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Do you think the city should raise property taxes to pay for street repairs?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on July 8, 2006

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Photo of Mary Brewster

“No, because the cost of living is so high already. It will deter people from wanting to buy homes.”

Photo of Gary Archer

“I think the property taxes are too high anyway. They get a lot of money anyway. Maybe they just need to rearrange their priorities.”

Photo of Maggie Little

“No. I’m sure that they can find the money in other places.”

Photo of Pat Curtiss

“Taxes of some form have to be raised, but I don’t think that property taxes should always be the first place to go.”

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blessed3x 11 years, 2 months ago

Absolutely not! Taxes should only be raised for important stuff like downtown artwork and paying officers to babysit your kids at the fountains.

Oh and BTW, FIRST!!! I've never been first before. I'd like to thank everyone involved for making this possible. It is truly an honor.

geekin_topekan 11 years, 2 months ago

Ya gotta get up pretty early around here.Congrats and I hope your day is full of little victories.

Liberty 11 years, 2 months ago

How about the city just cash in a couple of round-abouts instead of raising taxes for something they should already have in the budget. If they are that short of money, they should be doing less spending so they can take care of their normal expected responsibilities of maintaining the roads. The city should already have a budget that covers road maintenance. Taxes should not need to ever be raised for normal road repairs. Otherwise there is financial mismanagement that should be brought to light. Perhaps we should look at their annual financial report and see if there are excesses anywhere. Many cities and states cry that they need to raise taxes when they have millions of invested money stored away in other areas. Accountants that pay taxes should scrutinize the annual financial report for such hidden piles of money.

classclown 11 years, 2 months ago

Shelve the new library and all the other frivolous items they want to waste money on.

sunflower_sue 11 years, 2 months ago

sigh I'd like to nominate myself for dictator of the city, please. "Oops, where's my head? Where is it? Oh! There it is. It seems to be stuck up my ___!" Do I qualify?

lunacydetector 11 years, 2 months ago

BEFORE RAISING OUR TAXES "FEES" CUT city government jobs first, especially since they grew astronomically over the past 10 years, then....CUT traffic calming devices completely and put in yield or stop signs for a fraction of the cost (or hire more police - it still would be cheaper), then....make damn sure the asphalt/concrete companies do a good job when they do road work so they don't have to go back and re-do the streets a couple of years later - fine them for poor workmanship/materials (we have mild winters people and the roads still suck), then....make the property owner pay for their own sidewalk repair -why should WE be subsidizing old rich west lawrence or east lawrence for their 100 year old sidewalks?- if people desire to live in an old house, they should know there are added expenses living in an old house and not b*tch enough to have the rest of US pay for their luxury of living in an antique.

juscin3 11 years, 2 months ago

I agree, maybe they need to think their priorities before they go spending money such as roundabouts. It doesn't matter if you know how to drive around them, its the people the don't know what YIELD means! The cost of living is high and I deffinately understand why people will move to a small town rather than here. Rent is high BUT, people will pay it to live here just to go to school. They know they can get it from the college students, so they will keep it that way. Sad to say that just because the students want to go to school here they have to pay high cost of renting.
Just my opinion here....

justsomewench 11 years, 2 months ago

surveying an olathe resident about raising property tax in lawrence - logical.


Fangorn 11 years, 2 months ago

blessed3x: Congrats! I've only managed that once. You really have to get up early with this crowd...or else stay up very late.

jucsin3: "Just my opinion here...." That's what this forum is for, so opine till your heart's content!

Regarding the question: I already pay lots and lots of money each year (through my property taxes) to support a school system my children will never attend. I certainly don't want to pay any more taxes. I concur with the remarks about setting proper spending priorities (and about the "logic" of asking non-locals about local taxes).

Regarding roundabouts: I just got the Kansas Driver License Renewal Examination Handbook. It warns us that "modern roundabouts" are coming to Kansas. What is a "modern" roundabout, and how does it differ from a good, old-fashioned one?

everyone: This board has officially corrupted me (sorry, Bea, I don't mean that I've adopted any left-wing views). A friend recently mentioned disliking the uncomfortable seats in her husband's car. Knowing what she usually drives, I remarked that her leather seats have spoiled her. As soon as I said the word "leather", all I could think about were "pleather" and Gootsie's snakes!

sunflower_sue 11 years, 2 months ago

I would like to declare (as my first dictatorial act) that today be officially named "Fangorn Corruption Day." A day to ponder pleather, snakes, modern roundabouts, cheerleaders, festivus poles, and all things that led such an upstanding citizen to his fall. And as the leader of the free city of Sueville, I warmly welcome you.

Redzilla 11 years, 2 months ago

I've never understood how road upkeep could be correlated to property taxes anyway. It's perfectly possible to own property without owning a car. Why not look at vehicle taxes? Let the people who drive on the roads pay for their upkeep. Or, you know, if you just feel boring and practical, look at how we can make the library better without spending a ton of money on a new building.

coldsplice 11 years, 2 months ago

These are basic functions of a city government and have to be accounted for at a bare minimum, but investing public money on public goods isn't a zero-sum game.

I grew up in Lawrence and I love it but there is only a couple things that keep it from becoming just another abandoned Kansas backwater-KU and the fact that we invest a little bit of money on a few amenities like public art, libraries, and yes, roads.

I seriously don't get what all the hubub is about the art downtown. The city of Lawrence spends just over two tenths of a percent of it's budget on public art (including the city band). If your looking for money to build roads-stop looking in the couch cushions. Plus, the art's a selling point that brings folks into town to spend $, generating taxes, to build your roads-if you've looked at the license plates on Mass St. during the holidays you know what I'm talking about. Further, the business community must think the art is important because the Chamber of Commerce website has a big blurb on the city's commitment to the arts.

Secondly, when did investing in your community (taxes) become synonymous with waste? I live in Minnesota now and 50 years ago, we had the second worst educational system in the country. Then the government started raising taxes to invest it in our physical and social infrastructures. The result was higher tax rates and simultaneously one of the highest standards of living-best schools in the nation, high wages, great infrastructure, and a commitment to public services (including libraries). This commitment even ended up on the cover of Time magazine as a model for a turn around. There is no great surprise here-look at the Royals (don't pay for players = you suck)

In the past 20 years in Minnesota, investing in our infrastructure (roads) and future wage earners/tax payers (educating kids), has come under attack and now we can't get road contractors to bid on multi-year, multi-million dollar highway projects because contractors have no faith that the state will raise the taxes neccessary to pay for it.

Being able to find Lawrence on Google Maps may show where you are now but the real question is where do you want Lawrence to be in 30 years (when you retire and need those services...)

PS-Enough already about roundabouts-who cares?

blessed3x 11 years, 2 months ago

Redzilla, that's a slippery slope. If only the drivers paid for the roads, then only the library users should pay for the library and only the park users should pay for the parks, etc etc. Everyone benefits from basic infrastructure. You may not drive but the pizza delivery guy bringing dinner does and the ambulance and police vehicles do. The semi bringing in goods for you to purchase uses the roads. If the roads did not exist, your lifestyle would need to alter significantly. If the storm sewer drainage wasn't designed/built properly, your basement might flood. We all benefit from basic infrastructure and it's construction and upkeep are a responsibility of government. Unforturnately gov'ts too often feel they have other responsibilities. Like artwork.

beatrice 11 years, 2 months ago

Don't worry fangorn, I'll get you thinking and acting on happy, liberal thoughts in no time! : )

I know that many conservatives like to follow President Bush's plan of cut-taxes and spend anyway, but that becomes extremely difficult on a local level. If taxes are needed for road-repair, then why not look at things that are closer related to the road itself. Perhaps a tax on vehicles based on value of the auto. To be honest, I don't have a clue what this would take, but money can't always be taken from property owners since non-property owners use the roads as well.

b3: 6:30 in the morning is too early to attack art. If the arts programs were scrapped in Lawrence, you might get enough to repair a couple of potholes. The trade off isn't great enough. I say more art is needed to enrich our lives, not less!

YourItalianPrincess 11 years, 2 months ago

And the city wonders why the population has decreased here in Lawrence. There are 14 ( now 15 as of last night ) houses for sale iin a 3 block area near my mom's house. Shes in North Lawrence and people are moving away. Not sure where they are all going, but maybe its because property taxes are high enough already.

Crazy things going on around here. I agree some streets need to be repaired and some are okay. With the property taxes possibly going up again along with our bills, I'm better of renting then buying for now.

Have a great day everyone. We are off to see Pirates.....Arrrrrrghhhhhh.........LOL

jayhawks71 11 years, 2 months ago

blessed3x, what a great point you make regarding why a "driver's only" tax is inappropriate. Ultimately, property taxes are passed on to non-property owners. To say that only property owners are bearing the burden, is simply fallacy. If you rent, your rent will increase, if your landlord chooses to eat the cost, that is his/her business decision to cut into profits for the sake of attracting more tenants (customers) and no different than the local burger joint charging 10 cents less for a burger 'special."

YIP and other alarmists, perhaps the leveling off (the drop was miniscule) of population in Lawrence is a good thing. A sign that Lawrence has reached an appropriate size based on its land mass, infrastructure, and economic resources. It is hardly a signal that property taxes on your fee simple have driven people from the city. From 1990-2004 Lawrence grew at a rate higher than most other Midwestern cities; this is a simple levelling off.

lunacydetector 11 years, 2 months ago

jayhawks71, "this simple levelling off" of population is the first of its kind in the history of lawrence.

jayhawks71 11 years, 2 months ago

LD. ok? You too are a "first" in the history of Lawrence, but that doesn't negate you does it?

jayhawks71 11 years, 2 months ago

Let's examine LD's claim, shall we?

First, some groundwork. The ESTIMATE from 2004-2005 was a drop of 26 people. Statistically, this is no different than "no change" because it is indeed an ESTIMATE. The margin of error probably allows for even a small increase in poulation.

Let's look at the math. 2005 population divided by 2004 population -> 81816/81842 = .99968. --> 1.0000 - .99968 = .00032 or a drop of .03%. Who in their right mind considers this a meaningful DECREASE in population! LD, your detector should have gone off when this story first came up over a month ago.

Next, let's take a look at the claim that a this leveling off is the "first of its kind in the history of Lawrence." Please view the following graph.

I see a leveling off covering 40 years from 1900-1940, followed by a steep increase from 1940-2000 and another leveling off from 2000-present (although during this time there was a net population increase!).

Next, the rate of population growth from 1910 to 1920 was .7% (78 people in 10 years, an average increase of 7.8 people per year), is this a leveling off?

So, LD are you lying to your fellow posters or are my eyes-a-lyin to me? Please provide some more claims that I can debunk.

trollkiller 11 years, 2 months ago

Here's a good quote, "Argueing on the Internet is like running in the Special Olympics, even if you win, you're still retarded." (No offense to the mentally handicapped)

brianjay1 11 years, 2 months ago

I get it... we can't hike property taxes 7% by raising property values this next year because property sales have slowed -- let's find another way to raise taxes. Could I have one year where my mortgage payment doesn't rise due to taxes?? If our city councilmen wouldn't spend millions defending the city in Wal-Mart suits they brought on by their ignorance there would be money for road improvements. I, for one, am voting for change at the next elections and I encourage everyone else to consider it!!

sunflower_sue 11 years, 2 months ago

Troll, I really find that quote extremely offensive, and I'm not mentally handicapped. It's not a good quote. It's not even funny. I also see no similarities between the Special Olympics and Internet argueing. Let me point out that not all participants in the Special Olympics are mentally handicapped. They also train hard like all other atheletes for a chance at their own personal success. I've seen this quote used before on the OTS so I'm sorry that you receive my wrath today. I should have spoken up earlier. (But if I remember correctly, I think the other users of the quote got zapped.) I, for one, would appreciate not seeing this quote again.

Linda Aikins 11 years, 2 months ago

Can I be vice-mayor, sue? We'll call it Suesieville. And Fangorn, you will definitely be our city planner.

Were you in the back seat of this car when you thought of me and my snakes?

I have a confession. I laugh through roundabouts because of you all.

trollkiller 11 years, 2 months ago


You missed the point of the quote because you're taking it in the literal sense. Hence, the disclaimer. The point of using the quote was because I'm tired of reading the petty arguments over silly semantics. It's pointless, they're strangers and no one's going to win. As in this case, the arguments result in insults. People want so badly to win the argument.

Now to you taking offense. Sorry you did, but the shoe was on the other foot yesterday when a poster was unintentionally offended by your post yesterday. It happens usually when the comment is taken in a way in which it wasn't meant. I view your comment today in the same way you viewed the person yesterday, that it is being misinterrpreted.

trollkiller 11 years, 2 months ago

s_s, I guess it was the day before yesterday (not yesterday)the the other poster was put off by your comments about what you hubby would do.

sunflower_sue 11 years, 2 months ago

Troll, I did mention that I was sorry you were the target of my wrath. I just hate that quote (not you)...just the way I am. All the explination in the world won't make me hate it less. I did take note of your "no offence" clause. I guess I take the quote literally because the group of individuals mentioned have a hard enough time without having to defend themselves. You can, with my permission, say all you like about me. I'm a big girl and will defend myself, if need be. (Don't repeat this...but I'm not always necessarily right.) Can we just agree to disagree on this one?

Gootsie, are there other political offices since it's my dictatorship? If so, I'll appoint you vice-mayor but I get to tell you what to do. :o) Fangorn as a city planner? Hmmmm.....we may have to corrupt him a bit more first.

sunflower_sue 11 years, 2 months ago

jimjones, RI is partial to lime flavor. ;)

SpeedRacer 11 years, 2 months ago

NO!!! Cut all of the frivolous spending! What the @&#* are those stupid things at 9th and New Hampshire?!. We need a smarter government.

SpeedRacer 11 years, 2 months ago

Oh, and can the Dada Memorial Library. This is just alot of fluff in "taxing" times.

Redzilla 11 years, 2 months ago

My point re: property vs. automotive taxes is not to "spare" anyone taxation. I do drive and do own property--funny how blessed3x assumed I don't drive. Unlike a lot of people, I'm not afraid of taxes, but I suspect that people sometimes need help understanding the connexion between a tax and what it goes to pay for. Hence my question regarding auto taxes and road upkeep. Just as property taxes get passed on to non-property owners, a higher auto tax would be passed on to non-drivers. The pizza guy would raise his rates and so would the ambulance service. Someone has to pay or we have to do without.

christie 11 years, 2 months ago

Only raise taxes for the poor people. Seems the city has enough money to pave and re-pave and re-pave in rich areas of town, but when it comes to everyday people, the city suddenly runs out of money.

Purell 11 years, 2 months ago

Marion, You should be permantly banned from LJW boards. In fact your IP address should be blocked. For suggesting another postcard campaign and soliciting your site.

lunacydetector 11 years, 2 months ago

jayhawks71, don't forget to take into account that the enrollment at KU has increased quite a bit since they jacked up the tuition. funny how increasing tuition increases enrollment.

anyway, you need to take those numbers into account. so the population most likely has decreased more than what the census numbers show since non-residents (literally) are filling the void.

jayhawks71 11 years, 2 months ago

Ummm LD, do you just make up numbers and then reason from them? From the KU website.

Total spring enrollment since 1993: Spring 2005: 27,890 Spring 2004: 27,772 Spring 2003: 27,463 Spring 2002: 26,894 Spring 2001: 26,857 Spring 2000: 26,545 Spring 1999: 26,297 Spring 1998: 26,214 Spring 1997: 25,755 Spring 1996: 26,261 Spring 1995: 26,127 Spring 1994: 27,131 Spring 1993: 27,569

From 1993 to 2000, the population of Lawrence ROSE while the enrollment at KU dropped. In 2003 there were 311 more students at KU than in 1993, and increase of 1.2 percent.

The take home message is that KU students are not accounting for shifts in the population in Lawrence. And unless they are residents of Lawrence AND KU students why would KU students (only) be counted?

jayhawks71 11 years, 2 months ago

I should clarify that those enrollment numbers are all of the KU campuses combined. However, for comparison sake, on the Lawrence campus, spring enrollment rose to 25,379, breaking the record of 25,348, set in spring 2004. An increase in 1 year of 31 students.

Fangorn 11 years, 2 months ago

Regarding Marion's posts/links.

All of us here state and defend what we think. Most just don't put it in a website link. I would much rather see a post, which I can ignore if I choose, Than an 30-paragraph treatise on their views. So whether you agree or disagree with this bloke, It doesn't warrant the level of acrimony it provokes.

Purell 11 years, 2 months ago

Fanghorn, You must of missed his last post. He was suggesting another postcard smear campaign (of which he was suspected by some, of doing last time). His behavior don't need support.

Fangorn 11 years, 2 months ago

Purell & OMB: I confess I have never read any of the links. I suppose I just dislike it when things start getting testy on the board. In future, I will try to be more knowledgeable about the reason for the acrimony before reacting to it. I agree there are times when it is deserved. Thanks for taking the time to offer this insight.

Purell: I'm glad to see someone as fastidious as I am about proper grammar. May I recommend a book I recently read and enjoyed very much? "Eats, Shoots and Leaves: A Zero-Tolerance Approach to Punctuation" by British author Lynne Truss. Very amusing. And, for those to whom language is important, very uplifting. If you choose to read this book, let me know what you think.

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