Archive for Tuesday, July 27, 2010

County commission agrees to 9 percent property tax increase

July 27, 2010, 11:13 a.m. Updated July 27, 2010, 3:56 p.m.


Douglas County commissioners plan to increase the county’s share of property taxes by 9.12 percent for next year, now that they’ve closed the books on discussions for their 2011 budget.

Tax changes

Tax rates approved by various governments for next year, with change from this year and percentage change:

• Douglas County: 35.736 mills, up 2.993 mills from this year, or 9.12 percent.

• Lawrence: 26.679 mills, down 0.014 mills from this year , or 0.05 percent.

• Lawrence school district: 59.970 mills, up 2.076 mills from this year, or 3.59 percent.

• State of Kansas: 1.5 mills, unchanged.

Total for a property in the city of Lawrence and within the Lawrence school district: 123.885 mills, up 4.995 mills from this year, or 4.2 percent.

(One mill equals $1 in property tax for every $1,000 of a property's assessed valuation.)

The increase would be 2.993 mills — enough to add $51.63 to the property tax bill for the owner of a $150,000 home. One mill equals $1 in property tax for every $1,000 of a property’s assessed valuation.

Commissioners had started their initial budget negotiations with a proposed 15.9 percent increase, which would have added $90.22 to such homeowners’ property tax bills.

Nancy Thellman, commission chairwoman, said that the majority of e-mail communications she’d received during the past few weeks argued that “no new taxes” should be approved by the county.

“But each one of us knew, and stated in the beginning, that this was not possible,” Thellman said. “Everyone at this table has looked for ways to save, but also to invest.”

Commissioners plan to review their decisions during coming weeks, as they prepare for a formal public hearing Aug. 18. That hearing is set for 6:35 p.m. at the Douglas County Courthouse, 1100 Mass.

To help get to the lower increase, the budget endorsed Tuesday would:

• Cut proposed investments in economic development and open space efforts. Thellman and Commissioner Mike Gaughan agreed to pump $350,000 into each effort, down from the $500,000 for each that had been included in County Administrator Craig Weinaug’s draft budget. Commissioner Jim Flory opposed those decisions, favoring instead to provide $100,000 for economic development, and nothing for open space and heritage efforts.

• Give county employees a chance to share in merit pay increases, ones that would average 1 percent.

• Use $200,000 in money generated by a one-cent countywide sales tax — approved by voters in 1994 — to help offset the increase in property taxes.

“As difficult as this economy is, I think we, as a community, need to keep an eye on the future,” Gaughan said.

Flory said that the decision to finance open space, heritage efforts and economic development came at the expense of core services, such as law enforcement, roads and bridges. So he plans to vote against the entire budget for next year.

“You broke it,” he told fellow commissioners. “You own it.”

But approval of the $69 million spending plan is assured, with support from Thellman and Gaughan. Thellman noted that various cuts would allow the county to finance hiring:

• A new psychiatrist for Bert Nash Community Health Center.

• A new prosecutor to focus on driving-under-the-influence cases.

• Case managers at Douglas County Jail, to help released inmates keep themselves from returning.

“Those are all core services,” Thellman said.


chzypoof1 7 years, 9 months ago

So as was discussed a few weeks back:

  1. Release story about HUGE tax increase....
  2. Lower it to a "lower" amount
  3. Everyone will think they got a break!

When will our government learn to spend within their means?


Alexander Neighbors 7 years, 9 months ago

Those who raise taxes on us instead of making cuts are the equivalent to terrorist. they are at war with our financial freedom. Stop the city council terrorist.

7 years, 9 months ago

I don't mean to be picky, but this is the County Commission, not the City Council.

yankeevet 7 years, 9 months ago

My house assessed value has dropped 10,000 dollars; so does my property tax drop also?? Have lived in it 2 years; and its not worth what I paid for it.

steveguy 7 years, 9 months ago

Our house assessment value went up 47% which is .$68,000

nekansan 7 years, 9 months ago

Is there really that much development in the county that we need such a significant investment in open space? The development that is ongoing in Douglas county is in the cities and towns. Spending $350k on open space in a rural environment is the definition of a waste. I also question the benefit of any significant investment in economic development. There simply is not a significant amount of capital investment right now by businesses to attract, so why spend the $$ chasing investment that is not there. I'm fine with tax incentives and exemptions to attract new business, but at least ensure that they have skin in the game before we just start handing out checks.

skinny 7 years, 9 months ago

Great, looks like it is time to get rid of some of the County Commissioners, NOW!!

BigPrune 7 years, 9 months ago

We need the greenspace so our current old kooky residents can have experiences like this old kooky guy.

What's money after all, especially $350,000 spent to remove something off the tax rolls FOREVER? The rest of us will make up the difference. The People's Republic of Lawrence (and surrounding areas) comrades.

Susan Mangan 7 years, 9 months ago

The only question left, with a Commission who chooses to ignore the will of the people or the good of the people they are supposed to serve, we have the option of starting a recall process...NOW??? Unlike the Commission, I work for my money. So I don't have all the time in the world to think of ways to screw other people over. But, if someone tells me how, I'll work on the recall effort. The SOBs are stealing my hard-earned money and I want them OUT. I'll work for it.

Mel Wedermyer 7 years, 9 months ago

I haven't had a raise for 2 years but insurance, taxes and prices all have gone up. Do I have to drop my insurance just to pay my taxes? Come on County live within your means, like us poor working stiffs.

Richard Payton 7 years, 9 months ago

Drop your health insurance but ObamaCare will force you to buy some in 2014 at a hefty price. Look at the Massachusetts model Obama has used.

jafs 7 years, 9 months ago

I understand the fact that people are doing badly, and we're in a recession, but to put it into perspective, the 3 mill (about) increase works out to about $4/month on a $150,000 house.

And the total 5 mill (about) increase works out to about $6-7/month.

How many people who own $150,000 houses will really find an increase of about $7/month that difficult?

avoice 7 years, 9 months ago

Except that you don't pay it by the month. You have to cough up half of the total amount in mid-December and then pay the balance by the 10th of May. Often the problem with people who think "what's another $7 a month" is that for THEM, it's configured that way. Because THEY have a mortgage and the taxes are paid in escrow. But a lot of people, especially older folks, don't have a mortgage that escrows their taxes. And it's not just houses we're talking about. Businesses pay this property tax in Dec & May on every item of equipment they own, plus any larger vehicles (such as trucks). For a lot of people, this increase forces them to cough up a significant sum of dollars at the worst times of the year (right before Christmas and right after paying Uncle Sam).

lgreen17 7 years, 9 months ago

The people who have been laid off in the last few years, and have paid down their mortgages. It isn't just the county that have their hands out! Look at your electric bill this month, and see what you paid last year. It doesn't make sense to increase spending by 9% when people haven't had 9% raises.

SettingTheRecordStraight 7 years, 9 months ago

Death by a thousand cuts, jafs. But for some reason you consistently go to bat for tax increases. Why?

jafs 7 years, 9 months ago

I don't actually always approve of tax increases, in fact.

I would love to see our government cut waste, fraud and unnecessary spending, and often advocate for that when talking to liberals.

And, I would have voted against the tax increase for the "T" system, except that it would have affected the disabled negatively, since the two systems were combined.

If/when the library expansion is on the ballot, I will vote against it.

In this particular case, the county is suffering due to losses in revenue from mortgage taxes (because fewer people are buying houses), and state cuts.

I called the commissioners and suggested that they raise the levy only as much as is necessary to preserve basic services. Unfortunately, they kept much of the eco-devo and green space funds in their budget.

Shardwurm 7 years, 9 months ago

This takes the cake. This is exactly the kind of garbage that gets spewed at us constantly. Are you serious?

It's the same logic used for every single tax raise dumped on us for the last 50 years. It's the same way insurance salesmen get you to bite. "For only pennies a day...."

Usually they package it with something like: "For the cost of a Happy Meal a week..."

The problem? We are already buying dozens, if not hundreds, of Happy Meals a week and we're sick of it!!!!!!! It adds up! Do you have any idea how many taxes exist and how much you're really paying? Sounds to me like you're either too rich to care or on the lower end of the income ladder. Either way it's no big deal to you.

But to the middle class who is paying the tab for all this enough is enough!

no_thanks 7 years, 9 months ago

Jafs leans towards socialism, so the incremental increase in taxes means nothing to him. It is the aggregate affect of the taxes in impacting consumers. Further, the tax is a drain on society as that is money that may have been spent productively buying local goods and services. The opportunity cost of the tax (that is, how the monies will be spent) now rests in the hands of the Commissioners who don't have a great history of acting in the interest of their constituents.

jafs 7 years, 9 months ago

Actually, I am solidly in the middle class.

We own a home and two cars (no monthly payments on the cars).

An increase of $7/month won't really hurt us - it might mean one fewer coffee drink every other week or so.

My interest is in whether people are actually going to find this difficult, or whether it's more of a "principle" sort of thing.

Shardwurm 7 years, 9 months ago

Since it's just one fewer coffee drink every other week then you can certainly afford to cover mine as well.

Once again, you don't get it do you? Do you know how many coffee drinks you're already giving up? Any idea? You are paying THOUSANDS of dollars a year in taxes already. You're giving up about 300 cups of coffee a week right now. How many do you feel is enough?

There's a good question. How much taxation is enough for you? 80 percent? 90 percent? When do think you'd start to be concerned about more money being taken out of your pocket? It's people like you who have gotten right where we're at.

"For one less coffee every two weeks I can have...." We've heard that *(^&% enough!

jafs 7 years, 9 months ago

Yes I can, if you can convince me that you really will feel this increase, and don't have any other way of covering it.

Of course, I'd also need to understand why the standard conservative mantras aren't working.

  1. Convince your employer that you're worth more.
  2. Change your habits and save money.
  3. Ask your family, friends and religious community for help.
  4. Get a better job that pays more.


jafs 7 years, 9 months ago

The only practical question for all of us is:

Do we have enough after-tax income to live comfortably?

If the answer is yes, then we're fine.

jafs 7 years, 9 months ago

If you can convince me that the $7 increase is really difficult for you, and will have a significant impact on your life, I will send you a check each month for the next year.

nut_case 7 years, 9 months ago

So you wouldn't mind sending me a couple hundred bucks to cover my increase for the next few years?

jafs 7 years, 9 months ago

Well, there's certainly a limit as to how many people I can cover here.

So far, nobody's responded with proof that this increase really represents some sort of hardship for them.

That leads me to believe it's more of a "principle" thing.

Godot 7 years, 9 months ago

My tenants have just been guaranteed a rent increase. Won't know how much until we get a total on damages after all the taxing entities finish wreaking their economic havoc.

lgreen17 7 years, 9 months ago

Agreed. Sorry tenants, next year, you will pay for this. Perhaps you will vote?

Rokchalk 7 years, 9 months ago

I think it's time for this community to stand up and be heard. No more blogging to vent our frustrations. The formal public hearing is August 18 at the courthouse. Let us and all the others in this community who pay the bills be there to protest this increase!

craigers 7 years, 9 months ago

A protest is all fine and dandy but I did write to the commissioners and Nancy basically told me that she was glad I emailed her but this is what SHE thought was important. I'm sorry but I thought elected officials were suppose to represent us. Whether she meant to say it the way she did, the words she used spoke of her ideas and what she thought was important. If she was truly an elected official, then shouldn't she be listening to our comments, emails, and other communication?

hail2oldku 7 years, 9 months ago

I got the same response craigers. Nancy even if she didn't change my mind on these two items there wasn't any way I was going to change hers. Also claimed that Topeka/Shawnee county tax to $6m/year for eco-devo so the $500k was a bargain.

no_thanks 7 years, 9 months ago

Topeka has a dedicated 1/2 cent sales tax that generates their Eco-Devo funds. As for Nancy, who is one of the nicest people you will ever meet, she seems to be of the mindset that she was elected due to her posture on sensitive agricultural land (i.e. land that is owned by homeowner's in Northeast Lawrence who didn't want industrial development out by the airport). Clearly, she has many other constituents of whom she needs to represent as she holds court with the County Commission.

Thinking_Out_Loud 7 years, 9 months ago

I have always thought that our elected officials are there to represent our best interests, as a whole. There can be a difference between what the majority wants and what is best for the community. A good elected official will stand up for the right thing to do, even if it is not the popular thing to do, and will risk reelection to do it.

craigers, how do you know she didn't listen to you? The fact that she came to a different conclusion doesn't mean that she didn't consider your point-of-view, but only that she didn't make the same decision you would have. Perhaps she has different information (and a more complete picture)?

So, if you think she generally fails to represent Douglas County's best interests, vote for a different candidate the next time she runs. Or run against her yourself. If you think she generally does but missed the boat this time, you may want to vote for her because she generally does a good job. But I wouldn't say she "doesn't represent us." I honestly believe each of these folks is doing his or her best to represent our interests during a complex, uncertain time.

George Lippencott 7 years, 9 months ago

Only 9%? How can we survive. For many of us it was zero. Oh, to be the favored few.

mfagan 7 years, 9 months ago

Hello, LogicMan. Commissioner Mike Gaughan is running for election this November. Commissioners Jim Flory and Nancy Thellman would be up for election two years from now. Commissioners serve four-year terms. Gaughan is serving the unexpired term of Charles Jones, who had resigned his seat. - Mark Fagan Reporter

Ricky_Vaughn 7 years, 9 months ago

Too bad half the town's population is transient (students) and most of them don't own any property. Makes sense to me!

George Lippencott 7 years, 9 months ago

Yep, you broke the code.

true believers influence the students to vote for re-distributional policies. hard to beat.

They are here for four-five years during which some of the increased taxes make it into their rent. Then they are gone - the rest of us have the bill.

Worse, some of them never leave and go on public assistance to continue the not so bad student life-style. "I have a degree in literature. I am a writer. I have sold twenty column inches (to my grand-mother) so I am now awaiting my big break - and am on unemployment, rent support, and so on"

what a racket.

Ricky_Vaughn 7 years, 9 months ago

'Tis why I'd rather vote for sales tax increases around makes the students help with the bills, because while they may not own property, they sure know how to consume!

jafs 7 years, 9 months ago

Well, I'd be interested in how many students even vote in local elections, given the dismal turnouts.

Most of them probably don't even know what's going on politically at all.

George Lippencott 7 years, 9 months ago


Good question? Since they live all over how does one determine student from non-student in voting patterns? I will note that my imprecise review suggests that western polling places do seem to vote a little differently from those around the campus.

Of course, we all have anecdotal data of instructors abusing their position and doing exactly what was alleged. Wide spread? Probably not. Still a problem if it exists at all.

Maybe that suggests we go back to our history and require property ownership to vote for anything that could increase property taxes? Only fair!

George Lippencott 7 years, 9 months ago


I am sure you are right and I appreciate them!

jafs 7 years, 9 months ago

So the folks out west are more conservative?

That's not really news to me.

In general, whenever I've mentioned some sort of current political issue to younger people, they don't know what I'm talking about.

Jimo 7 years, 9 months ago

Yeah, JoCo taxes are a tenth of ours. Not.

raw 7 years, 9 months ago

I voted, but not for any of these county representatives. Make your future votes count.

Rokchalk 7 years, 9 months ago

It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong. -Voltaire

Richard Heckler 7 years, 9 months ago

Expanding the tax base has failed so it appears! It was all to bogus in the first place.

Why? Too many houses and too much retail = more than Lawrence,Kansas can support.

The more that get built the longer the failure will continue.

Expanding a tax base is one thing. Flooding and killing markets is yet quite another.

Voters vote for people who are business people. The question is why?

George Lippencott 7 years, 9 months ago

My compliments - at least your posts are getting shorter

kansasmutt 7 years, 9 months ago

I am very disapointed in the county leaders. The increase could have been held down to less than 2% or even stable with 0% additinal taxes. The only one of them that was on our side was Mr. Flory . The rest are for the upper crust Chamber crowd and the very wealthy special intrest groups. We can expect to see lots more people loose and walk away from the homes they have and a huge increase in tax rates in 2011 due to unpaid taxes. It is going to get ugly in Douglas county. Most every other county is cutting waste and trimming budgets to eliminate rate hikes, but not Douglas County, the ignorant waste continues.Sorry boys and girls, our business is packing up and leaving this fall to another county and city. Doing business in Douglas County is not business friendly nor afordable.See you in WY county.

Moderateguy 7 years, 9 months ago

I hereby increase my disgust with government by 18%. There, equilibrium has been restored in my brain.

Yup, death by a thousand cuts. Wait until property values drop 20%. They could have stabilized their budget, but now they're banking on future values that are a pipe dream.

Everybody needs to contest their property valuations and starve the beast.

jafs 7 years, 9 months ago

Other than the eco-devo and green space costs, what services would you cut from the county budget?

jafs 7 years, 9 months ago

I agree absolutely, but what else would you cut?

George Lippencott 7 years, 9 months ago

I would cut everything to the level of last year. There has been no inflation so why does the county bill need to increase.

jafs 7 years, 9 months ago

The county is losing revenue due to fewer people buying houses (mortgage taxes), etc.

In addition, when the state cuts funding to various programs, it's then up to the cities and counties to make up that funding, or cut programs.

One can certainly conclude that we should cut services, but it should be understood that this is partially a direct result of state funding cuts.

George Lippencott 7 years, 9 months ago

Part of the reason the county is losing population and homeowners, IMHO, is that the taxes are too high and the regulatory environment too intense.

It is nice to help people but without responsible limits that duty turns into a punative cycle.

I watched this happen to DC. Got pretty bad before they did smart things to reverse the spiral

kansasmutt 7 years, 9 months ago

Use the white rock to chip and seal and save at least $500,000 right off the bat.Might even be as much as a million dollars depending on how many tons they buy. face the fact, the leadership of Douglas County has failed.Time to sit back and watch the bricks crumble.

somedude20 7 years, 9 months ago

maybe the commissioners should head down to Mass st and panhandle if they want (or think they need) more money. My income is set (much like theirs) so if I need extra money I have to sell something, get a second job, or beg.

Thems is yo choices shcity commish pick one sit down and shut the ? up!!

zzgoeb 7 years, 9 months ago

Comments about Democrats and spending, and funding the wrong things. Where were these folks when the Graves administration cut taxes for the wealthy? Greedheads need to remember the past!!!

seppuku 7 years, 9 months ago

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John Spencer 7 years, 9 months ago

When's the next election when we can vote these dweebs out?

kansasmutt 7 years, 9 months ago

Only Mr. Flory is is vacting his seat, or might be up for re-election, but he was the only one looking out for us taxpayers at all.

thomgreen 7 years, 9 months ago

What exactly does "open space efforts" entail?

booyalab 7 years, 9 months ago

''in some cities, housing prices have actually declined as the housing supply has expanded. None of this is rocket science. It is supply and demand.

Why then are there particular places where housing costs have skyrocketed?

In those places, much of the land is prevented by law from being used to build housing. These land use restrictions are seldom called land use restrictions.

They are called by much prettier names, like "open space" laws, laws to "preserve farmland" or prevent "sprawl," "greenbelt" laws -- or whatever else will sell politically.

People who already own their own homes don't worry about whether such laws will drive housing prices sky high. Somebody else will have to pay those prices while existing homeowners see the value of their property rise by leaps and bounds.

Meanwhile, land that might otherwise provide homes for others becomes in effect free park land for themselves, while such upscale communities use "open space" laws to keep out the masses. The crowning touch is that such self-interest is depicted as idealism.

A famous economist named Joseph Schumpeter once said that the first thing someone will do for his ideals is lie. Some people distinguish little white lies from black lies but the biggest lies of all are green lies.''

Jimo 7 years, 9 months ago

Thank goodness someone else grasps the unavoidable rule that limiting land use causes land prices (and thereby housing prices) to increase.

I don't so much mind the choice that if we adopt Regulation X than Person Y will be priced out of house of their own. What I mind is that people seem clueless than they are making this choice (or worse refusing to accept the consequence of their choice).

jamoca 7 years, 9 months ago

I'm so glad that I moved my family out of that congested, liberal haven town called Lawrence, KS!

Thinking_Out_Loud 7 years, 9 months ago

You know, I rather like Lawrence. And my friends from Boston and LA positively guffaw at the idea that Lawrence is "liberal."

Practicality 7 years, 9 months ago

What is all this talk about $150000 homes in Lawrence? What does that get a family here? About 1000 square feet?

This is just one more increase from a never ending list of increases starting in the late 1980s. I have given up on any politician coming to the conclusion that if there isn't money to fund something, then they have to figure out how to do without it. Especially in these times.

I think this is just a way to try to recoup the projected losses from property taxes due to home devaluation though.

jafs 7 years, 9 months ago

And mortgage tax declines.

And state cuts.

George Lippencott 7 years, 9 months ago


What mortage tax cuts?

Sorry, a responsible person would go look at the state expenditures before the economy went south and now. You will find little in cuts. The 20% increase in state sales tax sure helped that problem.

Oh, by the by - when I lose income I do with less. Why not the county?

jafs 7 years, 9 months ago

The county gains revenue from mortgage taxes, which occur when people buy houses.

Since fewer people are buying houses, they've lost revenue from that source.

The state cuts I'm referring to are cuts in funding for local agencies, like Bert Nash. When the state cuts funding, it's left to local areas to either cut services or raise taxes to cover them.

Ok - what are your proposed cuts at the county level?

nanimwe 7 years, 9 months ago

I'm glad I recently moved just west of the county line... Y'all have my sympathies.

Jimo 7 years, 9 months ago

Somalia might work for you too. I'm told the tax-free status of no government has al Qaeda considering relocating their headquarters there.

IndusRiver 7 years, 9 months ago

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

IndusRiver 7 years, 9 months ago

Open Letter to the JW Censors,

When you arbitrarily use your awesome power to impose Soviet-style censorship on a(ny) poster, you disenfranchise that person who then ceases to participate in the democratic process.

IndusRiver 7 years, 9 months ago

I also am getting ready to pack up and abandon sorry, Socialist Lawrence.

Jimo 7 years, 9 months ago

"Flory said that the decision to finance open space, heritage efforts and economic development came at the expense of core services, such as law enforcement, roads and bridges."

This would be easier to take if the money was to be used for important things. Restricting land use and bribing business to locate here aren't valid purposes.

monkeyhawk 7 years, 9 months ago

I had the happiest day of my life last year when I saw Lawrence in the rear view mirror for the last time. I now live by the beach in a community that is very unfriendly to homeless people and does not embrace the socialist agenda. I check in on the LJW from time to time and I never cease to receive a gracious dose of positive reinforcement that my decision was indeed a sound one.

Anyone could have seen the writing on the wall a few years ago. The three amigos poisoned Lawrence for years to come, and the newcomers are just as bad. They all have their agendas, you just don't get to see what it is until they are elected and their actions speak louder than their campaign lies.

I really feel sorry for the people I still like in Lawrence. They understand that they are getting absolutely nothing in return for the soaking. Don't let anyone tell you that Lawrence is "special", because it ain't.

jafs 7 years, 9 months ago

Just out of curiosity, where do you live now?

Jimo 7 years, 9 months ago

" I now live by the beach in a community that is very unfriendly to homeless people and does not embrace the socialist agenda."

Ah, they've decided to export their problems to other communities. I wondered where Lawrence's homeless originated.

Alexander Neighbors 7 years, 9 months ago

Yes its a special place where the city leaders all hold shares of bio-tech stocks and they consistently GIVE public money(Your money) to these companies in hopes they will come to Lawrence. Forget about making the residence's of the city happy to live in the city screw them.... Need more tax money lets bypass the companies in Lawrence and go straight for the residence as those suckers can be hit up for cash every time.

RegularJane 7 years, 9 months ago

It's just a few dollars more.....unfortunately everything is going up just a few dollars more. The "few dollars" really add up and many of us wonder how we will keep up with all of the increases. Our income is being radically outpaced by the increased taxes and utilities. I may have to sell and live in a camper, too!

frank regnier 7 years, 9 months ago

What in the hell is going on here! Does the city commission realize what kind of economy we are in for working families. Why don't you just foreclose on persons who can't pay their taxes and then take their homes. Hey great, then they can live in the new shelter you build. Free rent and food. Is there going to be a swimming pool in the recreation area too? I got your tax for you right here >oIo

igby 7 years, 9 months ago

Better sale your property now because in one year it will be worth less than half of it current value. Sell now fool, sell now while the interest rates are low because when the bond markets falls you'll be screwed like a cork in a wine bottle.

It's not yet a buyers market in Lawrence, because these money people are in denial and they think its not going to happen to them because most all their money train is KU driven and pulling in people from the city of Topeka and Kansas City. That will change over night!

igby 7 years, 9 months ago

Next they'll be taxing these jumbo houses over $500,000.00 and extra 3 mills for a luxury tax on the rich.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 9 months ago

It is my opinion that taxpayers need to keep a much closer eye on the Chamber of Commerce and the city commission. It seems the city easily has a simple majority that is all about wreckanomics.

George Lippencott 7 years, 9 months ago

The city is holding the line. The county is wacking me 9% - they are the bigger bill anyway.\

You seem to have a one track agenda to stop growth to increase the value of your holdings and the prices you can charge at local businesses.

I guess you are getting what you want. Only KU paid professionals will be able to live here - the rest of us will take our licking on property values and get out.

Lawrence really is a little bitty town after all!

kansasmutt 7 years, 9 months ago

Protest by buying in the small towns away from Lawrence. The Chamber in lawrence is backing this leadership troup and the best way to hit back is to not shop in Lawrence. Shop Baldwin, Eudora,and for your real savings on smokes, drinks and food, shop Red X or other Missouri locations. Stay out of all downtown Lawrence shops and stay out of the Big Box stores in Lawrence. Look for those Lawrence Chamber of Commerce stickers on the front doors and shop elsewhere. You do have a way to protest and this is it. If even 30% will do this, youl see a huge change in the way things are done after a while.

George Lippencott 7 years, 9 months ago


The chamber is not backing the county spend thrifts. They do back some of the city commissioners who are holding the line.

sctt22 7 years, 9 months ago

Email the district commissioners on their site. You can email each one individually.

George Lippencott 7 years, 9 months ago



If I understand you correctly, the county is entitled to tax revenues at a specified level and if properties are not moving, the county gets to increase property taxes. If property values decline, the county gets to increase property taxes.

Let me see my property value has according to the county declined by about 3%. . However, the county is raising my property taxes by 9%. My math must be different from yours - what decline! For the record, private appraisals suggest that the value has declined closer to 10%.

IMHO the messed up real estate market here abouts is partly the fault of the county. It has been suggested that the county overstates values- some say by about 10% - particularly on homes exempted from state reportng. Now we are not moving properties because the current owners do not want to take the bath as values are down more than the county reports. The number of homes not moving in my neighborhood continues to grow. Eventually, people will have to take that bath and the property values will decline more. Is the county going to raise my property taxes 30% when the correction occurs and we take that 10% loss?

Why should the county get to benefit. Everybody should share the pain. The homeowner because the value of his/her home has declined. Those on public assistance because we have less money to give them. Government employees because most of us have seen no inflation adjustments. New initiatives because it is jut plain stupid to start them when people are hurting. I might point out that the county has already made out on my property taxes because they have taxed me for five years at a value my home no longer holds if it ever did.

I think you might want to consider the other side of the rapacious appetite around here for taking other peoples money and using it for special interests to get elected/reelected.

jafs 7 years, 9 months ago


One more time, then I'll give up.

The mortgage taxes I'm referring to are the taxes on new mortgages, not your monthly tax bill. When people buy houses and take out mortgages, there is a tax on them that goes to the county. When people don't buy houses, etc., ...

The difference between county appraisals and other sources is a real problem, albeit one that nobody complained about when county appraisals were much lower than private appraisals. In my opinion, appraisals, from whatever source, should accurately reflect what one can sell one's home for.

I agree about new projects, and informed the county commission of my view last week.

What are your proposed cuts? When revenue is down, we can either cut spending or raise taxes, or both. The county provides a number of basic services like road & bridge construction and maintenance, law enforcement, etc. Which of those would you like to cut?

George Lippencott 7 years, 9 months ago


That is what I understood and addressed it as a decline in sales.

I don't want to cut anything. I just do not want to increase anything. I would even accept a 2% increase to hold the line accepting the notion that the county does not have to cut when property values decline – at least for now.

As far as the impact of sales - the county gets to eat that one because they are in part responsible for it. My solution to this actual cut would be to review all the alphabet soup that provides social services around here and eliminate those that serve only a few at significant cost to all the rest of us. I firmly believe there is duplication in services. As far as to which one – that is what county staff is paid to figure out..

jafs 7 years, 9 months ago

Well, the budget is basically just covering essential services, with the exception of the eco-devo and green space funding.

According to the county administrator, he felt that about a 3-3.5 mill increase would cover essential services - the proposed amount is basically 3 mills.

George Lippencott 7 years, 9 months ago

The proposed amount is a nine percent increase. Inflation is not driving up costs. Me thinks the county manager is manipulating the books. Positions that were federally funded now funded locally. New hires for at best marginal needs at this point in our existence. That is not maintaining services that is expanding them.

Enough said. The simplistic notion that we can continue to take from the productive side of our economy and give to an increasingly large unproductive side simply is unsustainable.

I have repeatedly asked this question on this list. How much is enough - when productive people live no better than those we help? Did not work in the Soviet Union. Has not worked anywhere for long. When there is nothing to gain by working then one stops and rides the gravy train.

We have no ability to stop this train here in Lawrence as there are more people benefiting from our largess than are paying for it. They have the votes. Time to move on - actually already working the problem. I feel totally disenfranchised.

jafs 7 years, 9 months ago

Good luck with your move.

It certainly seems that you are very unhappy here - I hope you find somewhere that works better for you.

George Lippencott 7 years, 9 months ago

Not unhappy - I can not afford the increases on my fixed income. Few other places seem to need as large an increase as Lawrence. I expect such large increases to contunue.

You know you never answer the hard questions - how much is enough!

jafs 7 years, 9 months ago

I think it's an odd question.

Obviously subjective.

My answer would be that the amount we pay in taxes should reflect the number and kind of services we want in our community.

That varies from person to person, and community to community.

jafs 7 years, 9 months ago

Given your various posts on Lawrence, I would make the following suggestions:

  1. Don't move to another college town (you seem to dislike students/renters).

  2. Don't move to another liberal town (you seem to prefer lower taxes rather than more services).

  3. Don't move to another town with a relatively high cost of living/wage ratio.

In fact, given your obvious (and strong) preferences, and the fact that you say you did a lot of research before moving here, I am baffled at why you moved here in the first place.

The three above items are obvious and large parts of Lawrence - most people who move here like the college town part, and the liberal part, and are willing to pay a little more for it.

kansasmutt 7 years, 9 months ago

Avoid the stores with Chanber of Commerce stickers on the door or window. They ARE backing the tax rate hike and were all seen at the meeting voicing support for the rate hike and $$$$$$ to waste on future growth that will cost us taxpayers.If they want $$$$$$$$$$$ to support there cause, let them beg for donations from oneanother. WY county only had a 6% rate hike and may be as low as 3% when its finalized. Douglas county is giving out raises as well, anyone else getting a raise this year or next ????? or did you see one last year ??? I bet not, pay cuts wer the handouts. Shop Baldwin and Eudora for your shopping needs.

kansasmutt 7 years, 9 months ago

Update, WY county droped it to 4% as of today.

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