Archive for Sunday, June 17, 2012

Retiree efforts

Attracting more retirees to Lawrence is a positive goal, but the idea of hiring a new staff person to pursue that goal needs to be considered as part of an overall economic development strategy.

June 17, 2012


Lawrence leaders are betting the city’s youthful feel might be just the attribute to draw more retirees to the community.

The idea has definite potential, but city and county commissioners should think carefully about whether they want to create a new government job to oversee efforts to attract retirees. Creating a new city/county position to lead retiree-attraction efforts was a major recommendation of a city/county task force studying ways to boost the community’s retiree population.

It is understandable the task force would advocate for such a position. Almost any project will benefit from having an individual responsible for taking ownership of the results. But preliminary talk has suggested the new position ought to be paid for with dollars currently used to fund economic development functions.

The attraction of retirees to the city should be viewed as an economic development initiative, but there already have been concerns expressed by some community leaders that current economic development funding is inadequate. If the city and county start dividing the funding pie into even more pieces, such concerns likely will grow.

It is no secret that some economic development leaders have privately been talking about the need for a new sales tax or other funding mechanism to boost the available dollars for business attraction and retention efforts.

Before commissioners start adding new economic development-oriented positions — such as the retiree attraction position — they ought to have a full discussion about what the future holds for new economic development funding.

The prospect of attracting retirees with financial means to Lawrence is exciting. Such residents could provide a boost to Lawrence’s economy and likely would be delightful neighbors who would add to the community in many other ways, but it is the responsibility of city and county commissioners to determine how this retiree attraction effort fits into Lawrence and Douglas County’s larger economic plan and funding sources.

It is important to get this right because higher taxes aren’t going to be a selling point for retirees thinking about moving to Lawrence, and higher taxes likely will be the result if commissioners choose to add positions first and plan later.


Richard Heckler 5 years, 6 months ago

There is one consequence of helter skelter aimless growth that usually goes unmentioned by the local media,city hall and elected officials - local profiteers are draining our pocketbooks and raising our taxes. The higher taxes will be the result of preferential tax dollar handouts to developers in the name of "retiree attraction". Tons of reckless political decisions will be based on speculation not substance ...... can we say more local pork barrel spending for the real estate industry?

How will more new infrastructure be paid for? by the taxpayers aka expanding the tax bills.

Think how many ways OUR tax bills are being expanded and how many times have taxpayers had the opportunity to vote on tax increases?:

  1. Sam Brownback reckless tax dollar management = how much more will local taxes increase?
  2. Special sales taxes through the city = where are signs as taxpayers enter establishments?
  3. Tax Increment Financing
  4. PLAY = $20 million or more tax dollars spent through the back door at USD 497 and more on the table at 6th and K-10
  5. Expanding the city limits
  6. Expanding 31st street and 19th street
  7. Water and Sewer rate increases are in fact tax increases
  8. The local Chamber of Commerce is always about ways to blow tax dollars
  9. The $100 million tax dollar water/sewer treatment plant for the real estate industry
  10. City Hall talking about increasing sales tax by .6 of a percent to replace the sales tax Brownback wiped out
  11. USD 497 has a bond issue on the table
  12. USD 497 is likely to increase the mill levy thanks to Brownback reckless tax dollar management

And more on local taxes aimed at the poor,middleclass and upper middleclass: 1. 2. 3. 4.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 6 months ago

Some or all elected officials are under the impression that because they are elected we taxpayers gave them a free hand to spend tax dollars anyway they see fit. I disagree.

It is my position that more referendums should be offered up for we taxpayers to be the ultimate decision makers. Some will make and some will not.

Empowered taxpayers should be a right. Yes we taxpayers should be the ultimate authority on all: 1. new city projects 2. TIF projects 3. Special sales tax projects 4. Tax Abatements

On all projects whereby the consequence is local profiteers draining our pocketbooks and raising our taxes. Let's remove the appearance of special interests controlling our local government.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 6 months ago

I say city tax dollars could be better spent by stop funding the Chamber of Commerce and bring economic development in house to city hall. We need a more fiscal responsible approach to the economy than simply housing and retail construction.

Lawrence has become a high dollar place to live while maintaining its position as among the lowest wages in the state = wreckanomics. And Lawrence is declining in population which may be the discovery by some that it takes money to live in Lawrence, Ks.

I say the housing boom is cooked for a long time. Who the hell wants inflated property values so the powers that be can increase our taxes to support reckless spending and flooding of our markets?

Patricia Davis 5 years, 6 months ago

I know Merrill make take heat for this, but these are facts we need to pay attention to. We can be sheep and go along to get along or we can say no in way we are heard.

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 6 months ago

No sane retiree would ever live in Lawrence unless there were extenuating circumstances such as proximity to children/grandchildren, they've lived there all of there lives anyway, etc. Especially with the new tax code. Retirees classically pay little in income taxes and with the shift in tax burden to property and sales taxes it's a losing proposition. Believe me, there are a lot better places that are "senior friendly" for people to retire to than Kansas; places with better weather, better property values and fewer taxes impacting seniors. The only people that retire there do so for a reason. Give it up, guys. Save the money and find something else to focus on because this is a losing proposition.

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 6 months ago

What about us older people who have lived here for some time? We are having a tough time making ends meet, even with with senior housing such as Babcock Place and others. Would people retiring and moving into Lawrence need financial help or are we to see them all as financially independent, with a guarantee they will stay that way?

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