To the editor:
The City Commission authorizing an open bidding process for the recreation center is good news for Lawrence residents. A major remaining concern is the commission’s seemingly absolute commitment to spend $25 million whether we need to or not. According to the Jan. 31 Journal-World article, “The city will contribute an amount to the infrastructure that brings the city’s total contribution to the project to $25 million.”
In testimony before the commission, city staff said the planned recreation center budgeted amount for operating expenditures is insufficient. The two letters from the Kansas University Endowment Association to the city manager place significant costly demands on the city. The taxpayers need to know how these issues are being addressed and what it will cost us now and in the future.
The City Commission promised the recreation center would not increase our taxes. Before we spend all the bond money we should hold them to their promise as they make commitments. The City Commission needs to present to the taxpayers, and hold hearings on, an understandable and specific budget outlining both short- and long-term costs; capital expenditures; promotional, operating and maintenance expenses, and income from all sources for the recreation center. The income should ensure that our current and future city operating and capitol budgets will not be impacted, nor a need to raise taxes will result in the future based on constructing, operating and maintaining the recreation center.
The commission also owes us a contingency plan outlining bond reserves if our income projections fall short.