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Archive for Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Town Talk special update: Commissioner Hugh Carter proposes City Hall layoffs, rather than decreasing number of new police officers

August 2, 2011

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This just in this afternoon. City Commissioner Hugh Carter tells me he plans to present his own plan this evening that would involve City Hall layoffs rather than cut back on a planned expansion of the city’s police force.

Carter said he thinks the city probably can cut three positions from the city’s Planning and Development Services Department rather than forgo adding two new police officers to the city’s force. On Monday, Carter was the one commissioner who really spoke out about a plan by City Commissioner Bob Schumm to reduce a planned expansion of the police force from four officers — as recommended by City Manager David Corliss — to two officers. Schumm is supporting the reduction in plans in order to cut another 0.18 mill from the mill levy. That would allow the city’s 2012 budget to come in flat — other than a 1.7-mill increase that was approved by voters for an expansion of the Lawrence Public Library.

Carter said he thinks it is admirable that the commission is trying to limit the mill levy increase, but he said there are better ways to do it.

“Unfortunately, I think crime is heavier in bad economic times,” Carter said.

That’s not the case for development. Carter, a former planning commissioner, said he thinks the slowdown in development activity would allow the city’s planning and development services department to cope with fewer employees.

But Carter conceded that what he is talking about are layoffs of existing personnel, which is a step city commissioners haven’t taken often during this downturn. Most of the employee cuts at City Hall have come through attrition.

“I don’t take that lightly, but I have been in business before and I understand it sometimes has to be done,” Carter said.

Carter said his first choice is to allow Corliss’ recommendation to stand, which would mean the city’s mill levy would increase by 1.88 mills instead of the 1.7 mills under Schumm’s proposal. But Carter said he doesn’t get the sense that a majority of the commission will approve a 1.88-mill increase.

The 0.18 mill amounts to an extra $4.14 per year property taxes for a $200,000 home.

Commissioners meet at 6:35 p.m. tonight at City Hall.

Comments

Kontum1972 3 years, 4 months ago

be nice if all these city hall "demi gawd hot shots" took a cut in pay...to demonstrate that we are all in this together.....can we get a vote here?

KU_cynic 3 years, 4 months ago

How about city hall layoffs AND a reduction in the requested police increase.

I know that's crazy talk in Lawrence . . .

Tammy Copp-Barta 3 years, 4 months ago

That is what is says above regarding the police reduction - from four officers to two.

xclusive85 3 years, 4 months ago

No it doesn't. Try reading it again. Right now it is adding two police officers only (Schumm) or adding four and laying off 3 people from the Planning and Development Services office (Carter), although Carter would rather raise the mill levy to add all four officers and not lay anyone off.

Sean Livingstone 3 years, 4 months ago

Why don't we all just arm ourselves and fire all the police? Just saying...

boxers_or_briefs 3 years, 4 months ago

Maybe Hugh Carter can serve his remaining time on the city commision without being paid. That would help a little too.

bornherelongago 3 years, 4 months ago

Yeah...NOT. I think the commssioners get something like $5,00/year.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 4 months ago

Looks like Carter is looking for some payback from some planning staff who didn't please him while he was a planning commissioner. And/or he figures a smaller staff in the planning office will make it easier for him to rubber-stamp proposals from his developer buds.

Bob_Loblaw 3 years, 4 months ago

This statement is based on what?.....not that I care at all what happens to Carter....I really don't.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 4 months ago

That's just how business as usual is practiced in Lawrence, and Carter seems to be the primary representative of business as usual.

And why did Carter need to find some alternate heads to chop? Couldn't have just said he preferred to raise the mill levy and hire the extra officers?

Chad Lawhorn 3 years, 4 months ago

In fairness, the article does say that Carter's first choice is to raise the mill levy and not lay off people: "Carter said his first choice is to allow Corliss’ recommendation to stand, which would mean the city’s mill levy would increase by 1.88 mills instead of the 1.7 mills under Schumm’s proposal. But Carter said he doesn’t get the sense that a majority of the commission will approve a 1.88-mill increase."

Bug 3 years, 4 months ago

Bingo! Carter is the Chamber's boy toy.

Catalano 3 years, 4 months ago

Oh, Bozo, I love it when you read my mind and beat me to the post/punch.

Bob_Loblaw 3 years, 4 months ago

''Unfortunately, I think crime is heavier in bad economic times,' Carter said. That’s not the case for development. Carter, a former planning commissioner, said he thinks the slowdown in development activity would allow the city’s planning and development services department to cope with fewer employees..."

Yes.....I agree. Doing what would be "nice" is not necessarily the best choice. He is at least using some reasoning skills to come to his conclusion. Crime IS heavier in bad economic times....history clearly shows that. The only development happening in Lawrence (non-stop) are frickin' apartments.

Crazy_Larry 3 years, 4 months ago

If you check the data, you'll find that crime in Lawrence has been dropping ever since the arrival of our 'bad economic time.'

http://police.lawrenceks.org/content/crime-statistics

Total reported crime: 2007 - 16710; 2008 - 15648; 2009 - 15612; 2010 - 14790.

Now what? The guy doesn't really know what he thinks he knows. Does he?

ModerateOne 3 years, 4 months ago

We have way too many planners and not nearly enough new projects to plan. Great idea Commissioner Carter!

Carol Bowen 3 years, 4 months ago

Bad idea. Net employment balance of zero and programs removed. It would be more palatable if he had some specific program cuts in mind.

kef104 3 years, 4 months ago

Is anyone else bothered that when they discuss our need for more officers for the size of our community they ignore the Sheriffs staff and the KU Police staff? They do count and they do assist. We can ignore the article a few weeks back that showed we already have more police per population than most area communities with lower crime issues. Ie, extra police do not appear to lower crime.

Clark Coan 3 years, 4 months ago

Experience has shown that having more cops does not reduce crime. What about attrition? Just don't fill vacant positions that come up for a couple of years. They never did fill the parks and rec directorship left vacant after Fred Devictor retired.

gl0ck0wn3r 3 years, 4 months ago

Says Captain Cut and Paste who has never seen a tax or a planning group he doesn't like.

Crazy_Larry 3 years, 4 months ago

Exhibit No. 1: “Unfortunately, I think crime is heavier in bad economic times,” Carter said.

(pardon me while i cut & paste)

If you check the data, you'll find that crime in Lawrence has been dropping ever since the arrival of our 'bad economic time.'

http://police.lawrenceks.org/content/...

Total reported crime: 2007 - 16710; 2008 - 15648; 2009 - 15612; 2010 - 14790.

Don Whiteley 3 years, 4 months ago

How about fewer speed traps handing out tickets to regular Lawrence citizens doing 7 mph over the speed limit, and keep the number of officers the same or reduce them?

xclusive85 3 years, 4 months ago

Well, Lawrence citizens could stop speeding and breaking the law.

Crazy_Larry 3 years, 4 months ago

It's not a law, it's an infraction of city ordinance.

Crazy_Larry 3 years, 4 months ago

Yeah, yeah...an ordinance is a law. I was thinking 'biblical law.' Some time I'm wrong. Deal with it.

Munsoned 3 years, 4 months ago

Because Corliss would have a cow at the revenue lost by fines.

John Hamm 3 years, 4 months ago

I propose BOTH! Get spending under control. Take a subtle hint from the national debt and threats of losing our AAA credit rating. Jeeezzzzzzz politicians. Why is it when people get elected their brain(s) shut off?

irvan moore 3 years, 4 months ago

can we just buy a rubber stamp and get rid of corlis and call it good?

Don Zimmer 3 years, 4 months ago

To save more money fire the whole planning department, the staff just says "No" anyway.

I've talked with buiders and despite the construction downturn the City has hired additional inspectors.

This is just an example of how the government entrenches themselves starting at a local level and up and justifies their existence and budgets, whether there is a need or cost effective. Look at all the duplications of agencies and departments at the national level.

A friend tells me *80% of his sales and most of his profits come from the end of the school year budget and they have to "use it or lose it" and each year their budget goes up..He replaces perfectly usable products and then resells them to the public.

I, as most small businesses, have had to make difficult decisions to survive and cannot understand the continued growth of the government. One blogger proposed that they fire all local government jobs and then post the jobs at a 90% discount and see the quality of applicants.

Don Zimmer 3 years, 4 months ago

shoulf have said "10% discount" and qualified applicants will come out of the woodwork.

Munsoned 3 years, 4 months ago

What does your friend do with the proceeds?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 4 months ago

The city hired extra inspectors because over the years there have been a lot of construction projects that never got final inspections due to too few inspectors. So just because they now have more inspectors does not mean they are overstaffed.

Casual905 3 years, 4 months ago

I think you should get your facts straight. The City had 4 construction inspectors until around 2001 then they went down to 3 and that number has been the same to now. The people I talk to say when construction was up inspectors couldnt keep up and it was taking weeks to get a new house permit. Most builders in Lawrence do a pretty good job, but there are some rotten ones as well. Leave safety to the builders and developers and hope they do the right thing for Lawrence, no thank you. Cut somewhere else, we got enough police. If you are a small business owner, maybe you dont have any employees or maybe you have unskilled people. Most businesses understand your employees are your greaest asset. Why did this commissioner single out planning and inspectors. Sounds like he's in the Chamber's pocket.

Catalano 3 years, 4 months ago

Not all small businesses understand that your employees are your greatest asset. Take Larsen & Associates for example.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 3 years, 4 months ago

Build more roundabouts!!!!Build more roundabouts!!!!

Terry Jacobsen 3 years, 4 months ago

I'm not going to comment on the advantages or disadvantages of more or less police or more or less planning staff. But we have to stop spending more money than we take in. It's simple math folks. Spend more than you take in and you go bankrupt. Period. End of game.

ilovelucy 3 years, 4 months ago

Hugh is doing a great job. I'm glad someone is thinking clearly at City Hall. The padding at the top should go first. Schumm is trying to keep those who voted him in happy. Since he ran on some stinky topics anyway.

Keith 3 years, 4 months ago

"Schumm is trying to keep those who voted him in happy"

And Carter isn't?

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