Archive for Friday, June 29, 2012

City manager recommends budget with new police officers, expanded transit hours, slight property tax increase

June 29, 2012


A bit of a property tax increase, three new police officers and a whole bunch more hours for the city’s public transit system are among the key proposals in City Manager David Corliss’ 2013 recommended city budget.

Corliss on Friday afternoon released his recommended budget for the coming year. Now, city commissioners will debate the proposal and come up with their own budget plan by early August. Here’s a look at the key points of Corliss’ proposal:

• The property tax mill levy would increase by 0.87 of a mill. A mill is $1 in tax for every $1,000 in assessed valuation. The owner of a $200,000 home would pay an extra $20.01 a year in property taxes if the mill increase is approved.

• Three new police officers would be added to the city’s force. Corliss is not recommending a previously-discussed multi-year funding plan that would increase both sales taxes and property taxes in order to fund a major expansion of the Police Department. That plan would involve funding a $30 million police headquarters facility, and adding 46 new officers over a four-year period. Corliss termed the proposal an incremental step, but said he believes the needs of the Police Department are significant.

“I don’t consider the three officers to be sufficient to meet the department’s needs,” Corliss said. “But I think it may be as much as the community and commissioners are willing to do next year. If they want to do more, that would be appropriate.”

• A pilot project to expand the operating hours of the city’s bus system would be undertaken with $250,000 of funds from an already-approved sales tax. The project would involve using two vehicles to offer “on-demand” service from the hours of 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Monday through Saturday. The service would require users to call the city ahead of time to arrange for a vehicle to pick them up. The service would allow for people to make standing appointments, such as someone who needs a ride to work each evening.

Check back to for a more detailed report of the recommended budget.


LogicMan 5 years ago

"The project would involve using two vehicles to offer “on-demand” service from the hours of 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Monday through Saturday."

Doesn't this service already exist? Called a "cab"?

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years ago

Screw public transportation. Walk or ride a freekin bicycle. No where does any document say that the government must provide your transportation.

No wonder there is no money when you take tax dollars and compete with private business. You see, the cab companies provide jobs and actually put money into the system. The whole system is a money pit demanded by those who want someone else to pay their bills. Screw all of you!

Jayhawk1958 5 years ago

How about screw any government program. Why don't you give back your gorvernment funded social security?

Jayhawk1958 5 years ago

I don't want to pay for the roads you drive on. Or how about your social security and any other benefits you are receiving from the government. Cab companies provide low paying jobs and expensive rides that most can't afford.

ub40 5 years ago

Those that have no mercy beg for it the most

Patricia Davis 5 years ago

empT x empT still = empT no matter what time it is.

Leslie Swearingen 5 years ago

The buses are not empty. There are those who depend upon them to get to work, to school, to the store, to the doctors to the hospital for tests. Many of us cannot afford to drive a car, and a taxi should be considered a luxury, not something you use on a daily basis. There are reasons why some do not drive and there are those in wheelchairs who use a bus.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years ago

If you can't afford a car, call your friend. Don't take money from my family to pay your bills. If you wanted to get to the doctor, work, school or the store, you could by asking someone you know to help you. Please don't ask the ones you don't know to help. We help people we know already.

Deb Engstrom 5 years ago

OK, since that's your attitude, you obviously don't want us to fix the roads you drive on, send the fire department or police when you call, and heaven forbid you would use the public parks. We all pay for these services including public transportation.

JayhawkFan1985 5 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

"Please don't ask the ones you don't know to help."

I expect that anyone who knows you would never ask anything of you, knowing that all they'd get is a screaming tirade.

Richard Heckler 5 years ago

How many are finding it difficult to keep up with many many tax increases coming from everywhere?

Keep in mind that preferential tax incentives are tax increases to taxpayers. Taxpayers are the only source to make up the difference.

Tax incentives bypass the tax dollar cookie jar that which must pay the bills.

gccs14r 5 years ago

I'd like my portion of taxes rebated to me so I can direct them to public services, rather than to corporate welfare for the likes of Compton.

jafs 5 years ago

That's only true if we stop giving developers rebates, abatements and tif districts.

flyin_squirrel 5 years ago

Another person who doesn't understand how tif's work.

jafs 5 years ago

Please stop saying that - I understand them quite well.

They're used to allow developers to spend what would otherwise be tax revenue to the city for private expenses related to their development.

So, if we allow them, it means that we're essentially giving them tax revenue whether we spend money at their business or not.

Jayhawk1958 5 years ago

Blah, blah, blah, blah blah blah, blah, blah. Go get a life.

Patricia Davis 5 years ago

you must have a computer program that takes all of these 'phrases' and combines them at 'random'. I would like to understand what you are saying but '' keeps you from making 'sense'.

paulveer 5 years ago

No, you don't even want to understand what FHNC is trying, and constantly failing to say. (Or is that flailing?)

avarom 5 years ago

Neither....... its constantly and purposely FORGETTING!! And, its you don't want...Even has nothing to do with this sentence.

Carol Bowen 5 years ago

Chad, This is not correct.

"• The property tax mill levy would increase by 0.87 of a mill. A mill is one dollar in tax for every $1 in assessed valuation. The owner of a $200,000 home would pay an extra $20.01 a year in property taxes if the mill increase is approved."

A mil is one dollar for every $1,000. An .87 mil increase on a $200,000 home would be $174.

Would someone check my calculations? This is not even close to $20.

Catalano 5 years ago

$1000 x .087 = $87.00 (x 2 for a $200,000 house) would be $174. I think my math equals your math. What are we missing? (I'm too old to have gone to school to learn the new math.)

NotASquishHead 5 years ago

You are calculating it wrong. The mil rate is calculated based on the assessed value of the house, not the actual value. The house might be worth $200,000 but it's tax value could be only $15,000.

Carol Bowen 5 years ago

Catalano and I were calculating the property tax increase rather than the total tax. You have a good point, though. The assessed value is not the same as the market value (except the year after its sold.) We had to use the value given. It should be a fairly close estimate.

jafs 5 years ago

No, not at all. Assessed values are much lower than market value, even immediately after a sale.

I don't know why they do it that way, but it's true.

jafs 5 years ago

The property taxes aren't calculated on the total value of the property, but rather on the "assessed value", which is much lower.

Carol Bowen 5 years ago

We had to use the value available. Also note that because of the current market, the assessed value might not be lower than market value.i.e., short sales.

Either way, $20.01 is not correct. The tax increase should be in the neighborhood of $174. Pardon the pun.

jafs 5 years ago

Again, you don't seem to understand assessed value.

It's not the same thing as appraised value, it's much lower.

anotherview 5 years ago

OK. I will. The $200,000 is the appraisal amount. The assessed value is 11.5% of the appraised amount. So, take $200,000 x 11.5%= $23,000 x .87 mills and you get $20.01. I agree with Chad.

Carol Bowen 5 years ago

I did not know about the 11.5%. The original statement " A mill is one dollar in tax for every $1 in assessed valuation." has been corrected, so now, I see how the calculation works.Thanks.

Steve Jacob 5 years ago

So we are going to hurt private business in Lawrence even more by offering buses all night. As far as I am concerned, you can eliminate 80% of the bus routes and make everything else “on-demand” and the bus system would be better and save money.

JackMcKee 5 years ago

Lawrence is run by idiots and fools.

bornon7 5 years ago

Is it normal for a city bus to stop in front of a resident's house? The bus stops and waits for my neighbor to come out and get on. They aren't handicapped....anyone know? There is a stop at the end of our street and down one block. Takes 3 minutes to walk there....

Patricia Davis 5 years ago

I've noticed that, too? What's up with that?

paulveer 5 years ago

And apparently inhabited by at least one.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years ago

The bus was demanded, and for the last 10 years been looking for a place to fit. It is an absolute waste of money, uses tax dollars to compete with local business and caters and helps bring those to this town who cant or wont pay their own bills. When these people come, they suck tax dollars away from us for housing, medical, mental, dental, schools and just about everything else they can find a way to mooch.

Many of us are very tired of this. Most don't say anything.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

"Many of us are very tired of this. Most don't say anything."

But if you're honest, what you're really saying is that you want a final solution for all of those people who don't quite measure up to your standards.

Carol Bowen 5 years ago

I resent that. I have worked hard and paid all my taxes. I take the bus, and might use less tax money proportionately than a personal vehicle would.

gccs14r 5 years ago

I think we need expanded routes and hours so that the system is more usable. I'm willing to pay higher taxes for that.

Chip McConnell 5 years ago

I'm pleased to see that our City Manager did not expand the police force significantly. The new Police Chief (like any new leader) wants a new building and lots more resources without providing a numerical comparison of the per capa number of law enforcement officers in similar college towns like Lawrence to support his request.

After performing a little research myself, I suspect that the reason that this per capa information has not been provided to the public is that Lawrence is already in the top 10% nationally in the number of police per thousand residents for a college town.

Kudos to standing up to the political pressure Mr. Coriless and shame on the Lawrence Police Chief for trying to pull a fast one.

Food_for_Thought 5 years ago

You wouldn't happen to have the link to this information source, would you? Sounds like it would be an interesting read to share here...

Anthony Mall 5 years ago

Wow... Liberals complaining about taxes being raised??? That's funny!!! Guess you just want everyone else to pay to keep your city afloat... The bus system brings in "people who can't or won't pay bills" that would be national bus companies not your local service... You must mean the evil JO bus that brings in those horrible JOCO kids to ku and transports locals to juco... So let's see if I have this correct, in the last week I have seen some of you complain about a tax for sewer and water upgrades, updating a police force that could use a lot of help based on your constant complaints about calls, response times etc, a hotel and business plan, and now busses... Based on this you want Lawrence to stay in the rut it is in and never tax you for the cost of running a city... News flash!!! It is not the city of Lawrence that controls the constant rising cost of doing business nor is the city at fault you don't get a raise!!! Gas is expensive, upgrades are expensive, overtime is expensive, and all the little things like street lights, roads, snow removal, cutting the grass are all expensive, and that cost has to be put on someone in order to keep the city running... Apparently the liberals in Lawrence think everything is fine, wake up!!! You can't complain about all of these issues then complain about the taxes to pay for it... If you want it changed run for office!!!

Lawrenceks 5 years ago

So much for attracting retirees!

Get rid of the empty T!!!

Richard Heckler 5 years ago

Tax Payers Over Extended!

Taxpayers should be allowed to vote for or against all new capital improvement projects and rate increases. Nothing moves forward without voter approval. This would include USD 497.

New capital improvement projects are in fact increasing the tax bills. There is no way to get a budget under control when there is constant expansion of the infrastructure.

Adding more and more of anything is no way to rein the budget.

No one has a clue when the economy will bounce back so why are commissioners approving new tax increases by way of new capital improvements? Who will be paying for these increases?

"National surveys (through American Farmland Trust) show that county costs in services required by farmland and open space generally is only 35 to 60¢ for every $1.00 in revenues they generate, producing a net gain for counties. "

"In contrast, residential use in counties costs $1.11 to $1.60 in services for every $1.00 generated."

I say the Lawrence/Douglas County current budget crunch can be tied directly to infrastructure expenses needed to serve new housing developments.

If residential growth paid for itself and was financially positive, we would not be in a budget crunch. But with increased numbers of houses you have increased demand on services, and historically the funding of revenues generated by residential does not pay for the services, they require from a municipality.

Taxpayers should be allowed to vote for or against all new capital improvement projects,taxincreases and rate increases. Nothing moves forward without voter approval.

Politicians are and have been very busy over extending local taxpayers.

Anthony Mall 5 years ago

So why do we elect city, state, and national leaders then??? Oh yeah, we elect them and allow them to be our voice and vote on our behalf... You must of taken the same govt class as Obama...

paulveer 5 years ago

And you must have not taken the same English class as the President. See: it's "must have" not "must of."

JackMcKee 5 years ago

JackMcKee recommends firing David Corliss

JackMcKee 5 years ago

"The project would involve using two vehicles to offer “on-demand” service from the hours of 8 p.m. to 6 a.m"

aka, the biggest damn taxi you've ever seen.

These people are just too stupid for words.

Steve Bradt 5 years ago

Hear_me writes:"Chad, This is not correct. "• The property tax mill levy would increase by 0.87 of a mill. A mill is one dollar in tax for every $1 in assessed valuation. The owner of a $200,000 home would pay an extra $20.01 a year in property taxes if the mill increase is approved." A mil is one dollar for every $1,000. An .87 mil increase on a $200,000 home would be $174. Would someone check my calculations? This is not even close to $20."

Agreed, and a week or so ago in and article about a proposed 4% increase in water and sewer rates, we were informed that "... the city calculated for an average household that uses about 8,000 gallons of water per month, the combined water and sewer bill will grow to $72.34, up from $67.78 currently."

Somebody needs to confirm this and check the math. These figures represent a 6.7% increase, not 4%. Quite a difference.

Somebody at the LJWorld or the City, or both needs to invest in a calculator or else provide some explanations for these discrepancies. People are suspicious enough of the City's budgeting process as it is without adding seemingly blatant misinformation too it.

anotherview 5 years ago

sbradt: Chad is correct. See my comments above in response to Hear-me.

jafs 5 years ago

I'm surprised how many people don't seem to understand "assessed value" - if you look at your tax bill, you'll find the "market value" of your home, and then also an "assessed value" - the assessed value is much lower than the market value, and the mill levy is on the assessed, rather than the market value of the home.

Patricia Davis 5 years ago

And what about that sales tax increase that was mentioned in the news story (next to last paragraph) to provide additional funding for the "regional recreational complex?"

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years ago

Mill levy and assessed value is a game. It is like the income tax you pay in is on the 2nd page of your 1040. Right up front they show you your refund if you get one. If you look on the 2nd page it tells you how much they kept.

One year the city raises your mill levy, the next your assessed value. This is a clever way to slide it to you gently as you at first think, Great the mill levy did not go up, but what has happened is your assessed value went up, thus they slide you the ole' accounting trick wenie. The city, county, school board, and maybe someone else all have the opportunity to take a whack at your property tax bill each year.

The answer is to stop growing groups, facilities, and the ilk that use tax dollars. We dont need many of the things we have, or are getting shoved down our throats. There is no reason an out dated book depository can not be housed in some current open facility, but no, we have to spend 18 million on it. It has been said it would be cheaper to buy everyone in lawrence a kindal and we would save money.

It has to stop somewhere, everyone will be affected, we all need to do our part, especially those walmart breeders that crap out another kid each year so their welfare check does not get cut.

Matthew Herbert 5 years ago

Only Lawrence, Kansas would take a program that lost $3 million and would say "hey. Lets expand it....only now with it being personalized and thereby less efficient".

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