Archive for Monday, July 9, 2012

Lawrence City Commission to review plans to upgrade police department through sales tax

July 9, 2012


Lawrence city commissioners are being presented with a new set of scenarios — all of them involving new sales taxes — to fund a multimillion-dollar effort to boost the city’s police force.

At their Tuesday afternoon budget study session, commissioners will hear staff proposals to fund major improvements to the Lawrence Police Department, which include building a new headquarters building and adding more than 40 new positions to the force.

The proposals differ from a $42 million plan presented earlier this summer. None of the new proposals includes property tax increases, and some of the plans call for a smaller police headquarters facility and propose to add new police positions at slower rate.

Here’s a look at the latest proposals:

• A $30-million police headquarters building and 46 police positions all added over a four-year period. That’s all unchanged from the proposal made earlier this summer. What’s different is that the scenario proposes a 0.4-percent sales tax increase that would last for at least 20 years, but perhaps longer. The original proposal called for a 1-percent sales tax increase for approximately three years, coupled with property tax increases totaling 4.7 mills.

• A $24-million police headquarters building and the addition of the 46 police positions over seven years. This scenario would require a 0.35 percent sales tax for at least 20 years.

• A $24-million police headquarters building and the addition of the 46 police positions over 10 years. This scenario would require a 0.35 percent sales tax for at least 20 years.

Staff members also note that all the above mentioned sales taxes could be decreased by 0.1 percent, if the city is willing to use a portion of the city’s share of the countywide 1-cent sales tax to fund the police project.

Any new sales tax to pay for the police project would require a public election. City commissioners aren’t scheduled to make any decisions about the police project at their meeting on Tuesday, but they are expected to give staff members feedback on the latest proposals.


Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 10 months ago

How about this: Defund the homeless shelter and let those folks move away. Along with it defund other places that cater to less than desirables, or ones who can't or choose not to pay their own way.

Cut spending.

With out vagrents we don't need more police.

John Duval 5 years, 10 months ago

next time anyone sees a vagrent towing 2 landscape trailers with tillers ,please let me know because a thief has mine

werekoala 5 years, 10 months ago

I think we should have another sales tax vote to scale back the library and other "nice-to-have" projects in favor of funding core services (public safety, roads, water, etc).

There is no guarantee this economy is not the "new normal" and so Lawrence needs to face up to the challenges that are facing a ~100K city, and not just keep coasting because nothing too bad has happened recently.

steveguy 5 years, 10 months ago

Have you noticed that once the city starts a new sales tax increase, which we are told, will end in a few years it never ends.

Graczyk 5 years, 10 months ago

I haven't reviewed the police HQ (thankfully) so I can' comment on that. But I wonder if Lawrence really needs 46 additional officers.

anotherview 5 years, 10 months ago

Lawrence already has one of the highest combined sales tax rate of any city in Kansas. If they increase the sales tax another 0.35 per cent, that will put it over 9.00 per cent. At some point, shoppers will decide to shop elsewhere.

john heleniak 5 years, 10 months ago

It is unfortunate but Lawrence's police station is seriously outdated and the police force is understaffed. I am a firm believer that if you do something, do it right the first time so you do not have to come back to it year after year for fixes. With this being said, even if it costs more up front, build the station that will be around for the next 20 to 30 years. $30 million today is better than $24 million with $1 million dollar fixes every other year for the next 20 to 30 years.

somedude20 5 years, 10 months ago

Lawrence needs a super hero to help us out. These are dire times, people are dying in the streets and gun fights start every few hours...Lawrence is a war zone. Young puppies addicted to cat nip, CAT NIP, PEOPLE! Spiderman, Hulk, Superman...please help, the crime is just so bad. Of course this being Lawrence, we would get Hempman

John Duval 5 years, 10 months ago

here is a grand idea,have all the people that use our road ways to have license plates on their mopeds,bicycles ,ect.Pay the personal property tax on such vehicles that would put a big chunk of money towards the officers we need to patrol our streets

Matthew Herbert 5 years, 10 months ago

increasing an already high sales tax? Good idea! Oh well, I guess I'll just continue to shop online. Problem solved.

notorious_agenda 5 years, 10 months ago

Renaissance, Very true, I use gas to drive to local stores only to find out that online I can get it shipped for free and 20$ less for a 40$ item(50% less). That savings pays for the gas that I wasted and that I will use the whole week when it's an item that I'm going to buy either way. Now I am informed enough to just save the money on gas for any small non-perishable items, however, the city is just raising the property taxes to offset our conservation of gas(loss of revenue from gasoline taxes due to Kansans hard fought conservation). The more they raise the taxes the less gas I will use, and I will buy locally less as well as the price gap widens further.

Carol Bowen 5 years, 10 months ago

These are the areas that I am aware of where our police are stretched too thin:

Traffic problems, including youthful zippy driving. Incidents involving liquor including students falling off of rooftops, loud parties, drunken driving. Cybercrime. Drug trafficking. (Note, that except for cybercrime, emergency services are needed too.)

Students buy lots of stuff, so it makes sense to increase the sales tax. Stiffer fines for driving offenses. Stiffer fines and higher taxes on liquor. Swifter consequences from at the beginning of each semester. This requires more police. Pressue KU to take responsibility for its clientele. Frankly, I think educating the students is lame. They've heard it all before. Serious consequences are needed.

It's difficult to think of ways for the users to pay the price without affecting the rest of us. I.e. sales tax. I guess we are buying peace.

Not that three policemen are equivalent to one position - three shifts.

Bob Forer 5 years, 10 months ago

The best way to modernize the system without costing the taxpayers a lot of money is to consolidate the Douglas County Sheriff's Department and Lawrence Police Department into one law enforcement entity. They did that many years ago in Manhattan, and now they have the Riley County Police Department which serves both Manhattan and rural Riley County. By consolidating the departments you have one communications center, and one set of bureaucrats, at a tremendous savings. It made sense in Riley County where Manhattan contained most of the county's population and it makes sense here in Lawrence as well.

Of course, such a move would unpopular with the brass at both agencies, as neither group would want to share or lose power or positions. But what they want is irrelevant. They are here to serve us.

It would require passing state legislation.

I am surprised nobody has even suggested it.

Carol Bowen 5 years, 10 months ago

It's been discussed, but not an idea supported. You're right. We should be looking at ways to combine. It makes sense, but we should look to see how it's working elsewhere. There's no bond issue, yet. This is the time to do it. One caveat. We still need to expand the police department. The county does not have the services we need. Just combined coordination and administration would be the advantage.

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