PBC Public Building Commission Riley County
Posted: 10 January 2014 06:09 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I have noticed that the Free Press publisher John A. Brake is; to put it mildly; every concerned about the possibility that the Riley County Commission will put in place a Public Building Commission.  The Commission members will most likely be the three County Commissioners.  They may or may not have an advisory board.  If they do have an advisory board it will not make any final determinations, as the power rest with the PBC.

The Free Press seems to make a leap of faith that the city supports the PBC idea because the County could use the PCB to fund the Field House Project.  That conclusion is inferred due to the fact that the proposed Bylaws for the PBC excluded projects of a USD, University and College.  It did not exclude City Projects.  The Free Press also makes the case that the PBC idea is being pushed in order to go around the voters so that the County Commission can build what it wants without voter approval. 

I have followed the CVB discussion and I believe the main reason the County is pushing for the change is to speed up process.  That has some merit in regards to the Court Building.  One of the plans kicked around at Joint Meetings was to provide court security and consolidate the Municipal and County Court into one building.  That consolidation has merit.  The PBC could speed that process.  Because the court building consolidation involves the city court, it seems to make sense to not exclude the PBC from having the authority to approve financing projects that involve city.  I have always assumed that the City was not excluded primarily due to the Court plans and possible collaboration on Parking issues.

I would like to see the Court Security Plan, Court House Consolidation and collaboration on Parking completed.  I get the fact that the PBC could help in those areas.  The question is does the idea or concept have more negative than positive implications?  I find the inference in the Free Press on the use of a projected PBC to finance the Field House concept to be very troubling.  I did not expect the PBC idea to involve the Field House.  I do not believe the three County Commissioners have made a final determination on the PBC.  Is it a positive or negative thing?  Should they approve the PBC or not?

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Posted: 10 January 2014 07:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Gonna ban guns in the courthouse, Wynn?

Damned UnAmurikan and Unconstitutional, dontcha think?

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Posted: 10 January 2014 09:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I am interested in the concept of the PBC.  The concealed carry for guns in the court house is part of the security issue.  The courts either have to have a security system or allow the guns.  One or the other, you can make the case for which one you like the best or present an argument about it being constitutional, un-American or whatever.  The issue was brought to ahead by votes at the State Level.  The State dictated that the choice was either allow concealed carry or have a security plan.  The folks that work at the court have opted for enhanced security. The local governments have determined to put in place a security system for the courts.  One consolidated system is preferred over two separate systems in different buildings.

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Posted: 10 January 2014 09:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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http://1350kman.com/school-board-talks-pbc-policies/

Of course we know local news media ALWAYS reports things exactly as they happen!!  :>)  The above linked blurb on KMAN is what caught my attention.  There is a short “afterthought” paragraph that seems to indicate the Board wants to amend their current policy to allow them funding options with a PBC. 

Sorry, Wynn, but I do not hold with your excusing bypassing the voters simply as a means to “speed the process”.  How can any elected official, with good conscience, wave their hand and tag the taxpayer with millions of dollars in escalated property tax.  Woops!  I forgot.  These elected officials are demonstrating the same brand of ego-centric spending we see in Washington, D.C.  They are much smarter than the voter and feel they have every right to make decisions the voters might reject.  I would hope, should this PBC be formed and implemented, the very first project results in a significant class action litigation against these three County Commissioners.  The mere fact that this undemocratic political thievery has progressed this far should be reason enough to make certain not one of these County Commissioners is re-elected.  Each of the three ran as “conservative”.  If they do choose to run for another term, they should run as representing the “Hypocritical Party”. 

How do we stop this PBC from happening?  Once initiated, can it be rescinded by the next Commission?  How does the word get out that three self-serving politicians can spend tens of millions of dollars on new building projects without the voters approval?  How do those who are already struggling to pay our excessive property taxes understand those taxes will go up even further if these three oafs succeed in getting this done?  Conservatives??  Hogwash!!  Manipulative political extorsionists would be a much better definition.

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Posted: 10 January 2014 10:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Larry: I will not be the person voting on the PBC.  I was attempting to explain why I thought the County Commission was heading down that road.  It will speed the process for building what they think is needed and required.  But what is it they want to build?  The only logic for the PBC appears to be a a desire to bypass public vote to speed the process.  The City is not pushing for the PBC and for sure we do not have any schemes to use it to build a Field House.  The Free Press is clearly pushing to kill the PBC.  I posted this topic to get some discussion on the concept.  I am not advocating that the Riley County Commission pass the PBC.  I am just trying to figure out why they want to go down that road.  One reason not to pass it is because it would cut the voter out of the process and that will I am sure result in higher spending.  A second reason is that a PBC is open ended – and we might end up with new fair grounds, a new court house, new EMS building, New County Office Building, County Parking Garage and yes even the Field House.  So the question is do we trust the three County Commissioners to do the right thing?  At present I can see some logic for the PBC – positive, but tend to see many negative consequences.  At present I lean more against the PBC.  Views on this topic need to be shared with the County Commission before they take a final vote and implement.

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Posted: 10 January 2014 10:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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You have to allow guns in or have a security plan… that bans guns!

You can’t make this stuff up!

The inmates are running the asylum.

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Posted: 11 January 2014 04:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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One of the things I hear more complaints about, in Manhattan, is how much we pay in property tax.  As some of us prepare for retirement, property tax is one thing high on the list of worries.  Even if our homes are paid off, we still have the annual property tax bills to pay.  Young families can’t get away from property tax whether they own or rent.  If property tax goes up… monthly rent has to go up.

City:  We’ve been warned for a couple year that our property taxes would escalate to cover costs incurred by previous commissions.  Today, the City Commission is considering a Library expansion… new Parks & Rec offices… $2 million support for the Weed Museum… and have been approached by the Fieldhouse fanatics in an attempt to wrest a recurring $2 million/year additional operational costs for new playground facilities.

County:  County Commissioners are making improvements to McDowell Creek Road… wanting to fund the Chamber’s Visitors Center located in Geary County and at a location that does not even have running water… build new District Court facilities… build a new Emergency Services facility… fund the Fieldhouse Group, even though one of the larger components of that project is located in Pott County.

School Board:  School Board members were recently told, by State legislators, property taxes may well need to increase 16% if courts suggest we really need to fund educating our kids.  (Brownback has cut education funding significantly and the courts may force reinstatement of what has been cut.)  The School Board wants to build more new schools.  HVAC systems are aging and have failed a existing buildings and there seems to be no money to replace those. 

MATC wants to be called a “community college” so they have taxing authority.  Some other community colleges in the State have levies exceeding 10 mil. 

And, I’m certain I’ve missed some of the want-list items of local taxing entities.

Not one of those with taxing authority are looking past their “wants”.  Each seems to be generating means of funding these projects without going to the voters… the folks who will be most affected by the increases in property tax.  This list of projects, and the impact they will have on our cost of living, don’t even take into consideration changes at the State and Federal levels.  The elected bodies will spend millions upon millions to attract tourism… bring visitors to Manhattan.  Then, in the same breath, they will push for projects and policies which will drive those who live here out of the community… because we can no longer afford it.  And, this makes sense??????!!!!!?????

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Posted: 12 January 2014 01:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Randall:  It is more than just a selective banning of guns.  The Security plan prevents knives, brass knuckles, bayonets all manner of items that can be used to create Mayhew.  Sort of like the Airport and what you can take onto planes.  So you are correct, guns would be banned in the Court House, just like they are on planes.  The alternative is to allow everyone to carry in the Court House.  The alternative is to set up a system that mirrors Judge Roy Bean.  In reality the old system of putting a sticker on the front door – banned guns in many more places The change forced by the State, opened up any public building to conceal and carry, unless you implemented a security plan.  So the current system is less restrictive than the old.

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Posted: 12 January 2014 01:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Larry:
I agree that we need to get our ducks in line on taxes.  Figure out what we can afford and what we cannot afford.

City:  The City Commission is not considering a Library Expansion.  That is a done deal, it was voted in 3-2.  The dynamics of that are very simple.  The Library Board pushed for the expansion and they can tax you up to 6 mils due to the charter ordinance.  The Commission could have changed that charter, but the vote failed as it would take a super majority of four.  The Commission might still have stopped the Library expansion on a simple majority vote, but Commissioner Reddi, McCulloh and Jankovich voted for the expansion, with two of them stating that it was the desire of the voters to have their taxes raises.  They believe that the last election was a mandate on the library and the fact that the voters wanted to see the expansion.  The logic was that it was for the Children.  We needed more space for the Children’s reading program.  I cannot fault that mission.  I just believed that we could have expanded the space by using the new Zoo facility – the one with the day care.  The mission could have been achieved without the 2 million dollar price tag.  I do not think that the presented Field House plan will be implemented.  The Commission can take the Weed Museum property tax amount off of the table, by just making it a CVB item.  Sent them an email.
 
County:  The idea of a consolidated court building may have merit.  But only if the old Court Building is renovated and used as for administrative space.  The idea of a County Funded welcome center up on I-70 just should not be on the priority list.  I believe the County Staff would like a new court building, new parking facilities, new EMS building and new administrative buildings.  At least one of the County Commissioners would also move the fairground from CICO park out to the County Shops.  These will hall have a major price tag.  The PBC will allow all this to happen without voter approval.  I think the list of projects is just too long and too expensive.  Alternatives are not being considered.  One example is the EMS building – is it possible to house some of the ambulances in the MFD as an alternative?  The answer is yes, but a new building with the higher taxes is preferred over an alternative approach where the facilities have already been paid for by the city.

USD:  The school funding issue is currently in the Kansas Supreme Courts hands.  Once they rule on adequate funding the legislature will need to react.  My take is that funding is a legislative issue and not a court issue.  The legislature needs to put this one to rest, permanently.  The best bet to achieve that may just be changing the wording of the State Constitution.  A lot of money is being provided to education.  Rather than asking the courts to provide more, the entire process of expenditures and what is funded needs to be reexamined.  Efforts seem to be directed at extracting more money from the taxpayer instead of on efficiency, quality and get the best bang for the buck.

MATC:  This issue really involves the Higher Education System in Kansas.  That system is not efficient.  We have too many Community Colleges with maybe too many extension centers.  All of them compete with each other and the Universities for money.  In our local area we have MATC, three Community College extension centers, KSU and MCC.  On top of that we have the Distance Learning Internet free for all – more colleges and facilities than the market needs.  These venues of higher education do not work together, they are all in opposition/competition for the money and the students.  MATC is a great facility and organization.  But the idea that they should become a Community College with taxing authority in Riley County should be a nonstarter.  You already have a bunch of layers of local government that are in your personal pocket book – City, County, the MPO, the Library Board, RCPD and waiting in the wings MATC and the Flint Hills Transportation Authority.  The service provided by MATC is a valid one and should be preserved, but not by making it a new Community College.  Consolidation with an existing University or College is a course of action that should be thoroughly investigated.

Tourism:  A well stated point.  We set up systems to bring in business and tourists with the goal that this will benefit the citizens.  The metrics that measure the success are flawed.  If the Eco Devo and CVB efforts are working then the metric should be lower property taxes.  That does not seem to be the case.  The one example that is easy to identify is the Discovery Center Exhibits.  The DC was designed to bring in folks to Manhattan, the increased sales tax revenue was supposed to benefit the Citizens. But what you have is a tax increase on the Property Owners to support the exhibits.   

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