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Archive for Monday, February 14, 2011

Town Talk: Borders future grows more uncertain; T-hangar project may come with city subsidy; Bert Nash releases homeless numbers

February 14, 2011

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News and notes from around town:

• If you believe The Wall Street Journal, there’s about a one in three chance that the Lawrence Borders store is set to close. The Journal reported this weekend that Borders is in the “final stages of preparing a bankruptcy filing.” According to the newspaper’s sources, the company would shut down about 200 to 250 stores — or about a third of the chain’s total. Of course, there’s no way for an outsider to really know whether Lawrence’s store is on that list. Some have said the Lawrence Borders store does pretty well for its size. But unless you’re one of the financial executives at Borders (and I don’t think you would want to admit to that), you’re probably just guessing.

The Journal article also questions whether any of Borders’ 674 stores will survive. The article said “many Wall Street bankers and lawyers who have studied the chain believe it may not be able to avoid liquidation.” The chain is expected to have more than $1 billion in liabilities when it files its bankruptcy petition.

A filing could happen today or tomorrow, the Journal reports.

• City commissioners may be facing a tough call at the Lawrence Municipal Airport. Leaders of the airport want the city to move ahead with a $1.3 million project to build 20 T-hangars to store private aircraft. The airport long has had a list of pilots waiting for new T-hangar space to become available. About 25 pilots have said they’re ready to lease space at a rate of $255 per month.

But city commissioners have said that it is important for the project to pay for itself. That’s where this project starts to look a little bit like a foggy runway; it is unclear. According to the city’s economic development planner, the hangars will produce enough revenue to pay off the bonds for the project in 25 years. The problem is, the only way the city can get a low enough interest rate to make it feasible — in staff’s opinion — is to issue 12-year bonds. That means the project would need a city subsidy of about $64,000 per year for the first 12 years. That is money that likely would come from the city’s general fund. The project would reimburse the general fund in its latter years.

Some of the revenue numbers also are up for debate. The city is not just using rental revenue from the hangars but also is trying to account for increased revenue from fuel sales, property taxes and other benefits that would come from having more planes based at the airport. One of the interesting things to come out of that is how little property taxes aircraft in the state pay. According to the city, only eight of the 28 aircraft housed in the existing T-hangars pay any property taxes. That’s because state law exempts aircraft that are more than 25 years old or are classified primarily for business use.

But one factor the city didn’t use in its analysis is whether having more aircraft based at the airport would make it more likely the city would receive future Federal Aviation Administration grants. Several FAA grants take into account the number of landings and takeoffs at an airport. More planes based at the airport likely would increase those numbers.

The city has said it wants to make the airport a more inviting place for businesses to locate. It already has spent about $600,000 to extend a city waterline to the airport. It also has plans to improve sewer service at the airport, in hopes of landing some new businesses.

• There are some new numbers out about the city’s homeless population. Bert Nash has prepared a report detailing how many people its homeless outreach workers served in 2010. According to the report, the outreach team served 692 people. Of that number it served 148 families. The report notes that for the purpose of this report homeless doesn’t necessarily mean people sleeping on the streets or in a homeless shelter. It also includes people who are “precariously housed,” which is defined as someone who is sleeping in somebody else’s house — like a friend or relative — because they can’t afford housing on their own. That category accounted for 34 percent or about 235 people.

The report also found that 33 percent of people were chronically homeless, which means they have been continuously homeless for a year or more or have had at least four episodes of homelessness in the past three years. The other 33 percent were people who fell somewhere in between those two categories.

Other stats from the report include:

• 50 percent of the people presented with a mental illness;

• 38 percent had a known substance abuse disorder;

• 12 percent of the people were found sleeping outdoors or in an abandoned building, car or similar structure;

• 31 percent were found in an emergency shelter;

• 45 percent were in an apartment or temporary housing;

• 73 percent were white;

• 52 percent were between 35 and 50 years old;

• 269 people served were children, and 48 percent of the children were 6 or younger.

Comments

Clark Coan 3 years, 10 months ago

What would be a good use for the building? Two of the walls are original from the old stables/livery.

Sharon Dwyer 3 years, 10 months ago

Yes, Trader Joe's is the best grocery chain of all!

gl0ck0wn3r 3 years, 10 months ago

Homeless shelter, monorail station with a T stop and library outreach center.

ralphralph 3 years, 10 months ago

Can't afford to build hangars? Charge more rent or save up. There's no way you can justify, right here and right now, subsidizing hangars. No way.

Bob Forer 3 years, 10 months ago

The going rate for commercial property leases used to be 1 per cent of the buildings value per month. ( May be a little lower now.) At 1 per cent per month, a 1.3 million dollar project should cash flow $13,000 per month. "About 25" pilots willing to pay $225.00 per month. .....

Let's see. 25 x 225 = $5,625. Maybe I am just another Obama socialist drunk on the kool aid, but that sure sounds like "Socialism for wealthy" to me.

Math is fun. Lets do some more. If we "run government like a business," we would expect $13,000 per month in income. But the market, or at least what the rich and privileged are hoping to pay, will only flow $5,625.

13,000 - 5,625 = $7375 shortfall. Multiple that by 12 months and you arrive at a yearly subsidy of $87,900 a year. A little more than the requested yearly "subsidy" (translation: its coming out of our pockets) of $64,000, but close enough.

Or is it? Increased fuel sales? How many of these 25 planes looking for bargain rate hanger space are already tethered on an outside pad? Where is the increased traffic and increased fuel sales? And increased property tax revenue? A very brave Chad Lawhorn has put himself in harm's way of his boss by suggesting the skinny on that one.

ONly 8 of 28 hangered planes pay property tax. I am sure the other twenty come under the business exemption rather than the age exemtion. Doesn't make too much sense to house a 45 year old Luscombe in an expensive crib. The other 8 are probably upper middle class hobbyists too stupid --or perhaps too honest--to set up a corporation to own their plane.

That leaves business planes. Nice ones. Expensive ones.

If they can afford a few hundfed grand for a state of the art, tax exempt Cessna, they can pay market price to park it.

Socialism for the rich. Isn't that kinda like the scam the Commjunist Party played on the "little people" of the Soviet Union. .

CORPORATE SOCIALISM? JUST SAY NO. ITS WRONG ANYTIME, BUT ITS WRONGER WHEN WE'RE FLAT BUSTED BROKE.

Bob Forer 3 years, 10 months ago

The going rate for commercial property leases used to be 1 per cent of the buildings value per month. ( May be a little lower now.) At 1 per cent per month, a 1.3 million dollar project should cash flow $13,000 per month. "About 25" pilots willing to pay $225.00 per month. .....

Let's see. 25 x 225 = $5,625. Maybe I am just another Obama socialist drunk on the kool aid, but that sure sounds like "Socialism for wealthy" to me.

Math is fun. Lets do some more. If we "run government like a business," we would expect $13,000 per month in income. But the market, or at least what the rich and privileged are hoping to pay, will only flow $5,625.

13,000 - 5,625 = $7375 shortfall. Multiple that by 12 months and you arrive at a yearly subsidy of $87,900 a year. A little more than the requested yearly "subsidy" (translation: its coming out of our pockets) of $64,000, but close enough.

Or is it? Increased fuel sales? How many of these 25 planes looking for bargain rate hanger space are already tethered on an outside pad? Where is the increased traffic and increased fuel sales? And increased property tax revenue? A very brave Chad Lawhorn has put himself in harm's way of his boss by suggesting the skinny on that one.

ONly 8 of 28 hangered planes pay property tax. I am sure the other twenty come under the business exemption rather than the age exemtion. Doesn't make too much sense to house a 45 year old Luscombe in an expensive crib. The other 8 are probably upper middle class hobbyists too stupid --or perhaps too honest--to set up a corporation to own their plane.

That leaves business planes. Nice ones. Expensive ones.

If they can afford a few hundfed grand for a state of the art, tax exempt Cessna, they can pay market price to park it.

Socialism for the rich. Isn't that kinda like the scam the Commjunist Party played on the "little people" of the Soviet Union. .

CORPORATE SOCIALISM? JUST SAY NO. ITS WRONG ANYTIME, BUT ITS WRONGER WHEN WE'RE FLAT BUSTED BROKE.

Bob Forer 3 years, 10 months ago

The going rate for commercial property leases used to be 1 per cent of the buildings value per month. ( May be a little lower now.) At 1 per cent per month, a 1.3 million dollar project should cash flow $13,000 per month. "About 25" pilots willing to pay $225.00 per month. .....

Let's see. 25 x 225 = $5,625. Maybe I am just another Obama socialist drunk on the kool aid, but that sure sounds like "Socialism for wealthy" to me.

Math is fun. Lets do some more. If we "run government like a business," we would expect $13,000 per month in income. But the market, or at least what the rich and privileged are hoping to pay, will only flow $5,625.

13,000 - 5,625 = $7375 shortfall. Multiple that by 12 months and you arrive at a yearly subsidy of $87,900 a year. A little more than the requested yearly "subsidy" (translation: its coming out of our pockets) of $64,000, but close enough.

Or is it? Increased fuel sales? How many of these 25 planes looking for bargain rate hanger space are already tethered on an outside pad? Where is the increased traffic and increased fuel sales? And increased property tax revenue? A very brave Chad Lawhorn has put himself in harm's way of his boss by suggesting the skinny on that one.

ONly 8 of 28 hangered planes pay property tax. I am sure the other twenty come under the business exemption rather than the age exemtion. Doesn't make too much sense to house a 45 year old Luscombe in an expensive crib. The other 8 are probably upper middle class hobbyists too stupid --or perhaps too honest--to set up a corporation to own their plane.

That leaves business planes. Nice ones. Expensive ones.

If they can afford a few hundfed grand for a state of the art, tax exempt Cessna, they can pay market price to park it.

Socialism for the rich. Isn't that kinda like the scam the Commjunist Party played on the "little people" of the Soviet Union. .

CORPORATE SOCIALISM? JUST SAY NO. ITS WRONG ANYTIME, BUT ITS WRONGER WHEN WE'RE FLAT BUSTED BROKE.

TheBigW 3 years, 10 months ago

It's all part of an agenda that has been in the works for the last couple years now, if you look at the city website and check out the new "master plan" http://www.lawrence.airportstudy.com, there are a select few current users and airport board members who think they will build the next metro jet port. They welcome new business, as long as it's the right kind of business by the "right kind of people". Knowing how the current city commission caters to some people in town, don't be surprised if this passes, if not this week in the near future. The funny thing about the new master plan and it's agenda pushers, is they may have shot their own foot in running off approved aeronautical users and this could cost the 13.5 million in federal funding they are currently seeking, time will tell, but in the mean time their spending a lot of money and hoping for repayment with a grant from the FAA.

Please vote to fill the 3 city commission seats this spring with new members, vote out Mike Dever! 1. Bob Schumm 2. Hugh Carter 3. Mike Machell are the best currently running.

newtoLawrence 3 years, 10 months ago

I hope they don't go. The staff is friendly, the selection great and the coffee shop good. Ebooks are great but there is still something about holding a real book in your hand that cannot be beat. So many books - so little time!!!!

jafs 3 years, 10 months ago

Anybody have any idea how Borders can wind up so in the red? What are they doing wrong?

unite2revolt 3 years, 10 months ago

Selling things people no longer buy. Seriously.

jafs 3 years, 10 months ago

Like what?

People don't buy books, cd's, dvd's, e-books, coffee/tea/desserts, assorted children's toys, etc. anymore?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 10 months ago

From what I've heard, they didn't develop a good E-reader and then integrate that with their brick-and-mortar operations. Instead, they essentially turned over the E-reader biz over to Amazon, from which they got very little in the way of shared profits. Barnes and Noble, on the other hand, has incorporated their E-reader/online business very well with their brick-and-mortar operations.

gl0ck0wn3r 3 years, 10 months ago

They aren't doing anything wrong really, but they win on impulse buying or browsing. They get killed by Amazon otherwise.

blindrabbit 3 years, 10 months ago

Trader Joe's great idea, but not for Kansas! Can't sell Two Buck Chucks with the Kansas liquor laws as they now exist. Wonder how the proposed Overland Park/Leawood store is going to make it for the same reason

Move the Buick dealership back into the building; miss Parker Buick of the mid-1900's Indoor Farmer's Market!

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