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Archive for Sunday, September 5, 2010

City commission agenda for September 7, 2010

City to review employee health plans

September 5, 2010

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Bottom line

City commissioners will consider making changes to the health insurance program offered to city employees.

Background

Staff members are recommending that the city continue to pick up the full costs of coverage for employees. The city’s employee plus spouse insurance plan will cost employees $72 per pay period, unchanged from the current year. The employee plus children plan will be $64 per pay period, which also is unchanged for the year. The family plan, which covers both a spouse and children, will cost employees $102 per pay period, which is an increase of 11 percent for the year. Staff members are recommending an increase in that plan because a study found the city was subsidizing it to a greater degree than the others.

Other business

Recognition

• Proclaim Sept. 5-11 as International Literacy Week.

• Proclaim Sept. 5-11 as Suicide Prevention Week.

Consent agenda

• Approve City Commission meeting minutes from July 20 and 27.

• Receive minutes from various boards and commissions:

• Approve claims.

• Approve licenses as recommended by the city clerk’s office.

• Approve appointments as recommended by the mayor.

• Bid and purchase items:

a. Set bid opening date of Sept. 21 for the DeVictor Park Trail extension. The city is receiving grant funding for part of these improvements.

b. Set bid opening date of Sept. 28 for Indiana Street water line crossing at Sixth Street.

c. Set bid opening date of Sept. 28 for sanitary sewer main replacement for the 1100 block of Delaware Street, the 1500 block of New Hampshire Street and the 700 block of Michigan Street.

d. Approve purchase of one Laser Shot LE Pro Law Enforcement Trainer System for the police department for $28,207. The city is receiving grant funding to partially fund this item.

e. Approve payment to Alpha Omega Geotech Inc. for specialized inspection services for the Carnegie Library rehabilitation project for $23,331.25.

• Adopt these ordinances on second and final reading:

a. Amending contractor licensing regulations found in Chapter 5, Articles 15 and 17 of the City Code.

b. Exempting the city from the nonuniform state statute on primary elections for city commissioner and requiring a primary election if seven or more candidates file for office.

• Approve extension request for Final Development Plan for Miracon Plaza Planned Commercial Development — Phase 1 at the northeast corner of Wakarusa Drive and Clinton Parkway.

• Approve a Temporary Use of Public Right-of-Way Permit to close Seventh Street from Tennessee Street to Kentucky Street from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 17 and from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sept. 18 for a Strongman Competition.

• Approve a street vendor license for Last Stop Snack Shop at the southwest corner of 10th Street and Massachusetts Street, pending satisfactory inspection of the cart’s heating devices by the Fire Medical Department.

• Approve a Temporary Use of Right-of-Way Permit for the use of various streets for the Jingle Bell Run, including the rolling closure of Massachusetts Street downtown from approximately 8:20 a.m. to 8:50 a.m. Dec. 12.

• Approve these items relating to sidewalk dining and hospitality area at Wa Restaurant, 740 Mass:

a. A site plan, submitted by Mary Kol for Freda Miller and Jack Miller co-trustees, property owner of record.

b. Sidewalk dining and hospitality license.

c. Allow possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages on certain city property pursuant.

• Authorize the mayor to sign mortgage releases for:

a. Jerry and Judy Davis, 942 Hilltop Drive (two mortgages)

b. Nancy Edwards, 1607 W. 27th St.

c. Priscilla Howe, 347 Elm (two mortgages).

• Receive city manager’s report.

Regular agenda

• Receive staff report regarding the Sept. 4 Oread Tailgate Event.

• Receive request from Sunflower Broadband for the sale and transfer of cable television and telecommunications franchise agreements from Sunflower Broadband to Knology.

• Consider approving recommended changes to the city’s employee healthcare plan for 2011.

• Consider approving the selection of American General Life as city’s voluntary employee benefit vendor and authorize city manager to enter into contract negotiations with American General Life.

• Receive memorandum from Commissioner Rob Chestnut and city staff concerning next steps for solid waste services.

Comments

Richard Heckler 4 years, 3 months ago

David Cay Johnston then boggled the crowd with a blunt assertion: "We pay billions of dollars in taxes that never get to the government." Much of the sales tax we pay at big box stores and shopping centers is diverted to the large companies that own the stores. It's just one of the many swindles these chains have learned to perpetrate against city and county governments. This is so effective that the Cabela family, which owns a chain of big-box sporting goods stores, receives 137% of its profits from taxpayer subsidies. If they couldn't work this scam, they wouldn't be in business at all.

The heart of the wealth transfer is tax increment financing (TIF). Store owners come to town leaders and offer to build a new store that, they promise, will "create jobs." In exchange, the city gives them the land, builds the store to their specifications, and finances it all with tax-free municipal bonds (which are usually held by associates of the store owners). To cap it all, the store keeps the sales tax generated in the store to pay off the bond holders. If the store is built on government land, it's also exempt from paying any property taxes.

Why do city governments take such a blatantly bad deal? Many of them are struggling, and believe that a new Wal-Mart will bring in shoppers from all over—shoppers who will stick around and shop in their town. It never works out that way. Under stiff competition the small shops go out of business, taking the town's tax base with them. Schools, parks, recreation programs, and libraries are starved. Almost always, these city councils would be far better served putting the money in upgrades to local Main Street businesses, rather than financing the competitor that will kill them.

Johnston also noted that as a result, the nation is losing mom-and-pop businesses that are often more efficient in real terms than the big box stores, which carry tremendous overhead in management and distribution. He suggested that audience members do an experiment: first, eat at a chain restaurant like TGIF—and then go the next night to a local family-owned place. Not only will you spend half as much in the family place—the people working there are probably making more money. That's what real efficiency looks like.

Other scams Johnston noted: http://www.uua.org/events/generalassembly/2008/commonthreads/115777.shtml

Flap Doodle 4 years, 3 months ago

"...This is so effective that the Cabela family, which owns a chain of big-box sporting goods stores, receives 137% of its profits from taxpayer subsidies..." I'm calling BS on that.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 3 months ago

BEWARE OF ALL TAX INCENTIVES FOR NEW EMPLOYERS . ASK YOURSELF HOW MUCH CAN I AFFORD PAY EMPLOYERS TO LOCATE IN LAWRENCE,KANSAS?

THEN ASK YOURSELF HOW MANY HAVE I ALREADY PAID FOR?

HOW MANY HAVE LEFT TOWN AFTER I PICKED UP THEIR SHARE OF TAXES? MOST OF ALL OF THEM IS THE ANSWER.

PERSONALLY I CANNOT AFFORD TO PAY ANY EMPLOYERS TO LOCATE IN LAWRENCE,KANSAS UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 3 months ago

How do you know property owners are paying the property taxes? Isn't it an assumption that property taxes on vacant property is being collected?

How much more are you willing to pay in higher taxes and user fees to make up the loss in revenue that is lost when employees find themselves unemployed and way fewer sales taxes are coming down the pike?

gl0ck0wn3r 4 years, 3 months ago

You seem to assume that vacant properties don't pay taxes, but this simply isn't true. If, for example, one owns commercial property that is not leased, the owner is still responsible for the property taxes. You seem so obsessed about what people pay and if it has been paid... why not just check? I did a quick spot-check of a property on Prospect Ave to see how easy it is and it shows that last year the property owners paid $1,764 on their property in 2009. The vacant Masonic lodge, for example, paid $11,889.00.

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