Sound Off

Sound Off: I am a Lawrence property owner, resident and taxpayer. Why are city residents like myself not given priority to purchase the yard compost that we have funded? I observed many nonresidents picking up compost at the city sale recently.

Megan Gilliland, the city’s communications manager, provided this answer: The majority of the participants who purchase compost at the city’s compost sale events are Lawrence residents. The city does not currently require proof of residency at the compost sale, but it may be considered for future events.


parrothead8 5 years, 6 months ago

What does a Lawrence nonresident look like?

Christina Hoffman 5 years, 6 months ago

Actually he is a resident of Lawrence. :) he owns a nice little place and works at a nice place in Lawrence.

James Minor 5 years, 6 months ago

This person is a resident of Lawrence. If he was at the compost sale with that sign the compost would have sold out faster. Is there hemp in the compost? Or is there hemp being sold in addition to compost?

buffalo63 5 years, 6 months ago

I have worked with him. He does his job well, is on time, good attendance, and pays taxes; and has a point of view that he truely believes.

John Hamm 5 years, 6 months ago

1) Why "Whiner?" I believe this to be a valid question. City residents should be given priority over non-residents. 2) Simple drivers license check should suffice. Nothing wrong with that. Conclusion: You're showing you Liberal roots to the fullest.....

funkdog1 5 years, 6 months ago

Liberal roots? Conservatives are the ones demanding IDs for everything these days.

Topple 5 years, 6 months ago

We should get Kris Kobach on this ASAP. He's an expert in photo IDs.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 6 months ago

I say the whiner has a legitimate concern if the compost offered up is being sold out.

Then again is the compost material from the city proper or is it county wide?

Matthew Herbert 5 years, 6 months ago

Who cares? The program is not designed to guarantee a supply of sellable compost, it is designed to keep huge piles of biodegradeable goods out of the landfill and to that end, it's successful.

Bob Forer 5 years, 6 months ago

I beg to differ. The program has multiple designs. Yes, it does keep huge amounts of matter out of the landfill, and is successful in that regard. But it also is designed to benefit citizens in their landscaping efforts, and is popular to the extent that supply exceeds demand. In other words, it is doubly successful.

And where supply exceeds demands, and the cost is at less than typical market rates, why not give a first preference to those folks whose tax dollars fund the program

I know of no rule that states a public works program is limited to one design benefit or purpose. In fact, a public program that serves dual or multiple purposes is preferable, and should be encouraged.

Matthew Herbert 5 years, 6 months ago

A) I assume you mean demand exceeds supply B) If you in fact do mean demand exceeds supply, as it does, wouldn't the correct economic course of action be to increase the cost of the product? At present, I can (and do, everytime) get my truck loaded up for $10. If we are running out every time, which we are, perhaps up the fee to $20. Now, we'll still run out, though not as quickly and we'll double the cash benefit to the city. The more we collect from taxpayers who USE a specific service, the less we have to raise by taxing ordinary citizens solely for being part of a community.

It is this same logic that makes me believe we ought to MASSIVELY increase the parking ticket fine for downtown parking. Right now, available parking is often a 'demand exceeds supply' scenario, but at only $3 a ticket, you don't have to look far to find cars in violation of the law. Make your parking tickets $20 and suddenly you offer actual incentive for people to feed the meters (more money for the city) and you alleviate some of the parking cluster this downtown has so much of AND you raise revenue for the city off the backs of rule breakers not ordinary law abiding citizens.

budwhysir 5 years, 6 months ago

Could you explain "priority" status??

Brock Masters 5 years, 6 months ago

I suppose priority status could mean residents only the first day or the first hours. Something to give residents priority over non residents.

budwhysir 5 years, 6 months ago

Ok, now I am a little clearer... I myself am a property owner and resident and to be honest was unaware of this problem developing. But now that it has my attention I look to get a firm grip on this and provide a positive solution that might help everyone involved.

CHEEZIT 5 years, 6 months ago

Which came first? "Its a Wonderful Life" or Sesame Street?

Russell Fryberger 5 years, 6 months ago

With the SLT finally going through there should be plenty of swamp compost for all real soon. Lets all just get along.

gccs14r 5 years, 6 months ago

How about a "no contractors until Sunday" rule? Most homeowners don't have a chance to get over there until Saturday, and these days most of it is gone by then. It's disheartening to see the parade of commercial trucks and trailers leaving the compost area laden with tons of the stuff. I even saw a dumptruck once.

Maybe start the compost sale on Saturday and continue it through Tuesday if there's enough left. That gives homeowners a decent chance of getting what they need, instead of scrambling for scraps.

ForThePeople 5 years, 6 months ago

I agree with this comment. Many times I've gone to purchase compost or mulch, the bulk of vehicles lined up are contractors. And the problem is exactly as gccs14r states...the sale starts on a Thursday when most homeowners are working. A good compromise would be to start the sale on Sat. and open it to only non-commercial customers until Monday. That way it won't be bought up by contractors before others even get the chance. The contractors will still buy up the remainder on the following weekdays.

Matthew Herbert 5 years, 6 months ago

in the past contractors who have trucks marked indicating such (business magnets/businesses painted on the side, etc..) have been turned away. I've both seen it happen, and had it happen to me.

gccs14r 5 years, 6 months ago

That stopped when the city started charging by the loader bucketful.

fan4kufootball 5 years, 6 months ago

How does person who asked the question know they are non-residents? Vehicle tag? It could be that the resident doesnt have the proper vehicle to pick up compost and had a relative/friend who does pick it up for them.

kernal 5 years, 6 months ago

I think the person who submitted the question is referring to people from out side of Douglas County. He probably noticed some of the out of county license plates.

The spring the city ran out of free compost for the locals, a friend noticed a couple of guys with Missouri plates on their pickups loading up compost.

jessie 5 years, 6 months ago

Pretty tough to judge by license plates, as others have indicated, they could have borrowed the truck.

Aimee Polson 5 years, 6 months ago

From what I understand, with the new compost distribution method that was implemented this fall, not as much was taken and the city still has compost available.

peartree 5 years, 6 months ago

I think both the contractor issue and out of town folk coming in are valid concerns. I do think contractors should have to wait until Saturday, if they are allowed at all. This is a service subsidized by taxpayers, and they should benefit. Yes, it is great for the environment, but those paying for it still should benefit. Also, there is an easy way around the residency problem: show an ID or a bill with an address. I can't imagine too many people who would need compost would have trouble coming up with one of those.

SnakeFist 5 years, 6 months ago


I'm surprised SageonPage didn't beat you to it (of course, if he had written this, he would have been completely serious).

RoeDapple 5 years, 6 months ago

What the flip?? Show ID for compost but not to vote? What this town needs is more . . . . cowbell!

Matthew Herbert 5 years, 6 months ago

Using the same logic as is routinely applied to voter i.d:

if we require i.d to buy compost, won't that disproportionately affect low-income and minority gardeners?

peartree 5 years, 6 months ago

I am against voter ID laws, but this is not the same thing. Residents are paying for a product they may choose to take, but that product is being (at times) hoarded by nonresidents and contractors.

Voter ID laws (often) deny the rights of citizens. The goal of verifying where you live, in the case of the compost, is absolutely trying to protect the investments of citizens. It doesn't have to be an ID, just a bill or something easy.

Let's say you are a Native person living on a Reservation that produces oil and shares the profits. Would you by okay with handing out cash to anyone that pulls up and claims to live there? Same idea...

Matthew Herbert 5 years, 6 months ago

you're right, that's not the exact same thing...but your explanation of why it is not the same actually serves to prove my initial point. I would consider my vote an investment in my community, that should be a protected investment by the city. Just as you shouldn't hand out compost, or "cash' in your analogy, to anyone "that pulls up and claims to live there" so to should you not simply hand out a vote to anyone who "pulls up and claims to live there".

peartree 5 years, 6 months ago

Fundamentally, I agree. However, I believe if the choice is either one person voting fraudulently or 100 eligible voters who cannot produce documentation being denied the ability to vote, then I would prefer the former. My numbers aren't exact, but I have heard similar ratios quoted in the news. If nonpartisan data proves me wrong, I will reconsider my opinion.

Ceallach 5 years, 6 months ago

So, if I own twice as much property, and contribute twice as much compost material, shouldn't I be given priority over those with lesser land? And, because of my greater contribution, I should be able to purchase twice as much compost for the same price as the above mentioned lesser land owner. Right?

peartree 5 years, 6 months ago

You tax dollars are the contribution, not your compost. We are paying for people and machines to move the stuff around, plus the land it sits on.

HutchSaltHawk 5 years, 6 months ago

I thought the sale was also limited to homeowners, but I usually find about as many professional landscape vehicles there as I do personal vehicles.

Matthew Herbert 5 years, 6 months ago

trucks that are clearly marked as commercial vehicles (i.e "Lawrence Landscape" painted on the side) are routinely turned away at these sales. I have a magnet on the side of my truck for a painting business, and have never been paid for any compost delivery/etc... but still was turned away once as a "commercial vehicle"

patkindle 5 years, 6 months ago

i suspect alot of home owners employ the services of local landscapers to pick up and spread the mulch for them

Sarah St. John 5 years, 6 months ago

Did_I_say_that observed:

  1. Megan Gilliland, the city’s communications manager asserts that, "The majority of the participants ... are Lawrence residents."

  2. Does Megan Gilliland know every one of the 88,727 Lawrence residents by sight?

I don't know about previous years, but this year when I pulled up on one of the "freebie" days (for small amounts of compost), I was required to sign in with name and address. Presumably Megan G. was getting her information from those sign-in sheets (assuming everyone was honest with their info).

Sarah St. John 5 years, 6 months ago

Wow -- BLUE! I have no idea how I did that.

patkindle 5 years, 6 months ago

Duh, I am dumber than a box of rocks, and cant get out of Bed in the morning. I need to find a socal service group with will get me some mulch for my pot plants,but I don’t have any money to pay them i live in my step brother in laws house trailer cause no one will hire me

deec 5 years, 6 months ago

No doubt. People are all upset because they aren't getting the chance to buy rotted vegetation. No disrespect to compost intended.

dwendel 5 years, 6 months ago

I got tired of bagging leaves and hauling them to the curb, then renting a trailer, paying and waiting in line to haul them back again the next year. I bought some stakes and chicken wire, made a bin, and am now composting my own leaves and yard waste (koi poop from the pond filter kicks it up a notch). Sometime I'm just awesome in the garden.

budwhysir 5 years, 6 months ago

And just think, those people down here from out of town driving on our streets, eating at our fast food places, drinking our coffee, and all that.

Katara 5 years, 6 months ago

If there was only some way a homeowner could make their own compost. Perhaps putting it in some sort of bin to keep the critters out?

budwhysir 5 years, 6 months ago

I would suggest being real nice to those 90102 Beverly Hills Jayhawk wanna bees, they are some compost conserving right wing rebels and they will make sure your compst supply runs out quick if they get wind of any plots against them.

Alfred_W 5 years, 6 months ago

Did you know that 47% of Lawrence residents contribute no yard waste to the city's composting program? Yet these same people are the first to demand their share. We should be providing compost breaks to the biggest grass producers and not to the entitled moochers!

Debbie Guy Spreer 5 years, 6 months ago

I am new to Lawrence (and YES, I am a resident, property owner and pay my taxes). I did not know about purchasing all this. Where is this located and when does it become available? Do they make an announcement in the paper?

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