Comment history

Making sales-tax cents

With that logic Logarithmic, the developers should be fat and happy right now with their voice ruling the city instead of complaining about the slow real estate market. Believe it or not, Lawrence has steadily averaged about 300 new homes per year over the last 20 years with few ups and downs until recently.

I would challenge anyone to name one type of business that has been more adversely affected in recent years by legislation (codes and restrictions) and by heaping costs on them traditionally paid for from other sources. I am not saying that there aren't any, but it would be interesting to hear them. Perhaps coal plant construction for one.

I am also not saying that this trend is not totally justified. It would, however, be nice to not have to hear people blame all the city's problems on development. Why do you think we need a tax increase anyway? Could it be that the city incorporated income from growth statistics that simply did not materialize? Once the city gets used to spending money at a certain rate, it is hard to cut back. Face facts Logarithmic, the reason our city is hurting now is because we are no longer growing.

November 6, 2007 at 2:27 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Making sales-tax cents

gccs14r: "That's how it used to be funded. If you built in a new area, you had to pay for all those services to be run to you. Water, gas, sewer, electric, phone, and later cable all had to be paid by the homeowners. Specials would be assessed for 10-20 years to pay for infrastructure. Back in the 70s, it cost $100 to have cable TV installed, which was two weeks' pay for a lot of folks. Nowadays, the folks building McMansions expect someone else to pay for their sprawl."

Actually, just the opposite is true. The trend is that new homebuyers pay for more and more every year. Utilities like TV, phone, gas, electric, take care of themselves. The developer (new homebuyer) takes care of everything else. In the 70's the city used to pay for the extra cost of street width over the standard 27", for the extra sidewalk on thru streets (and extra width). They used to pay for the extra cost for major water mains and sewer mains. They had never heard of impact fees. Now the city pays for NOTHING. They also saddle new homebuyers with special assessments to pay for major arterials like Wakarusa Drive and George Williams Way, which they used to pay most of.

Every time a new "MacMansion" goes up, you should be happy. This homebuyer is paying a huge burden in property tax even though they may have no kids attending school, and probably have a 2" water meter with an impact fee of $11,420.

One could actually make a good case for these people to receive a tax abatement, since they use few public resources (sewer, parks, police, fire, schools, etc.) per capita and pay an inordinately large share of the cost. A $1M home would pay nearly $14,000 per year in property taxes.

November 6, 2007 at 1:02 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Making sales-tax cents


Lawrence charges its impact fee with the water tap, as does Wichita. The fees are based on tap size. Lawrence 1" tap "system development charge" is $4,680. Wichita 1" meter "water plant equity fee" is $1,520 and now charges a new "sewer plant equity fee" of $1,350.

In 2005, Lawrence collected $1M, while the city of Olathe collected $3M. But Olathe had 6 times the amount of growth. I have no figures for Eudora or Desoto. Note that many communities in Kansas charge no impact fees and offer incentives instead.

November 6, 2007 at 12:38 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Making sales-tax cents

Max1: "I also agree with Highberger - we need "new impact fees" "to recoup the cost of new city infrastructure"."

Mr. Highberger, et al, has already raised impact fees to the point where Lawrence builders pay triple the amount that Wichita builders pay and double the amount Olathe charges.

Pace: "When my home was built the city put a "special" assessment on my taxes to pay for the road. That is considered discouraging for new developers, i consider it only fair they pay their share.. No new taxes unless they are married to impact fees."

In 2005 the city collected $1,094,660 in impact fees. Since then the impact fees in Lawrence have been increased by 20%. Note that this money is for improvements to major infrastructure necessitated by growth, i.e., the new sewage treatment facility. ALL the infrastructure within a development is paid for by the developer, often along with assessments for other nearby or future projects.

This brings up the age old question of who should have to pay for major new infrastructure associated with growth. A good analogy is that of a utility company, say Sunflower Cablevision. They want to provide service to a newly developed neighborhood. This means they must install more cable to each lot and purchase and install new equipment, repeaters, etc. This stuff is expensive but easy, but when they reach a certain number of users they must purchase more server space, perhaps enlarge their main trunk capacity with more fiber, etc. Should they fund this by charging only the new customers an impact fee? Of course not, this would be bad for future business.

The city must install a new sewage treatment facility and the new sewage system associated with it to serve current and future growth south of the Wakarusa and lessen the load on the current facilities. This is a huge expenditure that will not yield much income for many years. There will necessarily be a period where we have too much sewage treatment capacity.

The same goes for major new roadways like the 15th street extension. Does it make sense to only charge new homebuyers the cost of this roadway? When sixth street was enlarged, the state paid most of the bill. Shouldn't Lawrence have paid for it all even though it is a state hiway? How is this fair to the people who live in Goodland?

November 6, 2007 at 11:31 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Jets practice flyover for Saturday's game

They were most definitely F-18's. I could explain how I know this is true, but then I would have to kill you.

November 3, 2007 at 1:57 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Spotlight on Mormonism

krsmith says:
"Our society would overall be better off if we could learn to embrace people for who they are and the positive qualities they possess rather than push them away and tear them down because of their religious point-of-view."

I agree. My family has long been criticized for our faith. We believe that the universe was created 2000 years ago by our god who's name we are not allowed to mention. Our race originated on the planet Zorolac which was destroyed in a supernova. We came to earth 1500 years ago traveling on waves of thought. We know all these things to be true, because my great, great, great uncle Leroy was visited by angels who told him the story in a dream.

I am outraged that anyone would even think of judging anyone for their beliefs.

November 3, 2007 at 11:12 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Utah should support school vouchers

How about starting a new category of "semi-private" schools that would be eligible for vouchers that embrace State education curriculum and do not violate the separation of church and state?

November 1, 2007 at 8:21 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Utah should support school vouchers

". . .Utah is among the reddest of states - the most emphatically Republican in six of the last eight presidential elections. . ."

School vouchers have long been a conservative cause. The reason is that many of these schools have a strong religious orientation. Though it seems cost effective, it removes all control over the content and methods of education. The type of education these students would receive would be decided upon by their parents choice in schools. The schools are free to choose to replace evolution with creation, or omit sex education, and perhaps require prayer. This all funded by the State when our nation refuses to fund groups like planned parenthood. Doesn't quite seem right.

November 1, 2007 at 8:19 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Do you think Lawrencians are overly concerned about environmental issues?

Lawrence will take a major part of the blame for the decision to deny the coal plant permit, with Bremby being a former assistant city manager and our commission's formal disapproval. This does tend to make us look a bit hypocritical with our own coal-fired power plant in our backyard.

Lawrence should consider a proposal to restrict Lawrence energy center from expanding its output past their current 550 MW. Or perhaps we should look into measures to reduce its polution and CO2 output. Perhaps the commission should consider an ordinance to encourage the use of CFLs and encourage recycling. If we are going to be the environmental voice of Kansas, maybe its time to practice what we preach.

October 19, 2007 at 10:55 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

KDHE rejects coal plants in Western Kansas


You make an obvious and interesting point. I don't know anything about the law, but how does the recent supreme court decision on CO2 figure into all this?

October 18, 2007 at 7:22 p.m. ( | suggest removal )