Archive for Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Lawrence planning several high-dollar projects in next five years; police facility would require tax increase

The City of Lawrence has budgeted $17 million for 2019 to construct the first phase of a new facility for the Lawrence Police Department.

The City of Lawrence has budgeted $17 million for 2019 to construct the first phase of a new facility for the Lawrence Police Department.

April 12, 2017

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A new police facility, automated water meters and major road reconstructions are all in the plans for the City of Lawrence, and along with them a potential tax increase.

Over the next five years, Lawrence is looking to fund about 180 large projects and purchases totaling $284 million. The first draft of the capital improvement plan was presented to the City Commission at its work session Tuesday.

One of the plan’s most expensive projects, the first phase of a police facility, is estimated to cost $17 million. Despite the multi-phase approach to the project, City Manager Tom Markus told the commission there wasn’t a way to fund the project without increasing taxes.

“I think the conversation is going to be more about how much of an increase are you willing to consider imposing on the taxpayers in the community,” Markus said. “Because if you start to look at the request and what’s fallen into the unfunded list, there’s a sizable amount there.”

Finance Director Bryan Kidney told commissioners that the first phase would require an increase of 1.25 mills. That’s the equivalent of about $30 more per year for the owner of a $200,000 home.

The City of Lawrence has budgeted $4.6 million for 2018 to reconstruct Queens Road from Sixth Street to the city limits.

The City of Lawrence has budgeted $4.6 million for 2018 to reconstruct Queens Road from Sixth Street to the city limits.

The police facility is just one of many projects the commission will have to consider. For next year, the plan calls for $56 million worth of projects and purchases. In coming weeks, the commission will decide on changes it wants to make to the five-year plan and finalize the projects slotted for next year.

The plan covers 2018 to 2022, and commissioners can make changes to the plan each year during the budget process. This is the second year that the city has done an in-depth capital improvement plan, which is meant to help the commission and city staff better prioritize and coordinate projects among departments.

“(The plan) helps direct those major projects out there that we want to make sure everyone keeps an eye on,” Kidney said.

The City of Lawrence has budgeted about $3.9 million for 2018 to reconstruct 19th Street from Iowa Street to Naismith Drive.

The City of Lawrence has budgeted about $3.9 million for 2018 to reconstruct 19th Street from Iowa Street to Naismith Drive.

The draft capital improvement plan includes any upcoming projects estimated at more than $100,000, which is the maximum spending level for the city manager. Markus revamped use of the plan last year to improve the city’s long-range planning.

“Personally I think it’s stunning that we haven’t been operating with a CIP for that many years,” Markus said.

The City of Lawrence has budgeted more than $2 million for 2018 to reconstruct several blocks of East Ninth Street.

The City of Lawrence has budgeted more than $2 million for 2018 to reconstruct several blocks of East Ninth Street.

The plan also makes a couple of assumptions regarding future revenue for the city. For one, the plan assumes that voters will choose to renew the city’s additional .55 percent sales tax, which helps fund city infrastructure and transit and is scheduled to sunset at the end of 2018. It also assumes the commission approves annual utility rate increases.

The plan also includes about $61 million of unfunded projects, some of which were citizen-proposed. In order to move a project from unfunded to funded, taxes would have to increase or other projects would have to give way.

“To me it gets down to an issue of how much tax impact do you think the community is willing to consider?” Markus said. “Because if you start to look at all those projects in the unfunded list, there’s a lot of things.”

The 2018-2022 capital improvement plan will go to the planning commission on April 26, then will be sent back to the city commission for additional review. The commission is scheduled to adopt the plan at its meeting May 2, and the budget for next year will be adopted in August.


Budgeted projects

Below are 10 of the high-dollar projects that the draft capital improvement plan has scheduled for next year or the year after. The full draft of the plan is available on the city’s website.

Water main replacement: About $21.2 million total is budgeted for routine replacement of water mains. $2.6 million is budgeted for 2018, and the remaining amount divided among 2019-2022.

Police facility: $17 million is budgeted for 2019 to construct the first phase of a new facility for the Lawrence Police Department.

Automated meter reading: About $10.9 million total is budgeted to install automated water meters for the utility department. About $6.4 million is budgeted for 2018 and the remainder for 2019.

Queens Road: $4.6 million is budgeted for 2018 to reconstruct Queens Road from Sixth Street to the city limits.

Transit hub: $4.5 million is budgeted to construct a hub that would serve as the central transfer point for the city’s bus service. $500,000 is budgeted for 2018 and the remaining amount for 2019.

19th Street, phase 2: About $3.9 million is budgeted for 2018 to reconstruct 19th Street from Iowa Street to Naismith Drive.

Solid waste facility, phase 2: $3.7 million is budgeted for 2019 to construct the second phase of the city’s solid waste facility located on Kresge Road.

19th Street reconstruction: About $3.6 million is budgeted for 2019 to reconstruct 19th Street from Harper Street to O’Connell Road.

East Ninth Street: $2.5 million is budgeted for 2018 to reconstruct several blocks of East Ninth Street.

Animal shelter: $2.5 million is budgeted to help the Lawrence Humane Society build a new facility. The facility's total cost is estimated at $7.5 million; the Humane Society will be responsible for raising the remaining $5 million.


Unfunded projects

Below are five of the $61 million of unfunded projects. The full draft of the unfunded projects is available on the city's website.

• Affordable housing initiatives funding increase: A total of $5.85 million was requested. For 2018 and 2019, $1.2 million annually was requested, and $1.15 million was requested for each remaining year in the plan.

• Boys & Girls Club Teen Center: $2.17 million was requested for 2018. The club is in the midst of a fundraising campaign to build a new teen center adjacent to the Lawrence College and Career Center.

• Peaslee Technical Training Center: $837,500 was requested to support the center for 2018. Markus said the amount represents about half the center’s mortgage, and that the city, county and center representatives need to come up with an agreement regarding the center’s public support.

• Lawrence Loop Trail: $500,000 was slotted for 2018 to pave a segment of the trail between Lawrence Memorial Hospital and Peterson Road.

• East Ninth Project Art: $500,000 was requested to support public art that would be incorporated into the reconstruction of East Ninth Street. $400,000 was requested for 2018, and the remaining $100,000 was requested for 2019.

Comments

David Holroyd 4 months, 1 week ago

Yes, Bob Smith and without the usual myhrr ointment.

Now then, it has recently been expressed to me that the Planning and "lack" of Development Department is headed by one Dr. Scott McCullough. His staff administers the anesthesia and he performs the colonoscopy while the City Commissioners sit and watch the procedure.

Mr. Markus then oks the order for the billing process and one Mr. Kidney (how appropriate a name) approves the expenses.

If that is not enough the county appraiser and staff then figure out how to jack up valuations on properties knowing full well that when they are sold, tthey are listed at less than county valuation (because the realtors are desperate for a commssion) and the property sells for less than the listed amount and only after the sellers have spent money to complete the sale.

If the Journal World were truly an investigative paper the writers would follow up on sales and then the Journal World might even get more awards .

Interstate 70 is now backed up with trailers of ointment from Johnson and Johnson.

Just for Lawrence .

Thank the commission and Mr. Markus and the Chamber of Commerce for the pain.

David Holroyd 4 months, 1 week ago

Will Mr.Markus please tell me where I get the $55 for the school bond issue and the $30 for the city plan.

That is $85 dollars. Please send it to the same address that the water bill goes to. All donations appreciated....american funds only.

David Holroyd 4 months, 1 week ago

I just got the latest at the "swap meet'. Mr. Markus cares not where the money comes from nor do any of the five commissioners, Mr. Boley, Mr. Amyx, Mr Herbert, Ms Larsen, Ms. Soden.. now we all know why the run again...they need money and being on the commission is easy money for them....they don't do much to help anyone else.

Kevin Kelly 4 months, 1 week ago

8 million on 19th St.! Does that include the intersections of 19th and Naismith and 19th and Iowa or just the 2 pending 19th St projects? How much was spent at 19th and Ousdahl? What is the total spent by the City to support the KU Central district including the new waterline down Ousdahl? How long have these 19th St projects been in line waiting their turn or have they been fast tracked by KU?

Correction: that would NOT be a RECONSTRUCTION from Harper to O'Connel, that would be construction of a new road that would put MORE traffic on 19th St. It looks pretty on the map to City workers and KU but to those that actually live here in Lawrence that extension is unwanted.

David Holroyd 4 months, 1 week ago

Mr. Richard Heckler,,,the mental health facility is at 6 E 6th. There is no room at the inn, thus the need for expansion.

Mr. Kelley,,,19th needs to be widened. No problem, the loss of tax revenue from those properties can be made up with the current process of over valuation. Too bad the Journal World won't write stories about sales of properties..It could garner another bigtime award. :)

Kevin Kelly 4 months, 1 week ago

All our streets need to be widened for the buses and street parking but that is a different story. If 19th St is widened it will still only be a 2 way St. 19th St does need rebuilt at this point but that doesn't mean every intersection on 19th St must be brand new. The point is: are we spending our money for what we want when we want on 19th St or is KU spending our money for us for their wants on 19th St ahead of other more important projects that have been waiting a very long time? Example:The intersection of 19th and Naismith has very little issues (go look) but it is selected to be COMPLETELY replaced this Summer ahead of other City projects that have either been waiting longer or are in a much more deteriorated state. That 19th St intersection money would go a long way on some East Lawrence street repairs.

Richard Heckler 4 months ago

19th and Naismith must always look nice for the parents of the students although I am not convinced they give a damn.

I believe 19th is on the list because the powers that be are under the impression a new looking street will sell properties in the Smart Corridor Venture region no matter that most of those spaces will be vacant for years ----- East Hills Business Park is a perfect example.

City Hall has as we know decided to give properties away for free although that was not on the table at the time the city decided to take on the fertilizer property.

Deborah Snyder 4 months ago

Let's a look at some facts, Mr. Heckler:

  1. Our city manager recommended against putting the any property up for sheriff's auction. You can thank two male city commissioners for that screw-up.

  2. The infrastructure changes at 19th/Naismith are to provide pedestrian safety, reduce speeding and accidents at or nearby that intersection and cut down on the 18-wheel truck traffic. It also will allow substructure water drainage, waste and supply lines to upgrade, and finally, FINALLY put in a much needed sidewalk system that exists on only one side of 19th as well as Naismith! Where have you been for all those news articles and public forums on this particular project you felt entitled to show your ignorance on??!

Kevin Kelly 4 months ago

I don't think we need to replace an entire intersection at 19th and Naismith that is not in disrepair and will have virtually the same footprint except for the sidewalks. Our City to do list is way out of whack if an entirely new 19th and Naismith is at the top.

Deborah Snyder 4 months ago

Third, these issues have LONG been recognized as being in need of repair or replacement, and have been passed over again and again this past decade alone for more immediate, virtual emergencies on our substructure and road repair, jail, parks and u-name-it

Deborah Snyder 4 months ago

....library expansion, hospital, flood control, county landfill overfill, major thoroughfar/highway/trafficway... the list has been nothing BUT playing "catch-up-as-catch-can" city where the movers and shakers have principally been developers and real estate agents!

Deborah Snyder 4 months ago

Look, I have nothing against an informed complaint against public expenditures, but to ignore the chronological history of public demands over city planning is going to invite hard pushback from me and many others who are watching the imbalance catch up with us over the subsequent bounce-back from ignoring all this development outpace affordability.

I get that everything is going up in price... from food and gas to utilities and property valus. Our city politicians are going to have to deal wih this weird imbalance between homeowners and landlords on single-family modest housing stock, else forfeit any control on urban land-use conversion/subversion and suburban sprawl, which is a major

Deborah Snyder 4 months ago

...contributor to these expensive projects!

David Holroyd 4 months ago

Ms. Snyder the increase in property valuations is phone. FAKE. It does not reflect the sales prices. You don't believe it? Wait till you sell yours. Have fun and then you will realize you have been paying taxes on a fake valuation.

David Holroyd 4 months ago

Take advantage of the ability to defer property taxes. It is done by local attorneys, local developers and the easiest loan to get. No paperwork, nothing to sign. Just pay a bit of interest and since the county appraiser touts the increase in valuations...tack on the interest to the total sale.

Everyone should be doing this....the secret is to not have the property go into tax sale foreclosure...

That is the key!

So for those so interested in my taxes...you have just learned Lesson 101 and whether you be in Wichita sending letters to to me ( the next time the United States Post office will get it unopened!) or chastizing me online...Rosemany is that it", you need to be informed of what is legal at the county tax department collection department.

It's really a good deal for the community . The community earns interest paid by the owner and that interest can be distributed allowing the governmental entities more money to squander.

It's a win win for everyone.

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