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Even better than a quarter million dollar walk bridge….
Posted: 18 February 2013 02:37 PM   [ Ignore ]
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What is it with this commission?  I thought they were supposed to be conservative.  Seems politics still trumps common sense….

During tomorrow night’s Commission Meeting, the Commission will vacate a number of drainage easements along in the area of Wildcat Creek… all for the same developer who was handed the fancy walk bridge.  I thought no more drainage easements were going to be vacated and filled, due to the downstream flooding issues.  But, if it’s for a favorite developer, having nice from lawns for his home buyers is much more important than the “lowly apartment dwellers” downstream.

Then, remember the conservative commission that can’t come up with enough money to fund social services?  Looks like they are going to spend upwards of $100,000 to fund a daycare facility at Sunset Zoo.  I wonder how m any of the privately owned and operated day cares in town received $100,000 for building and playground equipment.  Why the heck is the City going into the day care business??  Conservatives preach “private enterprise”.  Keep government out of the businesses that can be operated by private industry.  Guess it all depends who you are.  Social service programs are “too liberal”.  They are for the riff-raff, anyway… those who don’t bote Republican.  OTOH, an upscale day care facility… priced at the upper end of the Manhattan day care spectrum… will be utilized by the upper tier citizen who will support our “conservative” candidates.  Sheesh!!!

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Posted: 18 February 2013 05:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Larry:  You make many assumptions on how the commission will vote.  I cannot predict how Commissioners will vote tomorrow.  I believe we will only have four of the five Commissioners present – John Matta will be absent.  The drainage easement items are on the consent agenda.  They include a public hearing on the matter.  My personal view is that based on the preliminary work done by the Wildcat Watershed group, the city should but in place all and every measure needed to prevent future flooding.  This presents an issue, in that it restricts land use.  That is the purpose of the Public Hearing.  I am for flood control. 

As to the Day Care center; that idea was part of the initial plans for the zoo education building this was set in motion many years ago.  I do not wish the city to get into the day care business.  The plans call for this to be revenue neutral; it is supposed to pay for itself.  From what I understand the day care center will only serve 15 children.  I think we could better use the space as an extension of the library children/s reading program.  That might cause us to scale back or abandon plans to enlarge the library.  I do not support city run day care.  We already give SSAB money for day care.

Here are some specifics on the easements (City staff recommends approval of all four):

ITEM IV-F: PUBLIC HEARING/1ST READING: Vacate Portion of Drainage
Easement – Heritage Square
The City is in receipt of a request to vacate a portion of a drainage easement on two lots in Heritage Square South P.U.D. The current drainage easements are not conveying the water originally determined, rather the drainage is contained within a reinforced concrete pipe that will convey the runoff from this area. The property owner desires to build a parking lot in this easement, and currently it is not allowed with the drainage easement in place.

ITEM IV-G: PUBLIC HEARING/1ST READING: Vacate Portion of Drainage
Easement – Prairie Lakes, Unit 3
The City is in receipt of a request to vacate a portion of the drainage easement on Lot 150 within Prairie Lakes, Unit 3. City Administration has reviewed the request and concurs with the vacation, and acknowledged that the fence structure would not restrict any conveyance in the drainage easement.

ITEM IV-H: PUBLIC HEARING/1ST READING: Vacate Portion of Drainage
Easement – Grand Bluffs at Mill Pointe, Unit 1, Lots 1 & 2
The City is in receipt of a request to vacate a portion of a drainage easement in Grande Bluffs at Mill Pointe, Unit One. Currently the area within the drainage easement is not conveying surface drainage, and the owner would like it removed.

ITEM IV-I: PUBLIC HEARING/1ST READING: Vacate Portion of Drainage
Easement – Stone Pointe Addition, Unit 2, Lot 12
The City is in receipt of a request to vacate a portion of a drainage easement on Lot 128 within Stone Pointe Addition, Unit Two. The current restriction would prohibit any development, and City staff recognizes that the portion of the easement in question does not convey surface drainage and the drainage easement is not required.

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Posted: 18 February 2013 06:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Thanks, Wynn. 

Drainage easements:  The history of Wildcat Creek flooding is there.  We’ve seen apartments ruined and tenants losing everything they own.  We’ve seen mobile homes washed off support structures.  People who live along the creek have been flooded way too often.  I understand the concern about restriction of land use.  But, we’ve overbuilt along the waterway and either we put a moratorium on it or more residents will suffer the catastrophic effects of flooding.  I guess I just cannot see any Commissoin telling Schultz “NO!”.  If Rich has any conflict and recuses himself, that would only leave Jim, Loren, and yourself.  Neither of the other two have the gumption to go up against Schultz.  Hopefully, I am surprised.  However, I believe this will happen quickly and in full support of vacating the drainage easements.

Sounds like we have similar concerns re the City entering the child care business.  There is no justification for any municipality to compete on the open market with local businesses.  The City has millions of tax dollars at their disposal to assure success of their own enterprise.  That fact significantly stacks the deck against the area’s small businesses.  In this case, it simply looks like the City will be spending upwards of $100,000 to construct an elite day care facility for 15 kids of politically and/or socially connected families.  This entire idea smells worse than the manure collected each day by zoo personnel.  Library?  Excellent idea!!  Community functions or activities available to any and all citizens… fantastic!  Spending large sums of money to cater to 15 privileged kids… Stinks!!

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Posted: 19 February 2013 03:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I don’t understand the purpose of the daycare. Is it for families who are dropping off children for scheduled activities, who might need a place for the kids to stay until they can pick them up? Or will it be a set of 15 children who enroll for a whole “semester” or year? I don’t get it.

Your response on the easements doesn’t make sense. Are you saying you don’t like the restricted land use, even if it’s restricted specifically to control flooding? Please clarify.

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Posted: 19 February 2013 05:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Stacia, the memo attached to the City Commission Agenda suggests the day care will be designed to accomodate 15 full time youngsters, 12 months/year.  They even show a scenario where it will not work well if they just accept part time youngsters.  This totally reeks of an effort to use over $100,000 of tax dollars to build a unique and upscale facilty where 15 of the privileged children of the community can be dropped off while Mommy and Daddy head to their high income positions at local banks, Chamber, University, etc.  Then, as the parents sip tea with the social elite at bridge club or at Colbert’s, they can brag that their kid is one of the few accepted to the new Zoo Day Care.

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Posted: 19 February 2013 09:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Stacia:  The Day care is for 15-18 children full time.  It would be city operated day care.  Some have referred to it as the “Rich Mans” day care.  The reason is that in order to break even, the city is going to be forced to charge a pretty hefty rate.  If we figure three staff members and other cost at say 150K a year.  It will cost about 8.3 K per child to attend.  It is going to be a great education program.  But clearly it will not benefit the majority of the city.  It will as Larry states compete with private industry.  I believe it is all around a bad idea.  The library however, might consider the space for extension of the reading program.  Maybe Big Brothers/Sisters can use the space.  Other options need to be explored.  We support KSU day care through SSAB.  We would be better off to put these funds in that direction, instead of a city operated day care.

I am for flood control and for property rights.  That is the dilemma with the easements.  Restrictions are required to prevent flooding.  Those restrictions go against individual property rights.  So this is a case of priorities.  I like property rights and I want to control flooding.  Flood control trumps property rights.  It is time for the City to take a stand and just stop anymore building, easement changes , zoning changes etc that go against the best practices for flood control.

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Posted: 19 February 2013 11:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Wynn,
I don’t get it.  Why can’t the rich folks just spring for a nanny?

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Posted: 19 February 2013 05:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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You guys have to be kidding me. RICH FOLKS???

Wynn- Sounds like a reasonable deal to me. I currently pay $6500 for my daycare- roughly $125 a week based on 52 weeks. My wife teaches so we really only pay for 40 weeks? Assuming the costs is really 9,000 per kid that comes down to around $173 a week.

Very reasonable for the education that will come out of it. I am also assuming that this is being done with the intent to bring revenue to the ZOO- GOOD.

Any of you who do not have kids do not know how hard and nearly impossible it is to find a reputable sitter. I have a buddy in Kc that spends around $225 a week.

I like the idea.

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Posted: 19 February 2013 05:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Joah, make no sense to spend well upwards of $100,000 of tax money to babysit 15 kids.  It also makes no sense for the City, supported by tax dollars, to go into competition with private daycare facilities.  Does Manhattan need more daycare?  Possibly.  Should taxpayers be in the day care business and should tax dollars go to provide day care for an elite few?  No way!

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Posted: 19 February 2013 06:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Hire a nanny. If you can afford to make babies, you should be able to afford a nanny.  I recommend Mary Poppins, but she does demand every Tuesday off.

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Posted: 19 February 2013 08:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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The City is in the Day Care business now, it passed 3-1.  We now will have increased city staff, medical costs etc.  The good news is that the City Staff, especially the Park & Recreation Director stated that he would make sure it was run as revenue neutral or it would close.  Also the FOSZ board members supported the projected and indicated that they might take over any shortfalls.  We did not hear from the LWC – the hourly salaries for the assistant and the aids will not meet those guidelines.  It will be a good education program, that education program could have taken place without a full day care component.  The playground equipment issue also passed, which is OK as it was grant funded, no cost to the city.  I still fear it might spin out of control and I also am not convinced the cost estimates are correct.  Josh good analysis of the cost.  My daughter spent about $1200 a month on day care in Omaha a few years ago.  The city also kicked in $38,000 to KSU day care last year as part of SSAB. 

Larry - the easements passed 4-0.  I looked at them in detail today in regards to property rights and flooding.  Flooding would have trumped property rights.  But in each of these cases no flooding was involved.. That was confirmed by the volumes of data the city staff and engineers provided.  None of these properties are in the flood zone area and the vacated easements were not aligned with actual drainage requirements.  The run off from those properties is properly channeled and will not impact on anyone.

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Posted: 19 February 2013 09:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Josh, I think people are pretty bitter about daycare in town because of the lack of it for the number of kids, as well as abuses of the system. I used to work at Head Start and one of the students was given a spot ahead of needy children because her grandfather was well placed in the school district. People just kind of expect that sort of abuse.

The idea of a daycare at the zoo isn’t necessarily a bad one, but only 15 kids seems odd, as does the City getting into the daycare business. Especially since the commission is ostensibly such a proponent of small government.

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Posted: 20 February 2013 05:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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It would be nice to see the names of parents of those accepted to the City funded day care published.  Then we could see just how selective the process is as to who benefits from the tax dollars used to fund the facility.  I would almost bet you would see more than one name of some pretty well connected people in the Manhattan social/political arena.  And we who work hard and pay our taxes continue to support programs enjoyed by the elite.  Nice…..

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Posted: 20 February 2013 07:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Based on the votes the past year, I do not see the current commission as being for small government.  The 2013 budget resulted in a tax increase, the RCPD budget was increased, we have day care, we will have an expanded library project and more debt by the end of next month.

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Posted: 20 February 2013 08:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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The biggest issue I have with it is there is only 15 kids. One and a half people can watch 15 kids. I would hope the projections show that the $100,000 investment gets shows a return sooner then later. Once it shows a profit why not grow the program? I still dont see why there cant be 30 plus kids.

In hindsight the idea is great but couldnt the money have gone to UFM, B&G or CASA for the same purpose and reach more kids?

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Posted: 20 February 2013 08:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Josh, it’s not about the number of kids benefiting from the program.  It’s about whose kids will reap the benefits.  The programs you mention may be a means to reach more kids… more bang for the buck.  But, those programs are social service programs… “liberal entitlement programs”... and we don’t have dollars to fund those.  If the program is for 15 hand-selcted kids from families with social/political ties… the $100,000 is money well spent.

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