The Commission/Chamber Work Session
Posted: 26 June 2013 06:29 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Obvious, after last night’s City Commission Work Session…
1.  The Chamber has three votes, guaranteed, on this Commission.  Their wishes… any wishes… will be funded.
2.  We will hand the Chamber/CVB another check for well over $1 million in tax dollars, in the 2014 budget, with no oversight or checks and balances.
3.  The Chamber handed $25,000 in tax dollars to a private entity.  That $25,000 is to fund a feasibility study for a recreational complex.  The study is being accomplished by a consultant hired by the private entity who wants the project to move forward.  If tax dollars were involved, why didn’t the Chamber require the study be done by an independent consultant?  If local tax dollars are funding 25% of the study, shouldn’t our elected officials have input into who is performing the study?
4.  It appears the Chamber was open and transparent in their decision to assist in funding the Fieldhouse feasibility study.  The current City/Chamber contract is open-ended and allows substantial liberty as to how over $1 million in tax revenue is spent.  The Chamber simply followed protocol allowed them under this open-ended contract.  Commissioners, in the minority, suggested there should be some oversight by elected officials.  Regardless, the outcome would have been the same, since three commissioners will rubber stamp any Chamber decision.  It just might have been “cleaner”, had the issue been brought before the Commission.

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Posted: 26 June 2013 11:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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If the Chamber wanted a feasibility study done in connection with the Fieldhouse Project—a private project—why not fund it with some of their Advantage Manhattan money?  I seem to recall that they raised more than $2 million in private funding themselves.

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Posted: 26 June 2013 12:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Advantage Manhattan… “Their” money for which the membership holds them accountable.
CVB Money… “Our” money, given to them to use as they deem fitting and proper with no accountability

It would have been much “cleaner” to use AM money for the feasibility study.  That money is supposed to be earmarked to “promote Manhattan”.  The CVB money owns a much broader interpretation of how it can be used.  “Tourism” seems to be the magic word.  And, the sermonizing last night was that the Fieldhouse is being touted as bringing tourism to Manhattan… filling motel rooms… filling restaurants… selling gasoline… selling ice and beer…  and supporting the Municipal Court system through traffic tickets for illegal use of cell phones.  Sounds like money well spent to me!!!  :>)

We were being prepped last night for the inevitable.  We were told how outdated the local recreations facilities are.  No place to host traveling basketball teams.  No place to host treaveling soccer teams.  We “cannot compete with Wichita, Topeka, and Kansas City.”  Isn’t that what we heard re the pools?  The Marlins had to travel to compete in swim meets.  Finally, the City Park pool was condemned and we were told, by the commission, either the sales tax pays for it or your property taxes will increase to pay for pools.  The feasibility study, commissioned by the committee who wants the project to move forward, will come back that this will be HUGE for the Manhattan economy.  But, the only way it will work will be if it is owned by and bonded by City debt.  The Commission will force it through the system, seeing a majority (3) are drooling to move the project forward.  (Brass plaques with their names on them, inside the entryway, can be quite ego boosting.)  If it does go, the only way it should be funded is with fees and bed tax money.  We want this so parents and kids fill hotel rooms?  Let them pay for the facility with escalated room fees.

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