Advertisement

Archive for Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Lawrence City Commission approves funding for SRS office

August 9, 2011

Advertisement

Lawrence city commissioners on Tuesday agreed to pay half of a $450,000 local package to keep the state’s SRS office in the community, but commissioners bit their tongues while approving the unique deal.

“I’m really uncomfortable with the precedent here,” said Mayor Aron Cromwell. “Local governments are being asked to pay for a state office, but I’m not going to sit up here and put ideology in front of people.”

Under the deal, the city will pay $112,500 in both 2012 and 2013 in order to help the state offset its costs to continue operating the SRS offices near 19th and Delaware streets. The county will pay an equal amount in those two years. Tuesday’s unanimous approval sends the deal to Douglas County commissioners, who are expected to approve it today.

The deal staves off a July decision by the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services to close the Lawrence office, which employs 87 people and serves several thousands of clients per month.

City commissioners on Tuesday said they and their colleagues at the county were forced to act quickly to make a deal. According to several commissioners, furniture at the SRS office was being marked for moving on Friday, and movers were delayed while negotiations between local officials and the state took place.

“I was convinced that when those desks and pieces of furniture got in the moving truck, SRS was not coming back to Lawrence,” City Commissioner Hugh Carter said. “We didn’t have the luxury of waiting for others to change this decision in Topeka.”

Erika Dvorske, president and CEO of the United Way of Douglas County, urged commissioners to treat the deal like an economic development investment. In addition to keeping the 87 employees in the city, she said her office estimated that Lawrence residents would lose out on $2.4 million worth of food stamp assistance by not having an office located locally. That estimate was based on the belief that about 20 percent of the current food stamp recipients would not be able to keep up with the reporting requirements of the program if the office were in Topeka or Kansas City.

Longtime City Commissioner Mike Amyx said he struggled with whether to support the deal.

“In all my years, I never thought about having to deal with an issue quite like this,” Amyx said. “This has been a tough one. We are asked to make decisions about all sorts of things, but this one really came down to being about people’s lives.”

There is a chance that city and county commissioners may not have to pay the entire $450,000 to the state. The agreement has a provision that if the legislature provides funding to keep the Lawrence office open, the city and county are no longer obligated to pay.

State Sen. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence, said after Tuesday’s meeting that she has some hope that legislators will consider the issue when the session begins in January.

“I think there is going to be considerable concern about transferring state costs to the local level,” said Francisco, who supports the local deal as a means to keep the office open. “I think many legislators will understand that concern and try to address it."

Comments

sunny 2 years, 8 months ago

unbelievable! More tax dollars!

0

oneeye_wilbur 2 years, 8 months ago

How was the city losing an employer? The employer is in Topeka. the workplace is in Lawrence. Only the workplace was changing and the employees were still in employ.

with this logic, is Lawrence losing an employer when Dillons on Mass street closes for awhile? huh? the employees are still employed, only at different locations.

Even the owner of building was losing nothing either as there was a lease.

This is about "keeping up appearances" . Lawrence needs the real Mrs. Bucket to step forward.

0

fishy81 2 years, 8 months ago

people (especially liberals) forget, if a business does not make a PROFIT they won't stay in business.

0

ShePrecedes 2 years, 8 months ago

What fools!!

Bet some of them will have Brownback campaigning for them in their next elections.

0

onceajhawkalwaysajhawk 2 years, 8 months ago

Quite honestly this problem doesn't go away in two years and if the majority of voters support this (which I seriously doubt) It would have been better to build a building and own a asset over 15 years vs. throwing a quarter million dollars down the drain for rent of two years.?.?.? The same people who support the homeless shelter should certainly agreeable for the SRS to share some of the sq. ft. of the new shelter.

0

Sigmund 2 years, 8 months ago

merrill (anonymous) says… "profiteers"

Did you really use the word "profiteers?" Aren't you a "profiteer?" Don't your profit with more potential customers for your lawn care service from increased development?

"Profiteer" jeez ....

0

4accountability 2 years, 8 months ago

The state agency said they could save money and provide the services by closing the Lawrence Office. We have to reduce spending. Most communities are not happy to lose an employer. If Lawrence wanted something above and beyond what the state deemed feasible then they simply chose to pay the cost. It is going to happen more and more. It is about time that government looks to trim the fat. That being said I would also suggest that the new position for faith based initiatives is a position of investment to save money in the long run. Local communities should bear the largest part of the load in caring for its members. They will be better at finding long term solutions if they directly see they will be footing the long term bill. Faith Based Initiatives can do that.

0

Richard Heckler 2 years, 8 months ago

True Entitlements

The one consequence that usually goes unmentioned by the local media,city hall and elected officials - local profiteers are draining our pocketbooks and raising our taxes.

ENTITLEMENTS

These range from the obvious to the obscure and include big projects-like the billions we spend on new roads as well as smaller ones-like the tax-breaks that encourage businesses to move to the edge of town and KILL downtown.

We've subsidized local profiteers at such a basic level for so long, that many people believe the status quo is actually fair and neutral. This is false-what we think of as a level playing field is tilted steeply in favor of local profiteers driving development.

How we subsidize profiteers:

  • building new and wider roads
  • building schools on the fringe
  • extending sewer and water lines to not necessary development
  • extending emergency services to the fringe
  • direct pay-outs to developers - for example developers of the new building at 9th and New Hampshire are demanding taxpayers furnish their tenants with parking spaces built with our tax dollars.

Why should we taxpayers pick up that tab?

Why would a bank approve a loan if a project had no parking for it's tenants?

Again... The one consequence that usually goes unmentioned by the local media,city hall and elected officials = local profiteers are draining our pocketbooks and raising our taxes.

0

Richard Heckler 2 years, 8 months ago

If Brownback is going to abuse his office I say HE owes Lawrence/Douglas County taxpayers a sizeable rebate check soon. Where are those state SRS dollars going?

0

Frightwig 2 years, 8 months ago

Brownback had better balance the state budget. That's all I'm saying. If he expects to make drastic cuts and let local governments scramble to repair the damage, he'd better have a balanced state budget to show for it at the end of the day.

0

nytemayr 2 years, 8 months ago

Well this is interesting. State taxes are collecteed for services distributed to all state citizens. The city of Lawrence is paying a "special tax" to provide the same services in a office located in Lawrence Kansas.

Brownback is having a epiphany!!! If through various State departments the Governor can target offices and services for closure then, the Kansas of State can force local governments to pickup the bill and fund the state without ever taking the issue to the state legislature! Only target areas with the money to respond to the threat!

Obama pay attention you too can reduce Federal spending using the same tactic!!!!

Honestly........ this is brilliant!!!!!

0

irvan moore 2 years, 8 months ago

i really don't like this commission and am more than happy to vent about them but today i'm proud of our city commission for making this very hard and in a lot of cases unpopular choice. thanks for looking out for those who may not be able to help themselves.

0

nativeson 2 years, 8 months ago

The statement from Senator Francisco reflects the reality.

State Sen. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence, said after Tuesday’s meeting that she has some hope that legislators will consider the issue when the session begins in January.

“I think there is going to be considerable concern about transferring state costs to the local level,” said Francisco, who supports the local deal as a means to keep the office open. “I think many legislators will understand that concern and try to address it."

This money will never come back to SRS, and they will never fund a Lawrence office with state funds again. It is gone, and they found a muncipality willing to allow their citizens to pay twice for the same service. Lawrence and Douglas County have now entered into a slippery slide down into the abyss of social service funding. In less than 60 days, the County has put $1 million toward land to help the Community Shelter and over $100k annually for SRS.

0

rhd99 2 years, 8 months ago

I could've sworn I heard on 6 News @ 6 last night that the city had an extra $10 million left after all budget obligations were planned for. Is this correct? If so, then we have a golden opportunity to keep SRS Lawrence opened for many years, no matter what Brown Nose in Topeka tries to do.

0

bootlegger 2 years, 8 months ago

So where is the money going too come from too keep this freeloader business opened?

0

Cant_have_it_both_ways 2 years, 8 months ago

Just because you are fat, does not mean you are disabled. If you need to sit around all day, do it at Vangent, on the phone with medicare people, being a productive member of society. We have tax payer supported door to door service with the handicapped empT bus to take you to and from work.

Novel idea isn't it Bozo?

0

FlintlockRifle 2 years, 8 months ago

Tne commission can bite my==*@@* forget the tongue bit

0

Godot 2 years, 8 months ago

What will the commision cut from current services/positions to offset this new entitlement expense?

0

heygary 2 years, 8 months ago

How about nixing the Library ... it is a luxury we can not afford

0

Cant_have_it_both_ways 2 years, 8 months ago

I'll bet half the people using the SRS services could work if they wanted to. Moving the office is the right thing to do. They should probally cut off everyone, drug test them and have them re apply.

0

majorfunding 2 years, 8 months ago

I say BRAVO to the city. This was a wise decision. If the SRS had been forced to leave Lawrence, the lives of many people would have been impacted, and in some cases, lives might have been lost.

But we should always keep in mind that Brownback has done this, which is but one more indication that he should not be Governor.

0

skinny 2 years, 8 months ago

If the City of Lawrence has this kind of money to just throw away then they have no business raising our Water, Sewer, and trash rates!!!!

0

oneeye_wilbur 2 years, 8 months ago

Mayor Cramwell will later tell us how buying the buildings at 19th and Delaware will save the public money. And of course , Whineaug will be right along with the idea. The county just loves to spend tax dollars with no return. East Hills business park some 26 years ago, and still no return to the taxpayers, not even the principal amount.

87 jobs were not going to be lost. Mr. Hittle of the Journal World for some reason cannot communicate that information, unless of course some of the 87 employees do not live in Lawrence. Now there is another story to write about.

Let's see, in a couple of years, that builidng for SRS would be worth a million or so to sell to the public and then it can come off the tax rolls. What's Whineaug's plan for the soon to be owned property for Loring Henderson's playhouse project?

By the way, a private homeless camp has closed in Joplin, I bet Loring Henderson has a special T bus on the way.

0

PROAMERICA 2 years, 8 months ago

I can't afford my own care so why do I have to pay taxes to pay for someone else?

0

onceajhawkalwaysajhawk 2 years, 8 months ago

I'm sorry to say this, but Really Bad Choice of spending money on a situation that will still be there in 3 years..Probably will never go away! WAKE UP Commissioners! Our country is in DEEP financial doo doo and it is going to be painful for every single person before we start recovering from this situation. YOU have a responsibility to make financial decisions knowing that available funds are shrinking and people DON'T want a city tax to raise the city's debt ceiling too! What happens when the community needs something done in the next 3-5 years that need this money and we don't have it? (Oh wait, it won't be your problem right?) Do you think the fed is going to be so generous? BAD CHOICE of spending!

0

somedude20 2 years, 8 months ago

Good trumps evil! Brownback was ever so happy to put people's lives in danger just so that he and his god can have a hearty chuckle at their expense. I agree that it is bad for Lawrence to pay a state cost but it will keep people alive and you cannot put a price on that (well, I guess you ca...$250,000) so sit and spin Brownback, you evil SOB!!!!

0

kseagle 2 years, 8 months ago

Yet another complete waste of our tax dollars in this town!! The left needs to WAKE UP and realize there isn't an unlimited supply of money. The SRS office needs to be closed and those that use it, need to grow up and take responsibility for your own situation.

0

Godot 2 years, 8 months ago

Waiting for Schwada's big "thank you, thank you, thank you" to the Lawrence and Douglas County taxpayers.

0

Machete 2 years, 8 months ago

Imagine farming humans without SRS. Good move Lawrence.

0

ashamedofyou 2 years, 8 months ago

This is absolutely stupid and ridiculous. NONE of these people would lose services if our local office were to close. NONE! There are many ways to access those services, not just physically going into the office.

0

dogsandcats 2 years, 8 months ago

It's a shame that the city and county have to pick up the state's tab on this - shame on you Brownback and Siedecki - but I'm very glad that the Lawrence SRS office will remain open. I don't personally know anyone who uses SRS services, but it's likely that at least one of my friends or neighbors does.

0

demonfury 2 years, 8 months ago

Ahhh, another stupid, liberal Democrat bailout. Good thing we were all watching the results of Obama's repeated attempts at bailouts. They don't work people, they push us to the "debt ceiling". Oh yeah, remember that fiasco in Washington, JUST LAST WEEK !!!! Wake up and realize that throwing money at the problem isn't the solution. You brought in Steve Six, additional attorney advisers, political advisers, and with all those closed door meetings and executive sessions, all you could come up with is throw the citizen's money at this? Well, of course you did, that's what liberal democrats do when they have majority decision making powery. Call it however you want, sugar coat it any way you like, but this disaster of a decision is exactly why Lawrence, KU & Douglas County are all in decline. Horrible decisions, repeatedly made by left wing liberals.

0

toe 2 years, 8 months ago

The United Way should have raised the money for this "idea". Instead they support the use of tax money. Anyone supporting the United Way is a fool.

0

edjayhawk 2 years, 8 months ago

I'm not really for it either but there was no other choice for now. Just hope that someone can come up with the cash by 2013 because I don't want to extend this with city and county tax dollars.

0

Lana Christie-Hayes 2 years, 8 months ago

I was wondering the same thing jafs.... and agree with the sentiment in your last sentence. I also think there needs to be something set in stone about what happens after this temporary agreement expires in 2013. When Seidlecki says they will give a "good faith effort" to keeping it open when this agreement time ends, it makes me cringe. As I've said before "good faith" is an oxymoron with this administration!!!

0

jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

I'm curious about the numbers - if we're splitting about $250K with the county, where is the other $200K coming from?

Will the feds give us that money, or is it contingent upon state, rather than local, funding?

I'm glad that our community is doing this to support those that need help, rather than turn their backs on them, as the state seems to want to do, but I'm also a bit wary of the precedent it sets.

0

grammaddy 2 years, 8 months ago

Brownback's plan all along. Make the Democrat county pay for not voting for his dumb butt. Punish the liberals. Make them pay for "HIS" state's help Time for a recall.

0

goodcitizen 2 years, 8 months ago

@thefactsare....umm">p>@thefactsare....umm didn't we cough up 280k and free parking for Compton's playpen...how many net jobs will that create/save? And doesn't he want even more to fix up the Masonic Temple he paid too much for, and can't afford to rehab?

0

pinecreek 2 years, 8 months ago

No not a good decision--this is the precedent that could open the dam of 'state to local funding' initiatives from this Governor. Very very short-sighted....wait and see. We have 3 more years of this sort of thing. The state budget will be balanced, but at whose expense?

0

thefactsare 2 years, 8 months ago

When has the commission provided cash to a company that didn't deliver?

0

irvan moore 2 years, 8 months ago

it pains me to say it but the commission did the right thing, take the money out of economic development and save local jobs instead of giving the money to a new business that promises the moon and doesn't deliver. good job commissioners! (ouch, it hurts to say that)

0

antichristobserver 2 years, 8 months ago

Was the vote unanimous? If not, who voted against it.

0

Ken Lassman 2 years, 8 months ago

Amyx, Cromwell called it right: tough call, but you gotta put folks first and sort out the ideology later. This is yet another example of the Brownback Administrative philosophy--lob a grenade and let the locals clean it up. More and more folks are realizing that the emperor has no clothes and he and his cronies are governing by ideological fiat. Kansas is paying a horrible price for his future executive branch getting potty trained.

0

Cant_have_it_both_ways 2 years, 8 months ago

Lawrence needs to get a money printing machine.

0

kernal 2 years, 8 months ago

May be we're setting a precident here; are other cities are beginning to sweat? Wonder how long before, or if, Johnson County has to follow suit. Seems to me if they don't, then it will be blatently obvious the situation with Lawrence was strictly political, instead of just obvious.

Topeka's SRS case workers have admitted they'd rather the Lawrence SRS stay open as they would have a hard time adding Lawrence cases to their already "stretched thin" caseloads.

0

Benjamin Roberts 2 years, 8 months ago

The city and county should make this really stupid precedent contingent upon SRS moving into a reasonably priced facility. The rent for the location and size has to be at least double market value.

0

Liberal 2 years, 8 months ago

Why should the city pay for the States Bills oh yeah the City is not paying the states bills. We are.....Boooooooooooooooooo.

Shame on you commissioners.

Maybe the employees should take a pay cut to pay to be able to stay in Lawrence. To look at this as economic development is idiotic.. With 87 employees that would cost them 24 dollars a week to help pay for where they work. $.60/hr

0

kansasredlegs 2 years, 8 months ago

All those closed-door meetings and no one thought to ask the Landlord to lower the rent before a "bailout"?

I guess if I was in the landlord's shoes, I too wouldn't have offered to lower the extraordinary rent price to keep that pig trough and slop flowing into my pockets,having full faith and confidence that our inept, slow-thinking Commissioners would not have the guts and would come through and pay in full. The landlord was over a barrel, a lawsuit would have failed, and he would have been hard pressed to find another sucker at that price. Could have knocked at least 1/3 off the price. Missed opportunity.

I'm glad it's staying, but you failed the the local taxpayers with your shortsided, fast-tracked negotiating. Oh well, it's only taxpayer money, right? Didn't Corliss at least pipe up and say this can be a win-win situation -- We can keep SRS and get a lower rent price. Unbelievable.

0

doc1 2 years, 8 months ago

Horrible idea. The City Can't afford it! Oh joy, even more tax dollars wasted.

0

Commenting has been disabled for this item.