What am I missing????
Posted: 09 January 2014 03:59 PM   [ Ignore ]
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We spend the City into oblivion to build a Flint Hills Discovery Center.  We’re told this busses and autos will be lined up for miles with people wanting to see the marvels of the Flint Hills.  It’s going to be a shrine to our Kansas heritage.  Watching grass grow and understanding why it does so will more than pay the cost of operation of this facility.  Then…

We are told revenue coming in to the Discovery Center is not enough to cover costs.  The City Commission levies an additional 1% transiet guest tax to cover operational costs.  The fiscally responsible members of the City Commission suggest the property tax payers shouldn’t be on the hook for Discovery Center operational costs.  Then…

We are told not to worry about the original requirement that a majority of Discovery Center Board members be citizens of Manhattan… those who will have to foot the bill if this thing fails.  Instead, Board members come from across the State… none having “skin in the game”.  Then…

We are told the City taxpayers need to shoulder a $2 million hit for a new exhibit at the Discovery Center.  Responsible Commissioners suggest the cost of this exhibit needs to come from transiet guest tax, not from the pockets of the citizens.  That idea is stymied by political cronieism and the cost of the exhibit is to come out of the General Fund… property tax money.  Then…

We find this necessary, $2 million exhibit is about football???  It has a place where kids can actually… get this Wowzer… toss a football.  It lets us understand the math and science behind the trajectory of a football as it floats through the air.  Oh, my!!!  How did our community ever survive without this important message of how to pass and kick a football.  Then…

Oh, never mind.  It’s only $2 million…...

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Posted: 10 January 2014 08:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Right.  “Conservative” means spending our tax dollars on the “right” people.

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Posted: 10 January 2014 02:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Randall, I do believe you are correct.  Seems the standard answer, anymore, is “We tried, but the vote was 3:2.”  Getting to be a tired excuse. We saw that with the 3rd/4th Street, Dial love affair, situation.  As long as you get three votes… no matter how you get them… it’s a done deal.  I would like to see a new resolution that requires a super majority… 4 votes… whenever the issue involves spending more than, say, $25,000, or some similar sum.  3:2 got us into the LGBT spittin’ contest.  3:2 got us into the rental inspection fiasco.  3:2 handed the Chamber/CVB another $1 million to toss around how they please. 
Four of the five City Commissioners will kiss the patooey of the Chamber and take Manhattan dollars to Kansas City for a long weekend… soon.  All three of the County Commissioners will allow themselves to be wined, dined, and lobbyied by the Chamber at a Kansas City hotel.  It’s politics.  The same elected officials who allow themselves to be pawns of the “shadow government” will sit around coffee cups and condemn Congressional elected officials for doing the exact same thing they do.  It’s hypocrisy with a capital “H” on the part of our Mayor and all three County Commissioners when they profess conservatism and then attend the Chamber event.  They don’t care.  It is well known, those requiring the assistance of social service programs don’t host after-hours social events and weekend getaways in metro areas over 100 miles away.  It’s much more fun to have your ego stroked by the privileged than to worry about funding for those in need.  Wouldn’t it be awesome if each of those elected officials going to KC would, instead, donate the amount they will spend out of theri own pocket to one of the local charities… and stay home.  Our less fortunate would benefit and the taxpayer wouldn’t be out the costs of travel and lodging.  Again, the only local elected official I know of that’s not going is Wynn.  I most certainly applaud him for making that statement.  It will cost him dearly in the next election cycle.  The shadow government will see to that.  Ya don’t diss ‘em!  They’re God!!

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Posted: 10 January 2014 02:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I don’t really care about the retreat, except for the fact that the Chamber, in effect, disses our own facilities and entertainments.  Band’s travel, The Warham (for example) has great food.  They could make it a celebration of Manhattan instead of an escape from, but, who cares?

I care much more about that million/year that could be spent on potholes and resurfacing, upgrades for the citizens who pony up, instead of picking winners (of largess) and tilting the playing field for them.

This bothers me more than anything else the Chamber does. 

I disagree that it’s “just the way things are”.  It shouldn’t be, and that’s what the Commission is supposed to work on… what should and shouldn’t happen with our tax dollars.

Could we put THAT to a vote, Commissioners?  Could we decide if that is where we want our money to go?  You put other stuff up for a vote.  How about that one?

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Posted: 10 January 2014 03:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Oh, I think it would be awesome to put the $1 million/year donation to the Chamber up for a public vote.  Those paying the ever escalating property taxes would chop the head off that golden egg laying hen in a heartbeat.  Won’t happen.  Chamber won’t allow their puppets to even consider something like that.

Certainly, good streets and up-to-date infrastructure is a valuable economic development tool.  The $1 million/year could go a long ways towards building another arterial to unload some of the traffic issues on FRB.  Personally, I believe our City Street Department does a commendable job keeping our streets in as good condition as their budget allows.  They could do even more… if they had more.  The recent bond election allowed the commission some liberties with how they view infrastructure as eco-devo.  Take half… just half of the Chamber’s $1 million/year and move it to the Street CIP project budget.  That would allow attraction of more to settle here and be an ongoing benefit to we who live here.  What it wouldn’t do is fund monthly videos produced by some fancy marketing firm in Topeka.  What it wouldn’t do is fund paying for 50 year old women to shoot videos of themselves jumping on hotel beds.  What it wouldn’t do is fund paying for Chamber/CVB employees to jet around the Country handing out brochures.  And… what it shouldn’t do is fund anything to do with a $2 million exhibit at the Weed Museum that lets kids toss footballs back and forth to each other. 

Soon, I still firmly believe, this Commission will cave and we will see an additional $54 million added to the City debt so construction can begin on playgrounds for the privileged.  “Figures lie and liars figure!”  Enough bogus numbers will be tossed out until those living in half-million dollar homes in Wyndam Heights and those living in Timber Creek, out by Tuttle, and in Wamego can socially and politically coerce a 3:2 vote.  When that happens, I would imagine a ton of the money handed to the Chamber will be spent on a marketing campaign to buy votes.  A lot of votes can be swayed by fancy ads and tv commercials with $1 million/year.

It’s just disheartening to see how the social coddling of elected officials can influence where tax dollars are spent.  If City and County Commissioners are being asked to hand dollars to a private entitiy, those same elected officials should not be attending board meetings, after-hours events, and taking advantage of Kansas City getaways.  It reeks of the appearance of impropriety.  If elected officials are going to take from the general public and hand to a private group, does nobody see the hypocrisy in allowing themselves to be publicly pandered to by that group?  Evidently, those blinded by the excesses of their own egos cannot!!!

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Posted: 10 January 2014 05:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Some comments on the Discovery Center funding and roads.

The bed tax -the bed tax can be as high as 7%.  At present is 6%.  The City Commission can raise it as high as 7, but that has not taken place yet.  Maybe we should so that we have 2% for the DC.  Of the 6% being collected 1% has been allocated to the Discovery Center.  The issue I have with Discovery Center funding is the fact that the quarterly exhibit is currently not funded through the CVB.  I will continue to push the commission in the direction of eliminating any property tax support for the Center.  Clearly CVB funds or Eco Devo dollars should be allocated before we use any tax dollars for the center.  I fully agree that the folks at the Chamber and the CVB brought us the Discovery Center and claimed it was going to bring in all of those dollars, so any funding dedicated to the Chamber or the CVB should first be used to cover the cost of the Discovery Center. 

We do need to provide more resources to Public works to maintain the roads.  The first step is to manage the property tax sales tax dollars so that we get the best value.  Competing interests for the funds is part of the problem.  The priority list needs to have the roads at the top of the list.  A priority list for tax money should be RCPD, MFD, Roads – then everything else.  Second the Commission has the ability to take CVB funds, Eco Devo Funds/Infrastructure (the ½ cent sales tax) and the City University Fund and use some or all of those dollars for roads.  The issue however is that the majority of the commission wants to do business as usual and do the following with those funds – 1.  Give the CVB money to the Chamber and not withhold any amount for the DC shortfall or roads.  2.  Allow KSU to use the City University Fund to build new WC facilities in McCain Auditorium and 3. Use the Eco Devo Dollars to attract more business with incentives – including giving an over generous deal to Allegiance Airlines.  We do not have a shortage of funds to fix the roads.  We have an inability to properly allocate the available funds.  We can in fact legally use some or all of the CVB, ECO DEVO and City University Fund for roads projects.

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