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Give ‘em tax dollars… They spend ‘em out of town.
Posted: 02 October 2013 05:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Michael, I appreciate Wynn not using tax dollars when he attended the Chamber’s meeting.  You suggest “attacking the culprits”.  The Chamber is NOT the culprit in this matter.  Even though I vigorously disagree with a firm receiving substantial tax dollars from Manhattan taxpayers taking thousands of dollars out of town, they are a private entity and can do as they wish.  To me, the “culprits” are the elected officials who refuse to shut down the travel of those answering to them to the Chamber event.  It’s up to the vairous commissions and boards to tell City Administrators, County Administrators, School Administrators, etc. that no travel money can or will be spent attending the Chamber event.  They won’t.

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Posted: 13 December 2013 04:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Travel Expense Update:

The 2014 Leaders Retreat is coming up in January.  Here is an update on the travel expense for that event as provided by the city staff:
Upcoming Chamber Leaders Retreat: 
•    Registration is $175.00 per person;
•    Room Rate is $95.00 per night plus taxes

We anticipate 4 Commissioners, and probably 7 staffers (Total Estimate: $1,925 for registration; $1,045 for hotel = $2,970)  This estimate does not include mileage. 

Other recent Travel cost for the City:

One of the City Staff and Commissioner Reddi flew to Seattle to attend the National League of Cities Conference (November) cost of $3563.48. 

Two Commissioners (Mayor Matta and Rich Jankovich) and the City Manager flew to Washington DC for the AUSA conference - $4,902.

These three events total around $10,390 – tax dollars.  The AUSA and the NLC trip are far more expensive than the Leaders retreat.  The question is does the expenditure of funds provide any return to the city?  The city staff does believe that by participating in the networking activities, the city gets a return.  That return however is hard to quantify.

I have not attended the NLC or the AUSA conference.  As stated earlier I did attend the last Leaders Retreat at my own expense.  I will not attend this year, simply because I did not feel that any tangible gain from the standpoint of city business was/is obtained.  They are all great social events.  Many folks would say that the travel budget is nothing to be concerned about – after all these three trips are only 10K or so.  But, when you add up all the travel it equals over 250K.  Some of the travel is valuable and needed for training etc.  I am not advocating elimination of all travel, some should be eliminated and some reduced.  I do believe that all travel should result in a quantifiable return to the city and should be recorded/documented.  We will start a new budget discussion next year.  That discussion will quibble over all kinds of dollar amounts.  Even 10K is not a small number when it comes to the bottom line -250K is significant.   

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Posted: 13 December 2013 05:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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EVERYTHING we hear EVERY TIME the Chamber appears in front of the City Commission demanding money is how it will attract money to Manhattan.  The Chamber wants the Manhattan taxpayers to spend $54 million for playground enhancements to bring more people and money to Manhattan.  The Chamber wants the Weed Museum supported by the Manhattan taxpayers to draw people and money to Manhattan.  The Chamber wants the Manhattan taxpayers to fund a visitors center in Geary County to bring people and money to Manhattan.  What a bunch of hypocritical, disingenuous hogwash!!!!  The Chamber takes tens of thousands of dollars to Overland Park EVERY January as a paid weekend getaway at the expense of Manhattan taxpayers.  It still baffles me why elected officials, elected by constituents to be good stewards of tax dollars, will think it necessary to spend all this money just to keep their noses firmly emplanted in the Chamber’s buttocks.

Why does the City Commission allow City staff to spend all that money for a social event?  Are the puppet strings operating the commissioners that firmly attached to 5th & Poyntz??  Evidently so!!!

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Posted: 13 December 2013 08:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Well, since this is the only active thread on this forum, why not post?
I don’t have a big problem with these retreats because they don’t cost much in the big picture. KSU does these all the time, sending people off to “conferences” (cocktail parties). I went to many myself. As a member of the committee that selected the national debate topic, I went to Colorado Springs for a week, Louisville Kentucky and some other places…all on the university ticket. I had a good time. Of course, I actually worked eight hours a day, but the main thing was restaurants and cocktail parties.
While I understand the concern, the city might be better off focusing on GIANT expenditures like this sneaky attempt to circumvent a public vote and create some mythical money-producing giant sports venue.
Essentially, I agree with Wynn. There is no evidence that this will bring the sports world to Manhattan. It is a carefully crafted lie to ensure that certain privileged children are given opportunities not available to others. It is not even subtle. It is offensive. If these people want a country club sports venue the let them build it…they have the money, they don’t need ours.

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Posted: 14 December 2013 09:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Michael, I do hope common sense will play into the picture re the playground enhancements.  Yes, this is an attempt to have the entire community provide enhancements for the children of the wealthy.  Here’s an interesting fact.  Shawnee County and the City of Topeka merged their Parks & Rec Department.  The Shawnee County Parks Department has an annual budget of ~$15 million.  They operate a zoo, 3 golf courses, rec programs, etc. within that budget.  The elected body is asking them to cut 10% from their budget.  Shawnee County has a population of ~180,000.  The City of Manhattan has a population of less than 1/3 of Shawnee County’s.  Yet, Manhattan P&R has an annual budget of ~$7 million… almost half what Shawnee County has.  The privilieged want that number to escalate to ~$9 million/year to provide more venues for entertaining their kids.

We are hearing, this week, where a kid got off after killing 4 people with an “affluenza” defense.  He was raised in such an affluent family that he did not know the difference between right and wrong.  Just how much is the community expected to provide for the affluent of the Manhattan area??  I do believe the Fieldhouse project suffers from their own case of “affluenza”!!!!!

Oh, as far as the Chamber retreat… I understand the attending educational retreats.  Where the issue… and hypocrisy… comes in here is that this retreat is NOT educational or career enhancing.  It is simply a means by which the Chamber can lobby the politicians at the expense of the taxpayer.  And… when the taxpayer is handing millions of dollars each year to the Chamber to bring dollars to Manhattan, why are they taking thousands to Overland Park for this retreat??  Apples and oranges to educational retreats.

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Posted: 14 December 2013 10:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Larry,
You must realize by now, that the city of Manhattan envies Overland Park and wants to be just like that. The McMansions are beginning to look just like Overland Park. What they fail to realize is that Overland Park is not a real city. It is a suburban bedroom community for a very large city, as is most of Johnson County. Lovely to look at in a cookie-cutter sort of way, although why you would want to build a million dollar house a few feet away from another that looks just like it, has always escaped my understanding. They do have a lot of cute little malls and some neat restaurants and sports bars. I have spent a lot of time there over the years. They are nice clean, rich people, and pleasant to be around…they don’t smell bad or anything like that…and the sports bars are very classy. I guess the city thinks that going there will make some of that rub off, and they can convert Manhattan into Overland Park West…..too bad, not enough $$$$$$$$$$ in Manhattan to do that.

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