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Archive for Thursday, August 11, 2011

County seconds plan to help fund SRS office

City Commission approved funding Tuesday

August 11, 2011

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Douglas County commissioners Wednesday echoed the City Commission, unanimously approving a memorandum to provide for the continued operation of the Social and Rehabilitation Services office in Lawrence.

The decision was preceded at the meeting by nothing but positive feedback from various members of the local community. No one spoke in opposition of the plan, which sees the city and county split funding that will keep the SRS office open through 2013.

City commissioners approved the plan with a 5-0 vote Tuesday night before sending the deal to the county for final approval. The funding, $112,500 from each governing body in 2012 and 2013, will cover costs cut at the state level.

County commissioner Nancy Thellman said the group didn’t always see eye to eye, but the urgency of the situation brought them together.

“On this, I think we’ve had a meeting of the mind and of the heart,” she said. “I think to choose the needs of the people is the right choice.”

State funding cuts to the SRS would have left thousands of county residents without services and would have sent the office’s 87 employees elsewhere.

All three commissioners voiced their opposition to the decisions made by state leaders that led to the situation that has consumed so much of their time and efforts the last several weeks.

“This is quite frankly no way to balance a state budget,” Commissioner Mike Gaughan said of the state’s decisions. “But the fact of the matter is we’re charged with the responsibilities. Right now the important thing to do is keep that office open.”

A common public concern commissioners identified Wednesday was the precedent set by local government picking up the tab on state responsibilities. Commissioner Jim Flory said that while using local tax dollars was a downside, the benefits “considerably and significantly” outweighed it.

A provision in the proposal would allow the city and county to nix their payment obligations should the state legislature provide funding for the local office in the future.

“It’s been a hard road to get where we are tonight,” Thellman said. “And there’s a tough road ahead as always, but I’m really grateful in this moment to be on this commission.”

Comments

onceajhawkalwaysajhawk 2 years, 8 months ago

All of us that are disgusted with the waste of tax money for paying rent on thousands of sq. ft. when a few hundred sq. ft. would support the staff needed to serve the local clients need to know that it was Gaughn's and Flory's political agenda to get this done. What a waste of money. Believe me, when we really need that $250,000 they will stict it to us AGAIN ! Shame on you guys..

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 8 months ago

"Probably, but they have signed much of their resources away on the whole Legend's area. Of course, it surely increased their sales tax."

Maybe but maybe not...

Legends has a "secret sales tax" that which may well be going directly back to the developers

Also Legends is sucking business away from others in which case may produce a negative gain in overall sales tax aka no net gain or maybe a loss.

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Soapbox 2 years, 8 months ago

Do not spend my local tax money on a state expense I have already paid for once...........This local action gave me no choice or vote. It is taxation without representation!!!!!!

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Clara Westphal 2 years, 8 months ago

SRS is paying over $300,000 for rent. Someone should look into that too.

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tomatogrower 2 years, 8 months ago

Other communities beware. Lawrence has caved, you're next. Of course, Lawrence people care, so I'm not sure how many other communities would fund their offices. Obviously those who have closed offices never did. Would Topeka stand up and fund their office? Probably not. Overland Park, maybe. Wyandotte County? Probably, but they have signed much of their resources away on the whole Legend's area. Of course, it surely increased their sales tax.

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 8 months ago

This is not the worst case scenario. That being said if our tax dollars are going to be pulled from supporting a fine institution such as SRS then the state should not be able to keep those dollars only to divert them elsewhere such as corporate welfare aka white collar entitlements.

Send those tax dollars home thus allowing we local taxpayers the authority put that money into SRS. RINO's like Brownback have 30 documented years of tax dollar mismanagement in their portfolios. TWO major home loan fiascos that have cost taxpayers multitrillions of dollars and multi millions of jobs. Fiscal Conservative republicans do not think like Brownback.

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Gareth 2 years, 8 months ago

Note to self: NEVER read the comments. The ignorance and "I-got-mine-so-screw-everybody-else" attitude of the hayseeds is always out in full force.

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Cant_have_it_both_ways 2 years, 8 months ago

Looks like those who pay the least in taxes demand, again, the most from the taxpayers.

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irvan moore 2 years, 8 months ago

i wanna buy the riverfront mall, combination library, srs office, homeless shelter and lots of parking. win win for the citizens and taxpayers.

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autie 2 years, 8 months ago

I still think you boys got suckered. should have all banded together and gone to topeka and built bonfires on the statehouse lawn in protest first...see who would roll over first. But in the long run, Sidekicky is an idiot and would have never changed his mind and Sam's handlers are apparently not smart enough to see an opportunity when it unfolds right in front of them. Could have told Sam to throw them a bone and "appeared" to be the great compromiser man.

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ToriFreak13 2 years, 8 months ago

Anyone that believes it is ok to be taxed twice, not to mention on a city level to support a state program that they have clearly acknowledged they can't support, should move to Bell, California.

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onceajhawkalwaysajhawk 2 years, 8 months ago

Unfortunately,we will never know how each commissioner REALLY feels about this decision because today's politicains have lost the vision of making honest and justified decisions for the community as a whole. The pressure by special interest groups (Yes even in Lawrence), to protect their reputations and re-election strategy is what drives their thought process... This is what is happening at the national, state, COUNTY and CITY levels.. Let's be honest, I don't think anyone who has posted comments on this subject objects to a local office of some size, but spending a quarter million dollars on 2 years of PARTIAL rent for THOUSANDS of sq ft. to Venture Realty Corp.(We know who that is...Example of a special interest group in Lawrence) is not prudent stewardship of tax dollars in this economy! All of the employees are keeping their jobs, but only a fraction of the sq. ft. and manpower is needed in Lawrence to provide local services to the clients.. ALL commissioners need to be asked to explain LJW!

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distant_voice 2 years, 8 months ago

The reaction to this closure is absolutely preposterous! Yes, there would have been an asjustment as our local SRS recipients adjusted to dealing with this state agency the same way thousands of other Kansans do, without a local office, but no one has told SRS recipients that they are losing a dime in benefits.

As the federal and state governments do what they must do to balance expenditures to revenues, we cannot continue to pick up the tab at the local level without dramatically increasing taxes or going just as broke as our governments.

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nativeson 2 years, 8 months ago

“This is quite frankly no way to balance a state budget,” Commissioner Mike Gaughan said of the state’s decisions. “But the fact of the matter is we’re charged with the responsibilities. Right now the important thing to do is keep that office open.”

Unfortunately, Commissioner Gaughan is misdirected. The County Commission nor the City of Lawrence are "charged" with the responsibility of social services. Both have "chosen" to place themselves in this role.

One can argue (and correctly) that we have as humanity a larger accountability to taking care or those who have less resources. I take this as a personal accountability, not one of our local governing bodies. These entities have specific accountability by charter to provide services to the community that do not include social services. These will now be diminished.

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Soapbox 2 years, 8 months ago

I do not want to fund the SRS twice! Please spend someone else's money on this!

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Lana Christie-Hayes 2 years, 8 months ago

I'm so glad I live in a community that genuinely cares about its less fortunate citizens! I feel for those in this state that have to suffer under the iron fist of the Brownback administration!

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Gandalf 2 years, 8 months ago

Kudos to both City and County Commissions.

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