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Archive for Friday, November 19, 2010

Town Talk: Plastikon reduces wage estimate; city to consider police arrest powers; landfill increase set to kick in

November 19, 2010

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News and notes from around town:

• A glitch has arisen in the efforts of Plastikon Industries to win public incentives to locate a new manufacturing plant in the East Hills Business Park. The California-based company is resubmitting its application to the city because it inadvertently overstated the average wage that would be paid at the new plant. Previously the company estimated the average annual salary near $58,000. Now, the company is estimating that it will be $46,875. The reason for the change is that the company had included benefits such as 401k, medical, dental, and vacation benefits in its original estimate. The city typically asks for those costs to be broken out of the wage estimate when evaluating a request for incentives.

Matthew Gough, a Lawrence attorney who recently discovered the error after being hired by Plastikon to assist them in completing the incentive process, said the error was not intentional.

“Although not as high paying as originally believed, these are still good jobs for Lawrence,” Gough said in a letter to the city.

Previously the company also had said no job at the plant would have a starting wage less than $30,000. That number has now been revised downward to $25,500. The previous $30,000 number also had included benefits.

The project already has won approval from the city’s Public Incentives Review Committee, but it is now expected to receive a second hearing by that group to consider the new information.

The company is asking for about $63,000 in job training grant money that would be paid jointly by the city and county over a five-year period. The company is not seeking a property tax abatement. It is seeking more substantial incentives from the state and the Kansas Bioscience Authority.

• City police officers soon may have more ability to arrest people for violating laws like aggressive panhandling and noise ordinances. A new report out of City Hall is recommending that city commissioners exempt Lawrence from a state law that limits when people can be arrested for a municipal offense.

When it comes to municipal laws — basically laws that are on the city’s books but not the state’s books — police officers are limited in their ability to arrest a violator without a warrant unless one of four conditions are met: the person refuses to sign the ticket consenting to show up in court; the person is unable to produce identification; the person is not a resident of Kansas (that’s because you can’t extradite someone from another state on a municipal offense); or the police officer has probable cause that the person will cause physical harm if not arrested immediately.

Scott Miller, an attorney for the city, said that can make it difficult for the police to arrest an individual who keeps violating the same municipal law over and over again. He cited the city’s noise ordinance and the city’s aggressive panhandling ordinance as situations where broader authority may be helpful.

For example, an aggressive panhandler (see the link for the legal definition) can be given multiple tickets but cannot be arrested unless one of the four conditions is met.

“That frustrates people who keep calling in the complaints, and it frustrates police officers who keep dealing with the same complaints,” Miller said.

Under the new law, police officers still would have legal standards that would have to be met to make an arrest, but they would be the same standards that apply to regular state laws.

“The number of arrests that I would expect to occur as the result of these changes is really, really small,” Miller said. “But in some particularly egregious situations, this could be helpful.”

City commissioners have not yet decided when they may consider approving the change.

• City commissioners are now ready to sign a new contract with Hamm Quarries that will continue to allow the city to dump its trash at the Hamm landfill in Jefferson County for the next three years. The new contract, as previously reported, raises the city’s rate by 3.5 percent and includes an annual 3.5 increase each year.

City staff members are recommending approval of the contract after they investigated moving the city’s service to the Deffenbaugh landfill in Johnson County. Deffenbaugh offered a per ton price to the city that is about 28 percent less than Hamm’s, but the city said the extra 35 miles city trash truck would have to travel to dump their loads would eliminate any savings. The city estimated the extra travel would increase costs by at least $53,000 to $95,000 per month.

The city already has raised it trash rates to account for this year’s increase from Hamm. City commissioners are expected to approve the contract at their Tuesday meeting.

Comments

parrothead8 3 years, 9 months ago

"For example, an aggressive panhandler (see the link for the legal definition) can be given multiple tickets but cannot be arrested unless one of the four conditions is met."

The link I followed appears to show a law with SIX conditions, not four.

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RogueThrill 3 years, 9 months ago

There are six conditions defining aggressive panhandling and four conditions, one of which must be met, to be arrested.

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lgreen17 3 years, 9 months ago

So we are just going to start arresting people for minor marijuana violations that they would otherwise get a ticket for. Exactly what the ordinance was meant to avoid. What a waste of resources.

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Susan Mangan 3 years, 9 months ago

Actually, it wasn't meant to prevent "minor violators" from being arrested. It was meant to prevent an otherwise good kid, who got caught with pot once, from being banned from ever obtaining Federal aid for school because of a misdemeanor conviction. Having arrest powers shouldn't affect the criminal nature of the violation, if I understand correctly. And, more than one arrest wouldn't fall under the city ordinance, anyway. It applies to your first minor possession, I believe.

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stevemarkcraig 3 years, 9 months ago

LOOKS LIKE HAMMS HAS THE CITY BY THE BALLS

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MillerLt 3 years, 9 months ago

So Deffenbaugh sets up Lawrence with Recycling and in turn our solid waste workers get to go home early and get paid for a full day's work and now Hamm's is raising rates 3.5 % each year for how many years to make up lost $ because Lawrence Solid Waste isn't bringing as much to the landfill? I certainly hope after the Longevity bonus being approved that someone re-evaluates how our Solid Waste Dept is compensated.

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RogueThrill 3 years, 9 months ago

3.5% sort of sounds like inflation to me.

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stevemarkcraig 3 years, 9 months ago

solid waste dept is very poorly ran the people of the city would be better off if a private hauler would take it over

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Nick Yoho 3 years, 9 months ago

WRONG! Privatizing everything is NOT the answer!

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lawrencehatesbusinesses 3 years, 9 months ago

What will they be manufacturing and will their incentive money requested be segregated to Lawrencians only? Too many unknowns as usual! I know a nice place down in Ottawa they can go instead.

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Fred Whitehead Jr. 3 years, 9 months ago

"A glitch has arisen in the efforts of Plastikon Industries to win public incentives to locate a new manufacturing plant in the East Hills Business Park"

Now what did I say a few weeks ago about this "great new business opportunity"? I am not one bit surprised at this enlightenment, nearly every past such "great shining opportunity" that has considered Lawrence has turned out to be another great bust hitting the ground with an unceremonious thud. I have seen this happen over and over again. The city government and local chamber of commerce is so clueless about these things that it defies description.

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lawrencehatesbusinesses 3 years, 9 months ago

A big bust frwent. We need Federal government jobs, not corporate pig jobs -oink, oink

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gl0ck0wn3r 3 years, 9 months ago

Yeah... because the city certainly doesn't need more private sector jobs that pay $46,000 on average.

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Danimal 3 years, 9 months ago

I knew the Plastikon deal was too good to be true! You can never trust Californians! This is a pretty huge difference, we're talking 15-20% reduction in wages from what the city was originally sold by this company, and that's no minor oversight. I think they should take their factory to Topeka.

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ksjayhawk74 3 years, 9 months ago

The "error" was not an accident. They did it on purpose. Or maybe some higher-up got a big bonus by figuring out how to swing cutting the payroll budget by 20%.

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bearded_gnome 3 years, 9 months ago

• City police officers soon may have more ability to arrest people for violating laws like aggressive panhandling and noise ordinances. A new report out of City Hall is recommending that city commissioners exempt Lawrence from a state law that limits when people can be arrested for a municipal offense.

---yes.

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bearded_gnome 3 years, 9 months ago

I knew the Plastikon deal was too good to be true! You can never trust Californians! This is a pretty huge difference, we're talking 15-20% reduction in wages from what the city was originally sold by this company, and that's no minor oversight. I think they should take their factory to Topeka.

---indeed. never trust Californians. "California: the land of fruits and nuts."

bwhahaha!

but ... really?
you wish Topeka on them! they can't be all that bad.

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bearded_gnome 3 years, 9 months ago

Jesse: Who? Topekans or Californians? 6 of one, half a dozen of another...

---good catch! lol.
I meant: the california company can't be so bad you'd wish them to set up in Topeka?!?

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 9 months ago

Isn't it wonderful that corporate america is able to wander about to shop for "tax incentives" aka bribe money. Where did this concept originate? The tax dollar haters shop for tax dollars to put into their bank accounts. Does Plastikon Industries pay taxes or just extract them from local pocketbooks?

"The company is not seeking a property tax abatement. It is seeking more substantial incentives from the state and the Kansas Bioscience Authority. " All of which are OUR tax dollars!

Communities are being strong armed and must pay for jobs to come to OUR communities..... what a scam!

Time to do away with all Free Lunch's! Lawrence Taxpaying Voters should weed out the city hall “Free Lunch” program!

Here’s what happens. http://www.democracynow.org/2008/1/18/free_lunch_how_the_wealthiest_americans http://www.uua.org/events/generalassembly/2008/commonthreads/115777.shtml

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gl0ck0wn3r 3 years, 9 months ago

Merrill, how much is your lawn mowing business returning to the community in tax revenue?

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Nick Yoho 3 years, 9 months ago

how much is the city giving away to him for having it here, might be a better question.

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gl0ck0wn3r 3 years, 9 months ago

No, return on investment is the best question.

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independent_rebel 3 years, 9 months ago

I agree. Let's end all the Free Lunch we taxpayer's dole out. No more T system, no more money to support Loring Henderson's Homeless Enabling Hotel, no more money wasted on ugly, bent pieces of metal claimed to be art, and no more seasonal flowers and lancscaping, etc..

Let's get back to fixing roads and infrastructure.

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lawrencehatesbusinesses 3 years, 9 months ago

I totally agree with merrill, we need to run these people out of town like American Eagle and bring in some GSA jobs that will inturn give back to the community. Go away Plasitigon, we see your bait and switch!

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lawrencehatesbusinesses 3 years, 9 months ago

...and here's a thought on the landfill. Why doesn't Lawrence use the Farmland site for a new landfill and tell Hamm's to stick it? The City would then own our landfill.

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lawrencehatesbusinesses 3 years, 9 months ago

...and here's a thought on the landfill. Why doesn't Lawrence use the Farmland site for a new landfill and tell Hamm's to stick it? The City would then own our landfill.

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said_zeppelin 3 years, 9 months ago

Some of you really need to get over yourselves and your view that Lawrence is some type of exclusive country club community too good to allow companies to bring in jobs that many people would love to have. Do you really think a college kid, or even someone that just graduated college should "deserve" a payscale that many commenters keep referring to as the price of admission to bring their company here?

Get real. The major contributions to your tax roles are by hardworking people in non-executive or even middle management jobs. There is a place for these jobs in this community because there is already a workforce here that often has to look to neighboring communities to get a job. There is a business park in this town that many of you seem to want to make the requirements for admission to be like getting into Harvard compared to getting into KU. I live here and I love many things about this community but many of you really need a reality check.

Come on in Plastikon. There are some people with some common sense and a connection to the real world here. Sadly they are just not as vocal as the ones that don't think the whole thing over before hitting the comment page.

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somebodynew 3 years, 9 months ago

said_ I agree with you about the people wanting those jobs, I just think there has been some deceipt in the past with companies wanting "handouts" and then not producing what was promised. I don't think that is the case here with what they are asking for.

As to your comment about the other side not being as vocal - perhaps they are just too busy working 2 or 3 jobs to have time spending it on an on-line comment section of the paper ?? You know actually working for a living as opposed to some of the ones who are on here constantly bit***ing about everything.

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Bob Forer 3 years, 9 months ago

Hey all you suck butt cheerleaders who never met a miliionaire you didn't like: You all were touting this as the best thing since white bread. Ain't so white, now, is it?

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Graczyk 3 years, 9 months ago

I'm glad someone isn't taken in by the average salary claim. It is so misleading. The average is grossly inflated when management's pay is included.

$25k isn't horrible, but it's only about $12 or so per hour. It's not that great either.

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George Lippencott 3 years, 9 months ago

Have we really thought through the idea of arrests for violations of city ordinances?? Does that mean you can be arrested for not mowing your lawn, your dog barks, you park in the wrong place, you drink a bit too much on Saturday night. If we get the state to let us do this, would we find ourselves facing arrest for trivial matters? Do we really trust our law givers to do this right? Is the panhandling issue worth such a major infringement on our liberties? Tickets are just fine for such trivial matters. Don’t let DTL feather it’s own nest at the expense of the rest of us.

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George Lippencott 3 years, 9 months ago

Are you saying the original article is bogus and we already have the right to arrest aggressive panhandlers? Why would we need state authority if we already have it? Are our leaders that stupid?

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stevemarkcraig 3 years, 9 months ago

what the city needs is a good police cheif that can run the city and uphold the law and make good decisions for the people of lawrence and be fair about it

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Fred Whitehead Jr. 3 years, 9 months ago

A-double Men! But you ain't gonna get that with this group of yard sign clowns in the city commission dancing to the tune of Mr. Core-less

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bearded_gnome 3 years, 9 months ago

Dere's an ol' man called de Mississippi Dat's de ol' man dat I'd like to be What does he care if de world's got troubles What does he care if de land ain't free

Ol' man river, dat ol' man river He mus' know sumpin', but don't say nuthin' He jes' keeps rollin' He keeps on rollin' along

He don' plant taters, he don't plant cotton An' dem dat plants' em is soon forgotten But ol'man river He jes' keeps rollin' along

You an' me, we sweat an' strain Body all achin' an' wracked wid pain, Tote dat barge! Lif' dat bale!

Git a little drunk an' you lands in jail

Ah gits weary an' sick of tryin' Ah'm tired of livin' an' skeered of dyin' But ol' man river He jes' keeps rolling' along

N1ggers all work on de Mississippi N1ggers all work while de white folks play Pullin' dose boats from de dawn to sunset Gittin' no rest till de judgement day

(Don't look up an' don't look down) (You don' dar'st make de white boss frown) (Bend your knees an' bow your head) (An' pull dat rope until you're dead)

Let me go 'way from the Mississippi Let me go 'way from de white man boss Show me dat stream called de river Jordan Dat's de ol' stream dat I long to cross

(Ol' man river, dat ol' man river) (He mus' know sumpin', but don't say nothin') (He just keeps rollin') (He keeps on rollin' along)

Long, low river Forever keeps rollin'

(Don' plant taters, he don' plant cotton) (And dem dat plants' em is soon forgotten) (But ol' man river (He jes' keeps rollin' along)

Long low river Keeps singin' dis song

You an' me, we sweat an' strain Body all achin' and wracked wid pain Tote dat barge! Lift dat bale! Git a little drunk and ya lands in jail

Ah gits weary an' sick o' tryin' Ah'm tired o livin' an' skeered o' dyin' But ol' man river He jes' keeps rollin' along!

You an' me, we sweat an' strain Body all achin' and wracked wid pain Tote dat barge! Lift dat bale! Git a little drunk and ya lands in jail

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