago

So, gatekeeper, you are confident The State is the best arbiter for how much in income is ok to confiscate, because someone, in the opinion of The State, won't miss it? Why not a higher rate for people at $100,000, $50,000-that's a lot of money for someone working for minimum wage. Why is it acceptable to punish success, at least as measured through income?

gatekeeper 5 years ago

Sure, set different tax rates for different levels of pay. Totally cool with that.

Face it, we have to pay taxes. Those that make big bucks should pay more. I pay more percentage wise in SS taxes than someone making 250K. Let them pay more in standard taxes.

Or don't like that, tax the sh*t out of luxury items.

Who do you think should decide tax rates?

Michael Throop 5 years ago

There are different tax rates for different income, in case you haven't noticed.As for social security rates, there's also a cutoff in the top level of benefits, but no one talks about that, anyway, social security, by FDR's admission, was only supposed to be a supplement for pension money, not the whole retirement package.It is not simply a win-lose situation, where the "rich" win and everyone loses.The "rich" already pay the majority of federal taxes. As for state taxes, I live in Missouri and work in Kansas. Why should I pay for your benefits?

gatekeeper 5 years ago

Also, why don't we have corporations pay fair taxes? We give them all kinds of breaks. Then they take their headqrts to Caribbean nations and pay nothing.

Just another way the rich f*ck the little man. So yes, those with more should pay more.

I know a few business owners that bought themselves really nice luxury SUV's because good old rich boy Bush set up a big tax break for them to do this. They bought them under their company's names, got a nice break and drive them for their personal use. The tax break should have been for business vehicles likes vans and delivery trucks, but Bush had it set up so all vehicles over a certain weight were included so luxury SUV's were included.

The rich NEED to pay their fair share.

Michael Throop 5 years ago

and I will say again, without reference to your attempt at class-mongering: 'FAIR"..decided by whom, administered by whom,. by what yardstick, measured by what consequences, good or bad? Name the business owners BY NAME who have, in your opinion, illegitimately profited in these times. You can't, because they're in your imagination. But, blaming George Bush..well, I'd expect that,except your president promised hope and change, and has delivered NEITHER, even with Pelosi and Reid in charge. Are we better off than we were two years ago? Are you? Will State-confiscated higher taxes be the panacea?

jafs 5 years ago

I can't name names, however, there are a fair number of businesses that "offshore" their profits, which is legal, and deprives our government of revenue.

It is a stupid law, and should be changed. If a company does their business in this country and makes money from American consumers/customers, then it should not be able to simply locate an office in another country and send profits there without paying American taxes.

That's not "fair", in my opinion.

Matt Bowers 5 years ago

You pay less federal taxes today unless you make over $250k, then you did under Bush.

Boston_Corbett 5 years ago

Lets see how much KU_cynic's department's revenues will be reduced before he screams for stabilization assistance.

He complains about other departments at KU....but not his.

Oh, we are sorry, they are raising tuition at 3x inflation. He should be irate. But it is his salary. So he is protected.

He complains about local units, but not himself. Oh yes, he didn't get the money personally, but he has had no reduction in health care or retirement benefits, unlike other public employees.

Lets get the numbers out there KU_cynic. Which department is it? We can look up the budget from there.

Shardwurm 5 years ago

As an aside Boston, my own research shows that tuition has out-paced inflation by 400 percent in Kansas since 1980. That borders on criminal in my book.

sourpuss 5 years ago

Sometimes "living within your budget" means getting a better job/increasing revenue. Taxes are what pays for a city to run. If you want to live with other people, then you have to pay into the pot. I mean, for most people, even a large tax increase like this comes down to an iPod or a few nights out. Rework your own budget and make ends meet. If the economy can pick up, then things will turn around, but people have to work together to make that happen and stop thinking only about themselves.

jafs 5 years ago

At about $10/month for a $150,000 house, it's even less of a burden, I'd say.

brianjay1 5 years ago

AMEN! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH ALREADY! Now that they can't justify their 10% a year appraisal hikes this had to happen. God forbid we cut out the extra handouts and combine agencies for efficiencies like a well run business would do

sherbert 5 years ago

Whoa. Are they throwing that 5.44 mil increase out there so we'll think we're getting a good deal when they raise it 3? They've lost income because our homes have lost value, so the answer is to just raise our bill. Where do they think we're supposed to get it? We've lost major income too! We need to get jobs in this town or we're going to have to move, the ideal lifestyle of living in Lawrence is losing it's luster.

kansasredlegs 5 years ago

Time to modify your thought process. Government does not generate "income" they take it from our pockets and it's a tax. The terms "income" "revenue" "fee" are words used instead of TAX but that is exactly what it is... a TAX.

Mr. Weinaug, please adopt some new terms, the first being: Layoffs

geekyhost 5 years ago

I'll have to tell all those guys over on 23rd street now that they're not getting any income, since apparently the government only taxes.

Keith 5 years ago

Wait a minute, I have it on good authority from all the national republican leaders that the answer to declining revenues is always to lower taxes. Would someone please inform the local politicians of this important fact.

pace 5 years ago

The republicans created the current economic conditions and are blaming the democrats for not stopping them. Maybe we should look elsewhere than Republican tax cuts to the rich to ease the situation. I don't want to lose county services because someone want to not pay their share of taxes.

no_thanks 5 years ago

It's not due to tax cuts. The Federal Government has collected more in taxes every year in the 2000's, except for last year. The current Democrat President is running the largest budget deficit ever. Why? Because Government's simply don't know how to cut spending. It has reached ridiculous heights. Time to pay to play in my opinion. Cut spending and increase fees for City/County Services. No more property tax increases, no to an $18MM library, consolidate City and County Governments, sell the waste management division, consolidate the empT and KU Transit system, more talking, time to act.

kimmydarling 5 years ago

running the largest budget deficit ever. why?

Oh I have a few ideas. Bush's tax cuts were a HUGE part of our issue..oh..and that pesky war going on 10 years of being paid for. Thank God we got Mission Accomplished three years into it.

Obama has added to it, certainly..but he got handed a whole pile of crap and can't be expected to turn it into something golden in a short time

no_thanks 5 years ago

You do understand that the Federal Government has collected more in taxes during the Bush years, than during the Clinton years. Both sides are responsible, or irresponsible for continued excessive entitlement spending and inane pork filled budgets. Cut spending now!

jafs 5 years ago

Whatever Clinton did provided the only 4 years in the last 35 that produced budget surpluses instead of deficits.

We should do what he did.

absolutelyridiculous 5 years ago

I should have sold and moved this spring. Now I'll never sell my house and get out of this overvalued hell hole now. Let's remember that sales tax went up another 1% July 1st too.

Time to provide fewer services I would think.

absolutelyridiculous 5 years ago

Oh...and the cost to take your trash to the dump just went up too. Funny, because since I started recycling with Deffenbaugh, I have half the trash I used to.

motherof3children 5 years ago

Just give Deffenbaugh some time, They will show their true colors.

Jeanne Cunningham 5 years ago

Where is your house? I know two people who are looking for deals on houses. If something amenable could be worked out, maybe one of them (who want to be in Lawrence) could get you out of your house (and out of Lawrence).

gatekeeper 5 years ago

Key word you use is "deals". Those of us that want out of this town don't want to lose money on our houses. That's the problem - people want to pay less than the value of the home. Why I haven't sold mine yet. There are tons of houses on the market, but owners aren't stupid and won't take a loss on their home. Smarter to suck it up and keep living in this hell hole city than go in the red so others can get a "deal".

jafs 5 years ago

Well, the "value" of a house is subjective and market-related.

And in Lawrence I've felt that the real estate market has been inflated for some time, and overdue for a correction.

gccs14r 5 years ago

No kidding. A 50% downward correction across the board would be a good start. 75% is probably more like it. There is a lot of cookie-cutter crap built out of paste, cardboard, and watercolor that has all the structural integrity of a 1967 mobile home that is priced like it's built out of brick.

Michael Capra 5 years ago

bs bs bs cut all the waste in all ur departments and stop buying new crap all the time just so u can get more

tolawdjk 5 years ago

If you don't fund the $500,000 for the job development, then you don't need to fund the $500,000 to purchase "heritage" land because no new business will come in and try to develop it.

The status quo. It saves money.

Richard Payton 5 years ago

Jaw dropper ya think? Craig use to say property values had to appraise at fair market value. Fair market value would suggest lower property values if he read the local news that pending sales are down. If Craig continues his unfair tax more banks will be holding on to unseen inventory in Douglas County.

inglec 5 years ago

I want to know just where you think I am going to fine the extra cash to pay higher property taxes....out of back side??????

onehotmomma 5 years ago

This is not the best time for them to create a new "economic development fund" or "preseveration fund" to the tune of a million bucks. There is probably a time and a place to create these new "funds" but in the middle of a recession is not it.

FanceeNancee 5 years ago

Wow. I really don't have any places left to cut on my budget to pay for all these increases. Looks like the local internet and cable company is going to have to lose me as a customer. Well, one less service to pay taxes on...

LogicMan 5 years ago

They just don't get it, do they? So sad.

absolutelyridiculous 5 years ago

Maybe if everyone who opposes the new taxes shows up at the next city and county commission meeting, they will get the clue. Flash Anti-New tax mob. Hmmmmm?

md 5 years ago

Wait for Obama tax to hit us also!

Orwell 5 years ago

It won't hit "us" unless "we" make considerable income, like >$250K/yr. After the freeloading of the Bush tax cut years I feel no sympathy. (Note: I'll probably have to pay a little more myself, and I can do it without greed and whining.)

John Hamm 5 years ago

Here we go again! Time to make up for what we supposedly cut and, in fact, "restore" some cuts suffered by some agencies. Time for the city & county to tighten their belts just as we've had to do! Let's get with it politicians and administrators it time to cut, cut, cut! Not spend, spend, spend!

jafs 5 years ago

There's no "supposedly" about it - the state cut many social service budgets, which affects local services.

We can decide they're not worth funding, but then we reduce services available in our community.

My concern is whether the tax rates will go down if property values rise, and the economy improves.

motherof3children 5 years ago

What do you think? Once the tax increase is in place it will stay in place.

inatux 5 years ago

It's not like you're powerless. Just flood the county with protests of your property taxes. The county even tells you how to do it.

gatekeeper 5 years ago

You can protest, but they don't care. A few years ago I had refinanced my house and the bank appraisal was a lot lower than the country appraisal. We protested and they took our form and a couple weeks later told us nicely to shove it and pay up. I know a lot of people that have fought and none have won their protest.

geekyhost 5 years ago

We won ours. Showed 'em the appraisal, got it lowered. It wasn't complicated at all.

inatux 5 years ago

That's interesting, a co-worker of mine protested this year and got hers lowered. Perhaps your experience two years ago is different than it is today.

Imagine that.

David Roberts 5 years ago

Two different things here...

Your link is for contesting the valuation of your property.

The discussion here is about raising the rate of tax so that you would likely pay more in tax even when the value of your property drops. There is no formal procedure for contesting that, except for showing up to vote.

IMO, there will continue to be more and more pressure on state governments and local municipalities to cut expenses and simultaneously raise more revenue. At some point, to relieve the pressure (and avoid civil unrest), the feds--who have no real limitations to spending--will feed dollars to needy states and municipalities. We've probably already passed the threshold of insolvency, we just haven't realized it yet.

"Deficits don't matter." Dick Cheney

BlackVelvet 5 years ago

Do they think we're Johnson Friggin' County???? No way to large tax increases. Craig Wienaug and the commissioners can bit the big green weenie!

gccs14r 5 years ago

The other way to make ends meet is to squeeze the vendors. Someone will want to do that county maintenance, even if they get paid only 75% of what they used to make for the same work. It's better than not being paid at all. As for the ecodev fund, skip it. Without a decent school system or well-maintained infrastructure, no one will want to bring a business here, anyway.

Oh, and the big hole in state funding we're trying to fill? That money used to come in courtesy of the blue states. Thanks to Bush, we have to pay our own way now. Guess most of you didn't know that we were a freeloader state. Enjoy finally paying full freight for amenities.

weeslicket 5 years ago

good post. a few things to think about.

friendlyjhawk 5 years ago

Weinaug got my attention! Stop the madness. No tax increases and no to many other expenditures especially $18 million for a library improvement. Thanks for the Douglas county website, inatux.

ILoveLawrence 5 years ago

Good God. Are they insane? Jaw-dropping is an understatement.

geekyhost 5 years ago

I pay more than that for Netflix. If it means my kids can get educated, my streets get shoveled, city workers can have jobs, and people can get mental health services rather than endangering the public? I'll give up twice that amount. Really, this is a drop in the bucket.

Majestic42 5 years ago

Hey LJWorld Editorial staff, nice job editorializing the headline. geez, are you guys hiring? I could replace half of you and do a better job.

Jonathan Kealing 5 years ago

That was Nancy Thellman's own description of the property tax increase, not our's. It's indicated thusly with the quotes. So, no, it's not editorializing.

Lisa Rasor 5 years ago

Egregious apostrophe, jk. It's "ours," not "our's."

gccs14r 5 years ago

JoCo is getting a break on its paving projects:

They probably don't have a good-ol'-boy network linking politicians to builders like we have, though.

Amy Heeter 5 years ago

Gosh I can't wait to see what Merrill has to cut & paste on this one.

olddesk 5 years ago

I guess our local politicians and school board can't read. Yesterday's paper showed stats of how Lawrence has one of the lowest GDP's for a college town of this size and yet they want us to pay more money while not being able to make a respectable wage in this town. Time to move and let the locals that think money grows on trees pay for everything.

beawolf 5 years ago

Don't let the door hit your A$$ on the way out.

jafs 5 years ago

Not a very thoughtful response there.

olddesk has a good point - the disparity between wages and the cost of living in Lawrence is a real issue for those that would like to live and work here.

beawolf 5 years ago

I disagree. I moved here from Atlanta and I'm getting a lot more bang for my hard earned dollars. Coincidentally, my home is valued at approximately $150,000. I'm more than willing to kick in another $150 to maintain the current level of services. Let him move if he's dissatisfied. The grass is not always greener...........

jafs 5 years ago

I don't know Atlanta, but there was a recent report published in this paper showing that Lawrence has one of the lowest average wages among towns in the area and one of the highest costs of living, particularly real estate.

When I first moved to the area, many more residents both lived and worked in Lawrence, and it was a better community than it is now.

We now have many more commuters, which drives up the real estate costs, and has changed the community for the worse, imho.

Do you both live and work in Lawrence?

nobody1793 5 years ago

If this keeps up, I might have to start reading those stupid articles from the coupon cutter ladies.

del888 5 years ago

Hey city.... Economics 101: when your income decreases you have to spend less. Do like the rest of us and cut back.

geekyhost 5 years ago

Economics 102: governments are not people, and they don't and shouldn't budget or spend like people. The analogy is tiresome and weak.

jafs 5 years ago

Are you saying that balanced budgets aren't a good thing for governments? Or that massive deficits are a good thing?

How is that possible?

geekyhost 5 years ago

Yes, actually I am. I'm saying that budgets should be balanced during times of prosperity and deficit spending is ok during downturns. Because cutting government spending during a downturn is like pouring salt on a wound. More people need government service now, not less, and people using unemployment and other benefits spend them locally for services that in turn stimulate the economy. Take those away, and you shrink local spending, causing more economic damage and increasing the need for services you're already cutting. Vicious circle.

However, state and local budgets aren't at quite the same liberty to do deficit spending as the federal, so more taxes it is. And I'm happy to pay my share, because I have a job and can pay an extra $10-$15 a month to make sure kids get educated, mentally ill people have access to help, and fires get put out. We should have been budgeting for rainy days all along, but such financial wisdom is so rarely rewarded

It's interesting that massive deficits didn't seem to be such a big concern when Bush was raising them to record breaking heights, but now that money will be spent on people instead of large banking institutions, it's time to let the devil take the hindmost.

Stop shooting yourself in the foot. A good economy is in all our best interests, as is a city with adequate services.

George Lippencott 5 years ago

Yelp, yelp, yelp. As long as we keep demanding services for ourselves and others our elected leadership has no choice but to raise our taxes. This forum is saturated with people making those demands. Somebody has to pay for what we seem to want.

LJW - How about an article that shows us where this additional revenue is going in some detail.

devilsrighthandman 5 years ago

You have absolutely got to be *** kidding me! I am stunned. I have lost faith. This will drive people out and keep people from moving here. Home sales are the lowest in the history of real estate and we are under tighter budgets. I don't think the KUAC can can keep the town a float when the population is cut in half. This is just dumb, dumb, dumb........

irvan moore 5 years ago

and didn't we just buy the contaminated site just east of town so now it will be off the tax roles? i think this news just knocked the library expansion (and tax) out of reach.

sundowner 5 years ago

This has to stop NOW. I'm a senior on a limited income. I don't go out to eat, don't buy new clothes, don't run the A/C unless the temp goes into the 90s, clip coupons & could go on but who cares?

Raymond Munoz 5 years ago

Go figure! Right when I'm becoming a home owner! Guess I should ask LeBron James for a loan!

skinny 5 years ago

Yup, I agree. Enough is enough. I haven't had a raise in two years but my taxes and everything else keep going up! Somebody better start listening to the citizens of Lawrence!!

Menazort 5 years ago

Right on skinny. Power to the poor peeps!

milored 5 years ago

Great suggestion. Too bad you have that pesky law about the county sheriff being responsible for maintaining a detention facility. As far as funding for Bert Nash and Community Corrections, do you have any clue how much they save the county by keeping low level offenders and the functionally mentally ill in the community as opposed to housing them in jail at $150 a day (just a guess based on national averages)? If you want to complain about the library or Farmland, knock youself out. Complaining about funding basic services is just plain stupid, especially when many already complain about response times for the Sheriff's Office, the quality of roads, etc. Would you like to wait 20 minutes for a deputy in an emergency because their cars won't go over 60 miles an hour because they've got 200k miles on them?

Uhjh 5 years ago

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

kujayhawk7476 5 years ago

Hooray for an administrator wih courage. $122 on a $150,000 home is all? How much is a package of cigarettes, you whiners? How much do you eat out? Suck it up and do without something!

Do you want a nice community with services or not? If you cut the pay of law enforcement or fire protection, as was proposed in an earlier post, are you prepared to deal with the consequences of say, fire in your home? What about theft or something worse!

Menazort 5 years ago

oneeye: That's an excellent idea for an LJW study. The LJW seldom follows up on an ominous news release like this with an assessment of the overall context that would potentially spawn a critical rethinking of policy and taxation.

C'mon LJW, let's see some peoples journalism.

BlackVelvet 5 years ago

Quite a few Lawrence Police Dept. employees live outside Douglas County. I wonder why.....

redneck 5 years ago

I do want to have nice community with services. The question is if we can afford it or not. Maybe you make a lot of money, but some of can't even afford to purchase a house in this town, because of the price of houses and the taxes. Another $12 a month on a $150.000 home, along with everything else going up, isn't going to help. Lawrence spent over $250,000 on legal fees to try and keep Wal-Mart from building on the west side of town. Lawrence also seems to think that installing round-abouts that cost only God knows how much, rather than stop signs. Lawrence has chosen now to build on to the library. These are just a few things that come to mind, as to how this city is not sucking it up. Should we get rid of our cable tv or satellite, telephone, utilities, car payments, medical bills, health insurance, rent/house payment, or what? Tell me what I should give up man! Making our housing cost increase (by 16%), will only make a bad situation worse. It's time the county and city suck it up like the rest of us.

Lisa Rasor 5 years ago

The library expansion issue will be on the Nov. 2 ballot. You can vote against it, and if enough people do so the library expansion will not happen.

onehotmomma 5 years ago

I have no idea how much a package of cigarettes is, nor do I care since I don't smoke. And it says something about you since you think people who are against this kind of tax increase all smoke. You should remember what happens when you assume something!

Several years ago when it was obvious to my husband and me that the economy was going downhill on a fast train, we looked at our budget and trimmed all the fat. Surprisingly enough, we discovered that we spent money on things and services that we didn't even want, let alone need. I believe its time for some major budget trimming. It is possible to do without threatening to cut "basic services". A fire department and police department are both necessary in my opinion, to a healthy community. It is not necessary for them to dramatize the "what ifs" if they don't get all new shiny stuff or cost of living raises annually. As has been stated on this thread numerous time, alot of people are getting by without a raise, so publicly funded employees should be able to do so also. It won't be forever.

As long as we think wealth equals character, we are in major trouble. Its been seen over and over, throwing money at a problem won't make it go away. We have listened to the doom and gloom crap for to long, tax cuts to major corporations didn't create more jobs, tax breaks for businesses in communities didn't create more jobs, it moved the problem to a different area.

And on trimming the fat from our budget, we didn't really give anything up. We just stopped spending on the stuff and services we DIDN't want!!

jafs 5 years ago

That's a point.

It only translates into about $10/month more.

jafs 5 years ago

It's actually the fault of the state of Kansas, which has had tax policies for years that were business-friendly and revenue unfriendly.

They're the ones who didn't generate enough revenue to adequately fund the schools, and recently cut massive amounts from social service budgets, leaving cities and counties to make up the difference, or shut them down.

Menazort 5 years ago

Again, a reasonable proposition from oneeye. City and county employees should have to live within the county and city and I think many municipalities have such policies as a requirement for employment. Attacking nepotism would be excellent as well but I don't see either option being considered from the status quo.

Menazort 5 years ago

It should only apply for homes valued 200K and above. The working poor home owners are taking a disproportionate hit on all other fronts. Many have lost jobs and/or seen pay cuts for the past 2 plus years. Let's give the wealthy faculty and other overly compensated people in town a chance to carry the burden on this one.

kuME10 5 years ago

everyone is created equal, but they grow differently. just because someone is better off than i am doesn't mean they should pay for my services.

jafs 5 years ago

The "working poor" aren't freeloaders - they're the people willing to do the most menial and boring jobs that don't pay very high wages.

Orwell 5 years ago

Might not be a bad idea, but a progressive property tax is… (what's that term?) … oh, yeah … unconstitutional. The state, by contrast, could add another top income tax bracket, but legislators would catch hell from their upper-bracket campaign contributors who would have to pay it. Ergo, more and more of the total tax burden is effectively shifted to lower-earning households.

And don't trot out that old "investment killer" chestnut. What kind of wealthy loon would refuse to invest and earn any new money just because he could only keep $600, instead of $660, out of every $1,000 in new pre-tax income?

fancy80 5 years ago

this is a ridiculous statement. I'm so sick of the jealous haters wanting the "rich" to pay for everything. For the record, my house is not valued over 200k, I don't make 250k per year, am not a fat cat landowner, or developer. Rich people aren't getting raises every year either. We're all taking pay cuts, we're all forced to make do with less. I'm taking it up the rear from all sides. State sales tax and income tax, up, local sales tax, up, school board wants more money, city wants more money. Cut some programs. Remember when the city had to have lime green fire trucks, only to decide a few years later, red is better. Stupid! Build both high schools state of the are athletic facilities when the schools could have shared one. Stupid! So much waste on all gov. levels. They can't keep taking more and more then some more from us. Revolt is around the corner.

jmadison 5 years ago

Perhaps the county commission should consider replacing our current county administrator if this is the best plan he can propose

Evan Ridenour 5 years ago

Hey, here is an idea... let's combat a decline in mortgage tax revenue by vastly increasing the mortgage tax revenue rate!

Someone needs a basic economics class....

Katherine Greene 5 years ago

$122 a year is $12.20 a month. I'm happy to pay that much more on property taxes to restore our county services.

absolutelyridiculous 5 years ago

  • $12.20 for the school district mil increase
  • $10 for your trash service fee increase
  • $5 for recycling with Deffenbaugh
  • $10 for additional sales tax on groceries and misc.

You MAY have means, and I'm happy you do, but some don't. Wages are stagnating if not decreasing in Lawrence, KS. The City needs to live within their means, like the rest of us.

Katherine Greene 5 years ago

I have been poor and I have been prosperous. I do understand how much work it is to live on a very limited income. Paying taxes provides services to everyone, including people who are living on limited means. It is my responsibility as a citizen to pay my share of taxes to provide community services. I feel good when I pay my taxes because I am contributing to the community and because I am lucky enough to have something to tax.

jafs 5 years ago

It's actually $10.17/month.

$12.20/month = $146.40

There are 12 months in a year, not 10.

Flap Doodle 5 years ago

How's that hopenchange working out for you?

jafs 5 years ago

Since the state of Kansas is and has been a Republican dominated legislature for some time, and they're the ones responsible for this mess, the attempt to blame Obama for this is patently absurd.

JustNoticed 5 years ago

Great, fool. Now why don't you cut ties with the LJW and spare us your ridiculous and hateful nonsense. You are a fool.

remember_username 5 years ago

So if you don't spend money in the community and you don't live in the community why do you keep returning to this forum. Go find a California paper to haunt.

geekyhost 5 years ago

You missed a spot. You're generating revenue for the LJW by participating on this ad-sponsored forum. If you really want to cut ties, try commenting on the San Jose Mercury News instead.

redneck 5 years ago

Guess we need to bend over and grab our ankles. It's not going to get better any time soon.

kuME10 5 years ago

boy am i glad i moved to joco.

sundowner 5 years ago

Why are City employees taking City owned vehicles home every night; especially those who live outside Lawrence? Who pays for the fuel & upkeep? Mr. Corliss, let's look into this expense. Thank you

JustNoticed 5 years ago

What a wanker. Pennies, you're talking about pennies.

William McCauley 5 years ago

Really, pennies..... It all adds up and with the cost of fuel going higher and the cost of everything else going up, why should the tax payers carry free loading city/county staff to drive home OUR vehicles and add miles on them, let them spend their own money and drive their personal cars and trucks home. If the city & county ran like most small business they would be cutting cost such as these because in the long run, every penny counts on the bottom dollar!

Speaking of wanker, sounds like you may drive one of those and not want your free ride to end.

MasterShake 5 years ago

Time to cut services. The economy just will not support the vast amount of services that we expect to be provided.

booyalab 5 years ago

The saddest thing to me isn't the tax increase itself, it's the complete lack of economic cause and effect. Even if there was an initial surge in tax revenue, which I doubt, it would be accompanied by the most extreme retardation of the local economy anyone around here ever saw. This will make the "recession" look like a walk in the park.

absolutelyridiculous 5 years ago

and we are economic developmentally retarded already!

absolutelyridiculous 5 years ago

and we are economic developmentally retarded already!

devilsrighthandman 5 years ago

Eride, you can't make a common sense statement like that. It may casue some heads to explode!

Hoots 5 years ago

Let's see...the weekly jobs report just came out and showed another 545,000 people lost their jobs, at current about 20% of the population is unemployed or under-employed, most people are making less money, government still sees fit to keep spending ,give government workers raises, and propose an $18,000,000 library expansion. I guess that's what you do when you get to take money from people instead of earn it. When are they going to wake up? They are obviously not living in the same country we are. Oh wait, most of the rest of the world is in the same situation but they are cutting spending so the politians in this country don't even seem to live on this planet or in any realm of reality.

geekyhost 5 years ago

And its not like all those unemployed people will need city services.

JustNoticed 5 years ago

It is long past time to Eat the Rich.

coloradoan 5 years ago

Good grief. 16.6% of a $2,000.00 per year tax bill is $332.00. The way some go on here you would think it was all their kids' college tuition. Frankly, here in Topuka, that would be cheap compared to the cost of repairing my front end due to failed infrastucture (i.e. potholes). As for not having a raise in two years - I should be so lucky. Working for the state, we've haven't had a raise in eight years. I'd still rather pay to keep the streets and water mains functional than to pay for repairs to my truck and do without reliable water (the main used to break every four to six months). I can't afford the taxes, but the repairs cost more.

Keep some perspective.

coloradoan 5 years ago

Good grief. 16.6% of a $2,000.00 per year tax bill is $332.00. The way some go on here you would think it was all their kids' college tuition. Frankly, here in Topuka, that would be cheap compared to the cost of repairing my front end due to failed infrastucture (i.e. potholes). As for not having a raise in two years - I should be so lucky. Working for the state, we've haven't had a raise in eight years. I'd still rather pay to keep the streets and water mains functional than to pay for repairs to my truck and do without reliable water (the main used to break every four to six months). I can't afford the taxes, but the repairs cost more.

Keep some perspective.

Hoots 5 years ago

Even when we were flush with money they didn't fix things. They love buying candy here.

gatekeeper 5 years ago

Yep. Even with Federal funds, they didn't fix the streets they tore up in N. Lawrence that were the detour route. Potholes everywhere. All this city and county does is scr*w it's residents.

And it's not just this increase. Everything else is increasing too!

fancy80 5 years ago

how much did the city pay for restoring the stupid brick road on the east side? Wow! That was sure necessary, wasn't it?

boltzmann 5 years ago

Actually, the percentage of the county mill levy to the total in Lawrence is about 28%, so the increase on a $2000 tax bill due to this specific increase would be 0.28*$332 = $92.

I'm not arguing for or against in this. 16.6% does seem excessive to me. However, we need to use correct numbers to make our arguments rational.

gccs14r 5 years ago

Don't forget that USD497 wants a similar amount, plus the 1% increase in the state sales tax. I may be able to cough up an extra $1000 per year, but lots of folks can't.

average 5 years ago

Maintenance and capital improvement, fine. Bert Nash and other social services, it's kinda an inevitable conclusion of federal/state cuts (though, by replacing those funds when other communities aren't, we're going to attract those with such needs). A million more dollars a year into the slushfund rathole of eco-devo/heritage crap? Aw, hell no.

hawks1025 5 years ago


no_thanks 5 years ago

Might go up? You're dreaming. Federal Taxes across the board are going up.

frank regnier 5 years ago

Now, maybe the city can build more bicycle round-a-bouts! Now that is money well spent! Who authorizes these projects anyways?

average 5 years ago

This'd be the county, not the city. The city is (so far) holding the line on mill levy. I don't believe the county has a single roundabout in its inventory, and the extent of their bicycle expenditures are about $200 in "maybe it'd be nice if you wouldn't hit cyclists" signs.

frank regnier 5 years ago

Now, maybe the city can build more bicycle round-a-bouts! Now that is money well spent! Who authorizes these projects anyways?

Horatio Bfor 5 years ago

I have already had one employee move from Lawrence because it is cheaper to commute. This is a real bad idea. We need to hold the line on spending. The more you take from us, the less we have to increase our economic activity.

pizzapete 5 years ago

That's a ridiculous increase, 2% yea, but 16%, no way. This kinda crap is exactly why we revolted against the English and celebrated our independence earlier this week.

nobody1793 5 years ago

No, if the State of Missouri imposed a tax on Douglas County KS, THAT would be the kind of crap we revolted against. We elected these people (well the twenty two people that actually voted), and we have the opportunity to reelect them or vote them out. Big difference.

Hoots 5 years ago

I think some here forget Lawrence has many retired people on a fixed income so this really hurts people who have to count every penny.

Alexander Neighbors 5 years ago

good lord 16.6%....... how about they just bump it to 25% and get some real money from the local home and business owners because they just seem to have all kinds of extra money sitting around.........

igby 5 years ago

It's time to clean house in Douglas County. First off, we need to fire Craig, get rid of him first. Then we need some hard line conservatives in office that will slash and burn these liberal tax drains organizations that have festered into big budget drains and offer little public value.

We got to get rid of these liberal commissioners in the county and the city. Screw Bert Nash, Cottonwood, Decca and all the other freeloaded gravy train tax drains that are draining the budget. Decca has over 500 employees on the tax payers dole and they're the most ineffective.

We need some good people in office that will just say no to these special interest tax drains that continue to bloat and spend money like drunken sailors. The school district should not ask for nothing after they squandered 30 million on these sports complexes.

igby 5 years ago

Too add insult to injury. The bond market is on the blink and with in a year we could see it tumble. The flooding and weather has weakened thousands of commercial loans because there was no insurance coverage for ground water and insurance does not cover flood damage. Thousands of commercial business loans and bonds that were development class are weak and all these bonds could collapse nation wide. This will stop all city county and state development bonds.

jafs 5 years ago

I'm with you on the school district and athletic spending, but I think you're off on the rest.

The current city commissioners are anything but liberal.

Cottonwood is an excellent organization that has managed to continue services while dealing with budget cuts - part of the way they do that is by management voluntarily forgoing raises.

If other organizations aren't as good, the better option would be to improve them, not remove them.

ForThePeople 5 years ago

And another detail is that Cottonwood is not funded by the city. Also Cottonwood is one of the few agencies in its position that has taken the bull by the horns and doesn't solely rely on gov't funding. They have a very successful workshop that does consistant contract labor for many local businesses. The individuals that Cottonwood serves are for the most part contributing members of our community.

whats_going_on 5 years ago

and what happens to all the people who are employed by Bert Nash, CW, etc? What happens to the people who receive assistance from these organizations? Do you even know what they do at Cottonwood? If you did, you'd be changing your tune, just a bit.

kansasmutt 5 years ago

All i have to say is this. Douglas County leaders have lost all their brains. This is the worst thing that could happen now . Douglas County Administrator Craig Weinaug , have you lost your FN mind ???????????????????????????????? Cut your waste, cut jobs, but DO NOT raise the mill rate in this bad economic time. WTF is wrong with you ? The state just raised our sales tax,Incomes are down 20% , every untility raised the rates and now you want to yank another $120.00 a year or more from people . How about selling off all those new John Deere Tractors you just bought for mowing the road ditches. Go back to open station , cycle bar mowers for millionsof $$$ less. Cut your waste before you come to the tax payers to steal more money. You need to resign your job and let someone in that is not so wastefull. Find a new job Craig Weinaug , Douglas county doesnt need your kind. You need a new calculator. $0.00 - $120.00 doesnt equal more fun money for the county, it equals people not being able to eat. You make me sick !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lisa Rasor 5 years ago

Breathe, kansasmutt. The property tax increase is not a done deal. And as for Craig Weinaug, he was born and raised here, he knows the town and the people, and he cares a great deal about this community. He is our kind.

And no, I'm not a relative. Just a long-time Lawrence resident.

beezee 5 years ago

Where he was born and raised matters less than his present sensibility to what county residents face in their own budgets. Weinaug has demonstrated that he is 100% tone-deaf and cares only about his own nest. He deserves dismissal.

Richard Heckler 5 years ago

The bottom line:

Adding miles and miles and miles of new infrastructure is like adding miles and miles and miles of new taxes. In a bedroom community this is not expanding the tax base it is expanding our tax bills.

Until Lawrence can afford to fund social services adequately,maintain neighborhood streets and side walks,care for the library etc etc how in the world can Lawrence afford to spend on new projects that truly add NEW expense for the community to maintain.

This is not sensible spending or sensible growth.

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

On the issue of placing value on active farms in Douglas County, taxes generated is only one aspect of value, but it is economic and measurable. National surveys (through American Farmland Trust) show that county costs in services required by farmland and open space generally is only 35 to 60¢ for every $1.00 in revenues they generate, producing a net gain for counties.

In contrast, residential use in counties costs $1.11 to $1.60 in services for every $1.00 generated. This cost was in 1998. Imaging how much each home cost taxpayers in high dollar Lawrence,Kansas.

WE taxpayers CANNOT afford more housing projects OR extending our infrastructure to anywhere. Lawrence and Douglas County must figure a way to generate NEW economic growth without $25 million dollar new buildings and sports complexes.

Richard Heckler 5 years ago

Massive lay offs are the wrong solution. That means fewer dollars in the local economy thus more of the load on fewer contributors. Massive lay offs = very weak economy.

STOP building NEW and fix existing resources such as public schools, sidewalks and streets. This keeps people employed and keeps our tax dollars in town.

Lawrence and Douglas County has been growing beyond our means for several years. The number of tax payers thus available tax dollars has not grown significantly yet in the life of pretend city government has been extending tax bills based on the limited number of tax dollars available.

One item that has been killing taxpayers for years is the over building of retail and residential. Some very smart Lawrence, Kansas residents began warning city commissions of this at least 15 years ago. Over building in Lawrence,Kansas is the key to no economic growth.

As one wise very wealthy local business person put it to me this week Lawrence is a college town surrounded in all directions by retail not far away. Why not just be the college town we are instead of OVER EXTENDING Lawrence taxpayers for the sake of Lawrence developers.

Richard Heckler 5 years ago

Over built anything is unfriendly to existing business, new business and WE the taxpayers!

By Kim McClure

July 24, 2009

To the editor:

The July 14 editorial asks, “What’s downtown going to look like five, 10 or 15 years from now?” The answer can be known, and the picture is not pretty.

Lawrence has enough spending to support about 4.1 million square feet of retail space, but the City Commission permitted developers to expand the supply to over 5.5 million square feet.

Lawrence has too much retail space chasing too few vendors, which means that many stores go empty, especially in the older shopping centers like downtown.

The surplus development has stalled redevelopment plans downtown and has pushed the vacancy rates so high that disinvestment and blight now threaten. Investment, both public and private, is wasted. The taxpayers’ $8 million parking garage stands largely empty. The Hobbs-Taylor building and the 600 block of Massachusetts should be the top performing spaces in the community, but they have significant vacancies.

The recession has contributed to the problem, but had we properly managed our growth we would be much better off.

The developers’ short-term gain is now our long-term loss. Managed growth would have prevented much of the problem and would have protected and enhanced our downtown.

It will take many, many years to absorb this surplus space and, until this happens, it will be hard for downtown to compete. We can only look forward to many years of high vacancy and disinvestment. We need a City Commission that knows how to pace the growth of supply so as to protect our unique downtown.

McClure is from Lawrence

no_thanks 5 years ago

I've read this broken record of yours over and over, and I struggle with your analysis. Developers bear the responsibility for investing in the infrastructure (streets, sewers, utilities), and pay taxes on those improved lots. Granted the City now "incrementally" has to take care of these roads, but I am confident that the marginal tax revenue gained from the new taxes offsets the marginal cost that the City/County bears in maintaining. They aren't buying another trash truck, street sweeper, etc... for each new development, nor are they hiring a bunch of new employees. Now, when that (Marginal Revenue-Marginal Cost) relationship changes, then you may have point. Your points on vacancy rates is valid, so it seems rational that you should be touting growth to help absorb these vacancies. The investment in the "surplus development" is sunk, that is, any decision related to how it came to be is in the past, and frankly, irrelevant. The question is what action is the developer/chamber/DLI/city/county going to take to fill the surplus space. I'm all for managed growth, but understand that still means "growth".

superduper 5 years ago

I want an increase! My wife & I have partially state funded jobs & believe me there is no increase. In fact we haven't had raises for years now. I don't know where the money's going to come from. Maybe I'll dip into the kids college fund to pay more taxes. Yea.

Steve Miller 5 years ago

Quite honestly it is unachieavable given the local economy. This will be interesting, how will they get more blood out of the turnip ?? Reduce government, lower taxes is the key... ' try it you'll like it "

justforfun 5 years ago

What the fuk is the matter with these people!! I need money also but my job for the last 4 yrs has said sorry no raises deal with what you get. This is gtn insane!

jafs 5 years ago

I'd rather see schools spend less on athletic fields than cut social services.

What do you expect the people who need the services to do if they're eliminated?

And, why is it that they're always the ones people want to cut, and never seem concerned about massive corporate welfare, which is responsible for a much larger percentage of our costs?

50YearResident 5 years ago

In todays paper....... "Jobless claims fluctuate as recovery slows" And they want to raise taxes by how much?

RegularJane 5 years ago

We basically sit in the dark. Our idea of entertainment, is eating at grocery store deli, and that is rare. We hang up our clothes to dry, and we wash almost every load in cold water. We don't buy anything unless it is on sale or from a garage sale. I could go on, but you get the point. How much more can we cut or reduce? Raises are minimal or nonexistent. There just doesn't seem to be any way to keep up with the tax and utility increases. The city needs to recognize that there are a lot of people in this town that are on a fixed income or are underemployed--not to mention people that have lost their jobs Most jobs in this town don't pay a living wage. Everyone including the city must figure out how to do more with les--don't you just love that phrase!

ModSquadGal 5 years ago

What the he**? Wait... because THEY can't stay within their budget, WE have to pay more? And even though they realize OUR paychecks are getting smaller or eliminated all together? Why is it WE have to be responsible, but they don't? No wonder our government (local, state AND national) is going down the crapper.

jafs 5 years ago

It's because the state cut funding, leaving a shortfall that cities and counties either have to make up, or cut services.

rse1979 5 years ago

Can we show the math on the 122.40 increase for a 150,000 home? I believe the assessment rate is still 11.5%, so a 150k home would be 150 * 11.5% * 5.44 = 93.84. Seems the 122.40 uses a 15% assessment rate.

reversehecht 5 years ago

Seriously?...My husband and I love Lawrence and would love to have our kids grow up here but with hardly any jobs and now this? It's just getting harder and harder to live in Lawrence anymore.

Centerville 5 years ago

For starters, "the state gorvernment will [NOT] continue cutting its own spending."
Kansas' new budget is $200 million higher than the last one, albeit based on at least $130 million of magical mystery money. Don't let the sound of violins distract you from the facts, Mark.

Practicality 5 years ago

Time to vote these clowns out of the county commission. Ridiculous.

Mike George 5 years ago

I don't work in the public sector, but I work WITH the public sector, and my simplified suggestion is that perhaps all administrators and managers need to be thinking and planning in a "down market" scenario all the time. The taxable public, particularly property owners, have not had a 16.6% windfall lately. The company I work for has not issued cost of living raises for 2-1/2 years, although my pain doesn't match that of State employees and others. If Mr. Weinaug cannot adapt to the realities of going forward with less and developing strategies to cope, he needs to go.

Shane Garrett 5 years ago

So, the President is not going to raise taxes on those of us making less than 250.000 a year. However, the state, local government will now collect your monies by any means necessary. What a crock. Can't they just apply for some of that Obama stimulas money? Oh, wait... my grand kids will have to pay it back. But I don't have grandchildren. So...

independant1 5 years ago

solution, each department adjust budget down 1.5% while maintaining current employment and service levels. every dept must ante up.

problem solved

c_dubya 5 years ago

Playing 'catch-up' does not include:

"Pump $500,000 into a new economic-development fund, plus another $500,000 into a new fund to purchase and promote preservation and use of open space and other so-called “heritage” assets and activities."

Notice the phrase "NEW FUND" in that item twice. That's a MILLION DOLLARS for additional spending. That's not catching up, that's more of the same crap that got us into this mess in the first place.

fancy80 5 years ago

let me see if I understand this. County wants to spend 500k to purchase and promote preservation and use of open space, but city and ljworld want Berry Plastics to build a warehouse on said open space in Douglas County or else Berry Plastice might leave Lawrence. Do I have it right? That seems a little messed up, especially when there is a lot across the street from Berry that would accomodate the size of warehouse that Berry wants to build. Seems to me that these people talk out of both sides of their mouths.

beezee 5 years ago

Coming right after the USD497 proposal, this tax grab counts as nothing short of obscene. Weinaug ought to be summarily fired, despite the possibility that he may have weaseled a dismissal clause in his contract. Fired and given lousy reference for future work. His proposal is nothing short of autocratic hubris, and it needs to be utterly crushed, not simply rejected.

It really is "torches and pitchforks" time, folks.

Go look at to see where this sort of unbridled callousness leads.

Practicality 5 years ago

I would vote for Wilbur, but I am not married to my second cousin, play a banjo on my front porch, and drink my corn from a mason jar. In other words, I don't live in Eudora-saw.

Just Kidding Wilbur,

I like Eudora.


I loved this line.

Lawrence ,KS "a city of illusions of grandeur"

The only people who think that Lawrence is the "El Dorado of the Kaw" do live in Lawrence, and they think everyone should just be willing to pay any price to live there.

gl0ck0wn3r 5 years ago

Hey kids, that tax for the empTy looks pretty smart right about now, huh? I bet you can't wait to vote for that new library tax too. Yay for taxes!

inklines 5 years ago

The real issue is not the amount of the increase but the ability of the commission to raise taxes anytime that they want without the taxpayer's direct approval, (vote). There is nothing to stop them from raising taxes today and then raising them again and again tomorrow until the next election. All they have to do is hang in there and spend until the next election. Recall elections are rare and usually require the public servant to have committed an ethical or criminal offense. The laws regarding tax increases by the city , county, school district, and the state should be changed to allow a voter approval process. This would force these public servants to operate within their means and require them to use more wisdom and foresight in their visions for the future.

Richard Heckler 5 years ago

"Pump $500,000 into a new economic-development fund" - how exactly will this money be spent?

WHAT is the new economic development fund?

Who is asking for the money?

based on what?

who will be spending this money?

Is more money in THIS pie the answer?

OR would a Cost of Community Services study tell us more? This study so I'm told reveals what growth might not be paying back which should provide direction???

ToriFreak13 5 years ago

Quick ? Anyone know if there is a special rule/law that allows realtors to be delinquent on taxes for properties they own, that are listed for sale? I ask because I have come across many....many properties in this town that are due 3,4, even 5 years of back taxes. I would be happy to give addresses and names of just the few I have found.

someoneusingherbrain 5 years ago

Well I'm sure I am not the only one who is reversing her decision to buy a house in Douglas County. This makes absolutely no sense. People are out of work, taking paycuts and losing their homes by defaulting on mortgages and taxes. So the answer is to raise property taxes????? I'm sure I'm not the only one who noticed the many vacant businesses downtown, but good ole Lawrence wants to keep businesses local and is selective about who they let come in. Yea, that's really working out. Empty buildings means less jobs and less jobs mean people have less to spend-even at local businesses. I'm sick of everyone and their mom being expected to make improvements around Lawrence when only a few have the funds to do so. I also don't think that people who aren't living in Lawrence should have any say in the DLI either. Who cares if they work here- as far as I'm concerned, they directly affect the people who do, do not pay property taxes and take up jobs that could go to locals. I am so fed up and I wouln't be suprised if every angry, economically starved person in the country decided to start buring things down and going after those who have too much. It is truly what needs to happen in order for the wealthy and selfish to wake up.

David Roberts 5 years ago

There will continue to be more and more pressure on state governments and local municipalities to cut expenses and simultaneously raise more revenue. At some point, to relieve the pressure (and avoid civil unrest), the feds--who have no real limitations to spending--will feed dollars to needy states and municipalities. We've probably already passed the threshold of insolvency, we just haven't realized it yet.

"Deficits don't matter." Dick Cheney

Jan Brocker 5 years ago


pace 5 years ago

One money saving idea is change the fire department from paid to an all teabagger volunteer, Then when your house catches fire they can show up and do the whine yell about how mad they are about your house is burning.

pace 5 years ago

I thought all the alibi tea baggers were set on blaming Obama for the economic conditions. They are so disappointed that he wasn't the magician to repair all the republican damage. If you don't want to pay your share of taxes, then don't, but you should go to prison for tax evasion. You are no hero, nor are you right. If you want the teabaggers to replace the sherrif's department with volunteer teabaggers, Watch them show up and yell about crime, of course a few might be encouraged by the mob hysteria to shoot anyone that looks different.

remember_username 5 years ago

Boy, Mr. Weinaug certainly got everyone's attention. Anybody read the part "and that’s just fine with him, as a starting point for deliberations"? Sounds like an extra 10 dollars a month on a 150K house is the upper end of what is wanted. That really doesn't sound so bad. If that much is going to put you in financial difficulty then either you bought too much house to begin with, or you're already taking advantage of some public charity or aid and shouldn't be complaining.

beezee 5 years ago

Your response is sadly simplistic. My house is paid for. But on a [very] fixed income, yes- dammit- it's too much tax! Weinaug and folks like him display an arrogant indifference to the economic circumstances of many County homeowners. The only real answer may be to revamp the tax system entirely so that it is graded (i.e., if you earn more you can afford to pay more, and so are taxed more). But this has its own inequities, and so a family earning more may have high medical expenses that'd make higher taxes bad for them as well.

So the near-term answer remains as many here have expressed: make the County (and for that matter the school district and the city as well) CUT BACK ON SPENDING UNTIL IT REALLY HURTS! This isn't "Austin on the Kaw" despite the inane aspirations of many of our "leaders."

jafs 5 years ago

The problem is that the state has cut spending, leaving shortfalls in local services.

So it's ok for others to suffer (ie. cut till it really hurts), but you don't want to suffer a little bit?

If your house is paid for and you have no mortgage at all, if an extra $10/month is too much to pay, you must be living on a shoestring.

remember_username 5 years ago

Yes, my response was simplistic. However, most things can be reduced to simple basics. You said in your 10:16 "Weinaug has demonstrated that he is 100% tone-deaf and cares only about his own nest." What makes you any different?

There are quite a few people out there who would love to trade a fixed income but no mortgage situation with you. Too many out there are seeking second incomes to cope with the fact that they're "non-fixed" income hasn't changed in several years. The no mortgage feature sounds like freedom.

If you have a valid complaint it may reside in the concept of a "fixed income". How would you respond if your "fixed income", assuming the source is from government funds, were to keep pace with governmental tax demands? Would you still find complaint?

itwasthedukes 5 years ago

I love how cost cutting is never an option for governments. It's only a matter of time until this whole thing collapses if we keep it up. Ask yourself when is the last time a government spent less in the current year than in the previous year? The system is designed to increase spending and the size of government indefinitely at all levels. Only true leadership can change the course we are on and that means tough decisions. Raising taxes is the easy way out. There will eventually be a reckoning when you put off hard decisions as we continually do.

onehotmomma 5 years ago

Wouldn't it make more sense to allow the government to keep a surplus on hand? The use it or lose it mentality doesn't work. Every department HAS to spend every penny, plus several more pennies, each year. So they keep buying stuff, and more stuff, and more stuff.

Let the departments operate like a household should and save any monies from the previous year for the lean times. This would reward each department for cost cutting. The way it works now is that every aspect of government has to over spend to get funding at the same level as the year before. Then they all whine about how much more they need and how services will be cut if they don't get more money.

irvan moore 5 years ago

could we be placing the blame in the wrong place? isn't it the county commisssion, NOT the county admistrator who decides the budget?

sherlock 5 years ago

yes you are right beatnik! They still have to decide how much to raise or stay the same!

BigPrune 5 years ago

The People's Republic Of Lawrence......failed "smart" growth policies have come back to bite us in the butt. This is what happens when the crazies are running the asylum.

average 5 years ago

Dude. The "smart growth" people were the majority of the city commission for four years. Of the last forty. And that's the better part of a decade ago. You can't seriously suggest that the current commission is a flaming liberal "smart growth" crew, can you?

The DG county commission has never had a "smart growth" majority. Period.

Trust me, it ain't "smart growth" people who are itching for a million dollars a year down the "economic development" slushfund rathole. And it's not "smart growth" people looking to stick their fingers in that pie. Think about it for a damn minute, already.

BigPrune 5 years ago

What about the $500,000 set aside for the greenbelt slushfund rathole removing that land from the tax rolls forever? What a subsidy.

Lawrence has been controlled internally by "smart" growth thinking people for the past 10 years. That's when our problems began. Actually, go back to Horizon 2020's passage that it went downhill. So make it 15 years.

jafs 5 years ago

That's simply not true.

Smart growth proponents are generally against tax abatements, TIF's, CID's, etc. all of which are and have been granted in that period ot time.

They'd also generally be against building new and expensive sewer plants based on projections of growth which have proven to be false.

jafs 5 years ago

And, I'd rather have "smart" growth than "dumb" growth.

pace 5 years ago

I agree the current commissioners both city and county seemed to be anti smart, just growth at any price, Charge it to the home owners, skip the developers and corporations. The commissioners have failed to develop a smart growth policy.

kernal 5 years ago

Black Velvet, it's not that uncommon for law enforcement personnel to not live in the towns where they work. Makes perfect sense to me if you work in Vice, Homicide, Drug Enforcement, etc.

I can still eat and keep a roof over my head with the proposed tax increase, but I can no longer pay nearly $10,000 for health insurance each year. But, if I have a question for a County employee (or City of Lawrence) employee again, you darn well better be able to give me a correct answer or be able to refer me to someone who can. I'm paying for part of your health insurance and salary; you work for me!

As for those of you who think we should reduce the salaries of law enforcement and let Bert Nash fall by the wayside, you are so wrong. We need them more than ever! There are other places we can cut: homeless shelter assistance for non-residents of Lawrence, junkets for City and County employees (most conferences should be live online by now), new rec center, new library and all the other gee-gaws and froo-faws. For now, we need to concentrate on the infrastructure and wait for better days for all the extras everyone wants.

Alexander Neighbors 5 years ago

I think the Tax should only be on big industrial buildings like home Depot and Walmart etc..... Oh wait the City gave them Tax deferments so they technically don't have to pay any Taxes while the Rest of us get hit with this !?

BigPrune 5 years ago

They didn't get any tax deferments at all. It's against state law. What you smokin' dude?

jafs 5 years ago

Businesses have received tax "abatements", which are essentially giving them the ability to operate wihout paying taxes for a long period of time, often 10 years.

notorious_agenda 5 years ago

Not long ago I was reading a story about the the counties least affected by this slump in the economy. Two counties in Kansas were in the top twenty. Riley county being one. The other county has slipped my mind. If other counties in our state can do so well, how can anyone make the excuse that Douglas County cannot.

average 5 years ago

There are 372 metro areas tracked by the BLS national unemployment survey. Lawrence/DG county is one of them. We've been (along with Manhattan, Ames, Iowa City, Lincoln, Sioux Falls, Fargo, and Bismarck) is the least unemployed 25 metro areas in the US for the duration of the recession. Still are.

Lawrence is doing better than 99% of the country, at least in term of unemployment rate (pay is still amazingly low, of course, but that's been true for decades). You can stop whining about that.

But, that does point to the question, since we are one of the least affected communities in the nation (really, we are), in one of the least affected states, why are our local governments so damned screwed up in the budget department?

notorious_agenda 5 years ago

The article to which I originally referred was referring directly to the budgets of the counties. Nothing to do with unemployment. But both streets lead to the same intersection.

yankeevet 5 years ago

Will try and sale my house; cant keep paying all these increases; and if the house dont sale; i will walk off anyway; so the bank can have another forclosed house...................too expensive too live in this country.

phoggyjay 5 years ago

Re-legalization of cannabis = enough taxes to take care of any budget deficit.

Why won't anyone take this seriously?

Clark Coan 5 years ago

Out of every property tax dollar levied in Lawrence, the school district spends about 50 cents; the County spends about 27% and the City spends about 23%. So, stop blaming the City of Lawrence for your high property taxes.

IndusRiver 5 years ago

This city is bad about stealing. I just found out Central National Bank ripped me off $25 bucks.

IndusRiver 5 years ago

Does the Housing Authority pay property taxes? They're usually the one that milks everybody else for everything they've got.

monheim 5 years ago

Wow I can't wait for this wave of contrived "outrage" against taxes and public services to be over. Seriously. Sh*t flows downhill. Federal cuts pass the buck on to states. If the state isn't willing to pick up the slack, it goes right on down the chain to the county and city. If we decide the services provided aren't worth continuing to fund, fine...they'll most likely get cut, but there will be consequences.

That's okay. I'm sure it'll be just in time for a new "The state/city/government isn't providing us enough!" wave of more bullsh*t.

ravenjayhawk 5 years ago

A no brainer. Cut services and wages and staff for a couple of year in all areas. Just like a regular business. You cannot spend more than you make. All voted in personnel need to get in the real world. Quit acting like your millionaires with the citizens tax dollars. Everyone vote out all incumbants on all levels. School boards included. Never seems to be a problem when our voted in staff wants to spend money. Wake up representatives

beawolf 5 years ago

The problem is WHICH services and staff do you cut? Some services are currently just hanging by a thread already. Do we stop repairing roads? picking up garbage? reduce police forces? snow removal? Health services? Education? The list goes on. Personally, I believe we should be paying more taxes and offering deductions for those who can prove it's a burden. I believe there are too many of us who are "Me First, Screw the rest" and complain that $150 in additional taxation is an unbearable hardship.

beezee 5 years ago

Taxpayers get stuck with a lot. So for example just in the City, developers build a new subdivision and put in the lowest-grade roads they can get away with. In two years the road starts to crumble and the City (i.e., us taxpayers) get stuck with maintaining it. Which often means totally rebuilding it!

As for "Do we stop repairing roads?", bouncing along Lawrence streets I'd say we did that awhile ago!

If the City and the County posted a line-item budget that the public could review, I'd bet there are many, many areas we could easily axe until the economy improves. And if you feel "we" should be paying more tax, feel free to step up to the challenge and publicly commit your dollars (but not mine, please) to the task!

fancy80 5 years ago

why are garbage collector's getting paid for 40 hours when they don't work 40 hours. when the trash route is done, go mow something, or go to work on fixing pot holes. It's not so much about cutting services, it's more about stop wasting money. Would you pay an employee for a 40 hour week, when they really work about 25 hours? Or would you move them to a different task when they trash has been collected for that day.

Richard Heckler 5 years ago

All new tax increases SHOULD BE put to a vote. There has been a ton of mismanagement over the last 25 years in both the city and county long before the Bush/Cheney fraud surfaced.

WE TAXPAYERS need some very specific details as where the tax dollars are going. WE deserve to know.

The city is increasing utility rates which is a tax increase make no bones about it. The reckless growth over the years never really had a means to pay for it. The dollars have never been here.

"Boom Town Economics" = inflation galore.

All new tax increases SHOULD BE put to a vote.

irvan moore 5 years ago

a problem for Lawrence taxpayers is the high percentage of rental property that has citizens living in them that use services they don't pay for and the amount of state owned property (KU). it would be interesting to know what percentage of the different services supported by property tax dollars are used by non property tax payers.

average 5 years ago

Is the concept of "imputed in rent" lost on you? Renters pay property tax as part (a fairly big part) of their rent. If there weren't renters paying well above the tax line, the landlords wouldn't be landlords, and wouldn't be paying property taxes.

The dormers, you have a moderate point on. Though we would be Eudora II without KU.

kansasmutt 5 years ago

I still say Craig Weinaug should step down. The waste from the county spending is totaly unaceptable and shows that it is being managed wrong. Why do they use the dark rock to chip and seal, when it doesnt last a year and cost 3 times what the white rock does ? Why do they spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on new cab tractors and wide pull style mowers, when cycle bar mowers and smaller open station tractors could be used for the same job and save HUGE $$$$$$$$ ? It tells me , A TAXPAYER they are wasting my money. They dont care about us at all. I ask Craig Weinaug to come on this post and tell us the public , why are they buying new John Deere Tractors with cabs and wasting our tax dollars, come on Craig, tell us please.We are who you work for, speak to us common folk on here.I think the time has come for our leaders to speak to us and get a clue of what we common folk are dealing with to eat and keep a roof over our heads. I for one am sick of being hit with more taxation here and there and every damn political person thinking they can take every damn dollar we have, it,s BS !!!!! This miil increase if it happens, most people CANT absorb another $120.00 or more a year to stay afloat, thats how close things are out here in the real world. We are being raped and steped on every damn day. Craig, have you taken a pay cut this year ????? We the people out here have and will again next year, your turn. Show us you care. Show the elderly you care and say NO MORE TAXES ! Those folks are screwed and alot of them are leaving the state to live in a trailer park in a small trailer just to survive.

slang4d 5 years ago

10 extra dollars a month? Woah, stop the presses, that's going to bankrupt people. My tag renewal is going to cost over $130- my car is worth around $9000. I grew up in Colorado and renewal was more than half of that. I figure it's a decent trade-off since Lawrence has cheaper housing/rental prices and in general, a lower cost of living, but still has a decent dose of culture and interesting people.

Of course I also banked $15 an hour in 2001 with no college degree in Denver and moved here to find a similar job at $8 an hour. I don't know which is better or worse, really, I just know there's some issue in Lawrence and Kansas in general which prevents many people from making a decent living. As stated before though, the cost of living is reasonable and I don't think such a hike is going to kill people so long as they understand the money will be used to fund the schools their children attend and the roads they drive on. Speaking of roads, I've spent $150 in the last year replacing tires killed by potholes. I'd rather pay an extra $150 in taxes and not deal with the inconvenience of replacing my tires.

David Roberts 5 years ago

Honestly, 10 dollars a month is like one degree of temperature in the pot if you know what I mean...

George Lippencott 5 years ago

I note on who pays property taxes

Yes, renters do pay some portion of the property tax burden but nowhere in proportion to property owners. A duplex generates about the same property tax as an equivalent size and valued residential property only three people are enjoying services associated with the duplex. So the tax (if it is past on at all) is 1/3 of what a residential property owner pays.

For those of you totally devoid of any economic understanding, whether the tax increase is passed on depends upon the rental market. Everyone must raise the rates together or risk having an empty rental unit. Usually takes time - several cycles for the increase to filter through. By that time, the renter is long gone. Also, remember that the property tax is a cost of business to the rental property owner. The residential owner has a choice between deducting the propetry tax or the sales tax. For many in Douglas County, that choice is not obvious.

No wonder many renters are so strongly supportive of property tax increases. They get to use the goodies and the cost is borne mostly by others. merrill, if you are going to reference your stupid study provide the primary URL so I can attack it. In our city with a high transient rental population (university students here for a short time) the property owners are being hosed!

jafs 5 years ago

So you're anti-rentals unless they're single family houses?

And, aren't rental properties taxed somewhat differently than owner-occupied ones?

Not sure what you mean about the different ways landlords and owners deduct items.

And, not to be harsh, but if you didn't want to live in a college town, why'd you move here?

50YearResident 5 years ago

"My tag renewal is going to cost over $130- my car is worth around $9000. I grew up in Colorado and renewal was more than half of that".

I can't figure out what you are saying in the above comment. Remember when taxes go up they never come down again. All taxed are permanent, once you agree to an increase it will be there until the next time they decide to raise them again.

George Lippencott 5 years ago

"A combination of dwindling revenues, ongoing state and federal cuts and increasing community needs” requires a hefty tax increase opines our leader.

Really? With the state tax increase, the Kansas budget is actually a little bit higher than it was when the melt down started based on actual amounts (not wish lists). Inflation has been essentially zero according to our federal leaders.

We have experienced a loss in sales tax revenue (city and county) because people are not spending. Our economy statistically has been little hit by the melt down and our losses have not been severe. Yes, I know for those hit it is devastating but supposedly, that is what we have been already paying taxes to accommodate. Property tax revenues are statistically down by about 2-4%, Not a lot, And the county increased the mil rate last year to address this.

In the mean time the state, county and city have receive according to our federal leaders a bunch of money (Stimulus and budgetary increases (federal budget increases by 25%).to ease the pain of the melt down.

I can understand part of the school increase as there were some cuts and there is pressure. I do not understand the capital money for schools after spending so much on athletics. If we really need that money, people should be fired.

I cannot understand the county problem. Perhaps instead of vague generalities someone should sit down and account for all the money so the electorate can judge for itself the true needs of the county. Yes, I am sure there is gamesmanship in the 16% number (constituents must be served) but I am really wondering why the county cannot live on what it has.

I am not talking about nailing the employees however remember most of the taxpayers have not received cost of living increases lately either. Maybe we are spending just too much money on social considerations and should focus more on the small percentage of people hereabouts that have actually been hurt by the economy and who are at the level where they would experience real hardship.

It is obviously the wrong time to be spending local money on economic development and conservation – at least until all our situations recover.

I am beginning to feel concern that we may have adopted an “if you spend it they will come attitude” with respect to social services. I am not sure we can afford the long-term consequences of such an approach. Hope I am wrong.

Hey, LJW, do your job. Press releases are inadequate.

kansasmutt 5 years ago

Those of you who think $10.00 a month is nothing, talk to the elderly and people who at the end of the month are going in the hole $75.00 as it is and decide to not eat 6 meals a month or pass on taking the meds they need to take. You have the extra, lots of people DO NOT ! That is what is so upsetting and is hurting people. The conty can cut millions if the try.

George Lippencott 5 years ago

I suspect there are things to cut without hurting the people who work for us. A true needs determination on social program spending just might find a few dollars. Since nobody ever accounts for what we buy with those services I cannot help but wonder if I am giving some people more money than other people are paid in a real job. Alternatively, perhaps some people are already making a combined income (there are many and overlapping social programs by different government and NGOs) greater than there education or work ethic would justify. That is unconscionable as it will lead and has led to more people on the programs, less tax revenue and more taxes. Besides, it is just flat morally wrong.

ralphralph 5 years ago

Fumb Duckers! Quit spending so much money.

RobertMarble 5 years ago

geez, I can't believe you douglas county residents allow your leadership to botch things up so badly.....this must be the trickle down effect of all that hope & change stuff....maybe hussein obama will bail out lawrence next....gotta earn that nobel prize somehow

jafs 5 years ago

Again, Kansas is a Republican dominated state - how on earth anyone can try to blame any of this on Obama is beyond me.

independant1 5 years ago

People want just taxes more than they want lower taxes. They want to know that every man is paying his proportionate share according to his wealth. (Will Rogers)

George Lippencott 5 years ago

Amen. How come half the populationn pays little or none (some even get money they did not pay back) and our progressive tax system is not above $200K??

kansasmutt 5 years ago

How come Craig wont get on here and talk to us ? He is supposed to be listening to the people and using our input to better do his job , i thought. A good way to get ideas of how to save money has been said and he doesnt have any input or feedback. 2 good ideas have been listed to save millions and not a word back from him. 1- White rock when chip and seal is used. 2 - Buy smaller open station tractors with cycle bar mowers. Another big money saver is to LEASE TRUCKS , not buy them. Craig, talk to us.

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