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City Hall

City Hall

City approves 2014 budget

July 23, 2013

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Growth is a theme in the $185 million 2014 budget unanimously approved by Lawrence city commissioners Tuesday night.

The budget calls for an increase in the city’s property tax, water and sewer rates, but commissioners said they believe the increases will pave the way for new growth in the community.

“This budget will allow us to stimulate some of the growth we have been encouraging,” Mayor Mike Dever said. “It will allow us to serve the new residents that we hope to bring in.”

The budget calls for about a 6 percent increase in city spending in 2014, and for the city’s property tax rate to increase by about 0.5 mill. The increase will result in about $12 more per year in property taxes for an owner of a $200,000 home.

As part of the budget, commissioners also unanimously approved water and sewer rates that will increase the average monthly bill by about 5 percent.

Commissioners said the water and sewer rate increases are needed to put the city on a firm foundation for decades to come.

“The projects that are going to be built because of these rate increases are projects that are so important to developing this community over the next quarter century,” said City Commissioner Mike Amyx.

The budget includes funding for $47.2 million worth of water and sewer projects in 2014. Among the larger projects is $14.8 million worth of work for a new sewage treatment plant south of the Wakarusa River. The 2014 funding is only a downpayment on what is expected to be about a $65 million project that will stretch into 2017.

The city also has included $17.9 million to address intermittent taste and odor issues in the city’s drinking water. Commissioners, though, are reserving the right to scale that project back as they research the taste and odor issues, which occur when algae blooms become significant at Clinton Lake or on the Kansas River.

The budget also included funding for about $15.2 million in other capital improvements. They included:

• $1.7 million for reconstruction of the intersection at 23rd and Iowa streets. Expect new turn lanes and greater vehicle capacity.

• $2 million for the first phase of the 31st Street extension in eastern Lawrence. When completed in 2015, the project will extend 31st Street from Haskell Avenue to O’Connell Road.

• $2.5 million to rebuild a portion of Wakarusa Drive from Oread West to Legends Drive.

The budget also includes funding for 19 new City Hall employees. Included in the total are nine new employees to staff the Rock Chalk Park Recreation Center, five employees to staff an expanded rental registration program, four new employees in the water and sewer department, and one new employee related to citywide curbside recycling program that will begin in late 2014.

Comments

jafs 9 months ago

Well, I doubt that increasing the costs of living in Lawrence will attract more people.

And, of course, I question whether or not that's desirable. There are studies showing that areas that increase population more quickly actually perform worse economically in a variety of ways than slower growing areas.

1

oneeye_wilbur 9 months ago

They do not care. They are on a mission to make it look like Lawrence I s successful.

Why would acorliss care about increased costs to local residents. He makes over 12,000 a month!

1

LeBo 9 months ago

I am certain the city commissioners and city manager are not paying attention to the economic environment on the state, federal, and international levels. We are on pace to become bankrupt in the long-term.

2

cheeseburger 9 months ago

$40,000 beacons or $270,000 traffic signals are not necessary at every intersection in town.

That's what happens when you have an attorney for a city manager.

Time for a change.

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cheeseburger 9 months ago

Brick crosswalks are not a necessity.

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appleaday 9 months ago

Actually, it looks like sewers and streets and western expansion

1

patkindle 9 months ago

hey folks, get out the check books, after all it is all about the kids and arts what could be a better to spend your money ?

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Currahee 9 months ago

All public works projects. You know when you're relying on public projects to fuel "growth" you're really just delaying the inevitable.

2

oneeye_wilbur 9 months ago

Recycling fee, water increase, city property tax increase, county tax increase, school district, Westar.

Add them up x 12.

The J W does not have reporters to do the math.

Wilbur aka wilbut , soon to be wilbutt believes each commissioner needs the money they are paid, I really do believe that.

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oneeye_wilbur 9 months ago

Would Mr Dever and the other commissioners please tellme where I get the extra money to pay for their bad ideas?

It is a simple question. Can any of the five answer it?

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toe 9 months ago

Increase taxes, more government worker mouths to greed, and costs to live in Lawrence far exceeding inflation. No change from the past 30 years.

1

optimist 9 months ago

The only growth here is the spending and debt. There will be no economic growth from this budget. Increasing the cost of living in the community will not attract businesses that will bring jobs and revenue from outside the city.

3

nick_s 9 months ago

Yesterday I was questioning line items for the Rock Chalk Park & was given the link to the city's full budget in pdf version. I do see line items budgeted, however they seem pretty vague. When do we get to see a real plan outlined as to how we are going to use, manage, & market our Rec Center as it has been sold to us? How are we going to get this thing off the ground & make it work. If we are already committed to this, & have already broken ground, one would assume there is a grand plan somewhere right? Right?

2

skinny 9 months ago

So much for trying to draw in the retiree's!! Plus running off what retirede's we have now. Good job Lawrence!

Maybe the citizens of Lawrenec need to find a new leadership as this one is not working! They seem to think money grows on trees!

3

ljreader 9 months ago

More growth? Keep it up with the higher taxes/ utility rates, and the only growth is going to be cobwebs.

4

fearthephog512 9 months ago

Mike Denver looks like a plotting, evil genius in the homepage photo ...

7

Larry Moss 9 months ago

And we thought the electricity rate increases were bad?

1

Kyle Chandler 9 months ago

I find it amusing that there are MANY MANY empty rental properties, yet, we need 5 more employees to an EXPANDED rental registration program and yet a single lone employee for an entire citywide curbside recycling program.

GO LAWRENCE!

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smitty 9 months ago

....in Chad's report yesterday but not included in today's coverage.

• $1.5 million to possibly purchase a site or begin design work for a new police headquarters facility. Funding will come from property taxes.

did this pass ?

We are each of us responsible for the evil we may have prevented -James Martineau-philosopher and Unitarian Minister

1

Floyd Craig 9 months ago

those fools r going to tax us to death

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