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Sheering the Sheep


Maybe it is me but it seems like a lot of future development here about is dependent on government underwriting. One group wants to levy taxes to among other things make capital improvements to their property. When did a business get the right to tax me?? We have another group that wants to not pay property taxes. There appears to be no specific ROI to the average taxpayer in that project although the notion of urban renewal is wrapped therein.

Still another group wants a prime piece of public property in return for a nicer parking garage and as yet unspecified government support. What does the average taxpayer get from this? We are annexing land discontinuous with the city and not part of the 2020 plan with a commitment to provide public services. Who pays for this drill? We have committed ourselves to the “farmland” venture with insufficient funds to clean it up and no clear statement of costs to provide the public infrastructure not covered by the environmental clean up fund. I could go on

Are you all comfortable with this? When did the government assume responsibility for business investments? How do we determine who gets such investments (good friends of the elected few?)? How much do we spend? Could a little be good and a lot more better? Who gets to pay? Lawrence is mostly driven by property taxes paid by a minority (let’s here it renters). Is there no limit to the role of government and more importantly no constraint on what it does or where it goes? Is anybody adding up the full costs of our commitments?

This could get ugly in the long run unless we establish some generally agreed upon ground rules. Our current lawgivers will be basking in the warmth of Cancun when the cumulative bills for all these actions come due. Did we not spend a bunch of money on a mall that resulted in much less than promised?

Guess the students and the local faculty can pay. Maybe the retirees we are seeking will not do their homework and be available to pay the bill. Anybody else will see the open ended sink for public funds that this process can become. I wonder how many will stay around to be shorn.


JackMcKee 7 years, 1 month ago

The future of Douglas County is clear. An entertainment oriented downtown. Little in the way of actual economic development and growth. Much higher sales and property taxes. Explosive growth of rental units. Increased crime. This has been the trend over the last 20 years and there is nothing to indicate this trend will change.

-Farmland: There is no ceiling to what that might cost the taxpayers -$18 million Library bond issue: we're building a parking lot so a local family can market their properties on Vermont.

No decision has been made on the other matters, but why are we experiencing this flood of requests from the public kitty? If Treanor wants a new headquarters, let them build it without public assistance. If they want parking for their employees, let them park the same way every other business does. If the 10th and New Hampshire building wants to utilize the parking garage, charge them FMV for reserved spaces. I don't know what that is, but I know it's more than a couple hundred bucks a year. The 8th and Vermont project must pay FMV for the land they want to use if the city owns it. It cannot be given away. There should be no TIF for that development.

ksriver2010 7 years, 1 month ago

What is the 2020 plan? Because the trend that you mentioned is obvious. Lawrence does not seem to have a clear plan for identity, other than Mass St, the University, and the apartment complexes. Taxing businesses on one side of the street corner makes no sense. I hear that Wakarusa and 6th businesses have +1 cents sales tax, but it seems the same as the sales tax for Wal-Mart on South Iowa. A meddlesome city council that are aggressive against certain businesses (Lowe's/WalMart) and completely passive against others. Like it or not Lawrence is quickly becoming a bedroom community for KC/OP and Topeka jobs. Most, if not all, of those people are conservative-leaning folks. Anything west of Kasold and almost all of the people just outside of the city limits (especially 1000 road south) are mostly conservative. It will create a rift in the city and county government in years to come.

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