Archive for Tuesday, November 21, 2000

Shame on you Mr. Whaley

November 21, 2000

Citizens of Baldwin. I would like to take this time to wish all of you a

Happy Thanksgiving. The Holiday season is upon us and some citizens have received an early present in the mail. This present would be our new tax statements. Not exactly what I had in mind for the holidays but taxes are a part of life. How that tax money is put to work is another matter entirely.

Folks we pay a LOT higher taxes than anyone else in Douglas County. But are we getting our money's worth for it? Unfortunately our city is in the midst of rebuilding an infrastructure that has been NEGLECTED for years. This neglect, which reaches criminal proportions in my mind, led to the overhaul program that is currently taking place. That's where a lot of our tax money is

going, not for new services being installed by those "evil greedy developers" but to rebuild services to the old parts of town.

Now, Mr. Whaley, since you have decided to come off the bench and join the fray, I have several comments for you. First, I do not infer that the city council is excited by "fuzzy logic." I am saying it straight out, in plain English, this is a bad decision by the city council. Second, blame for this project is laid at the feet of the city administrator who was all but happy to grab credit for the site selection when it was first announced. You are correct, Mr. Whaley, it took a council to make this decision to option the ground, now you should listen to the public sentiment and PROCEED NO FURTHER!!

Third, developers did not back the city of Baldwin into a corner with development. The city councils over the past 30 years due to inactivity, lack of willingness to change, and bad decision-making, created this situation. It was not the developer who seeks profit, but the elected official with his head in the sand, that created this mess. Finally, Mr. Whaley you state that development does not pay its own way. Lee Whaley you are dead wrong.

Development, especially in Baldwin where the developer has to pay for all services, it more than pays for itself. I am buying everything for my project on U.S. Highway 56 right down to the transformer, which I then give back to the city. And you have the nerve to say we developers are not paying our share and burdening this city? Shame on you Mr. Whaley. If anything we are increasing the tax base, bringing more businesses and homeowners to town in

order to share the tax burden. This project southwest of town will do nothing but hang like a millstone around the taxpayers neck. When you state in your letter, Mr. Whaley, that this project "may not be the best" but we must look at it. Why are we as a city wasting our time with projects that are inherently flawed? Don't the citizens of Baldwin deserve the "best" we can give them? I think so. By the way, Mr. Whaley, I am not about to trust blindly the elected

leadership of this city. So if you are hoping that I will go away over this project I suggest you get used to my presence. This is my hometown as it is yours and I am in this one for the long haul.

Now let's direct our attention to Mr. Paine's question and answer

editorial in last week's paper. Long on words and light on information would be the summary. Let's look at the Top 10 most commonly asked questions about this project that Mr. Paine seems to avoid answering.

1. How, pray tell, does the city plan to fund this park, and its massive infrastructure?

2. Why are we locating these parks out of the growth path of Baldwin and in the middle of nowhere?

3. Can our current infrastructure handle the impact of this park?

4. Who are these businesses that are contacting the city mayor and want spots in the business park?

5. How much higher will our taxes climb when we build this project, Mr. Paine?

6. How can you guarantee that children and heavy vehicle traffic will not interfere with each other at the park?

7. Where are the rough sketches of the development, Mr. Paine?

8. Who will clean up and cap the oil wells on the proposed site Mr. Paine?

9. Will the county commission pay for improving Lawrence Street so vehicle traffic can get to the park, Mr. Paine?

10. And this is my final question for now, Mr. Paine. Why are we considering this project when the citizens do not like the location or the financial burden?

To sign the petition currently in circulation concerning the southwest recreational/business park, contact Ken Hayes at hazekd@AOL.com or at 785-594-3431.

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