Council doesn’t support possible LKM lawsuit
Recent cuts to the state budget have the League of Kansas Municipalities considering filing a lawsuit against state, and some members of the Baldwin City Council don't support the idea.
The council, in a 3-2 vote, with Council Members Todd Cohen and George McCrary voting against, approved a motion Monday night to let LKM know the council does not approve of the league's possible lawsuit against the state.
"I don't care for them to spend my money on counsel to argue this," Council Member Ted Brecheisen said. "I don't like to see my dues go for this thing."
The possible lawsuit comes after Gov. Bill Graves' decision last week to cut $48 million in demand transfer payments to cities and counties for the 2002-2003 budget year.
In a memo given to the council Monday, City Administrator Larry Paine said Baldwin's three revenue items that will be affected are local ad valorem tax relief and city county revenue sharing, which affect the general fund, and state highway aid, which affects the special highway fund. The total amount that is expected to be cut is $33,023.
"These amounts will not adversely affect our budget plan for 2003. However, in light of the deteriorating state budget crisis, I informed the staff at our last staff meeting that we should take an austere view of expenditures for the foreseeable future," Paine wrote.
Cohen said even though Baldwin wasn't affected a great deal by the cuts, he thought the city should still support LKM.
"I think we need to find out whether the state has a right to cut money expected half way through the fiscal year," he said. "I think it's in the city's best interest to have them find out if the state can suddenly decide not to pay what they said they'd pay."
He said it was also important to show support to the cities that will be adversely affected by the cuts.
Council Member Marilyn Pearse said she disagreed because she was unsure how other cities were affected.
"I have a problem with not seeing the whole list of who it's affecting," she said. "And we knew in advance that this was a strong possibility and we budgeted for it."
Cohen said there could be some point in the future that Baldwin would need to rely on these other cities help.
"They aren't going to forget who didn't help," he said. "I don't think we need to make political enemies of all cities affected."
Brecheisen said the possible lawsuit would be a waste of money, which can't be spared.
"What's wrong with trying to save money?" he said. "That's what the governor's trying to do."
LKM will decide whether to file a lawsuit after the Dec. 12 meeting of the governing body.
In other business, the city council:
- Heard comments and suggestions about revising the tree ordinance from Baldwin resident Gene Nelson and members of the tree planning committee. After an hour of discussion, the council approved in a 5-0 vote the revised tree ordinance. A tree board will be appointed by Mayor Ken Hayes at the next council meeting.
- Approved in a 5-0 vote the ordinance setting a 365-day period in which building permits will be valid.
- Approved in a 5-0 vote to amend electric rates for fraternities and sororities from .095 cents per kilowatt hour to .12 cents per kilowatt hour.
- Approved in a 5-0 vote to have Carrothers Construction Company install fiber optic cable for a remote SCADA system for the wastewater treatment plant for $19,450.
- Approved in a 5-0 vote to award the bid for the construction of the water line to the west water tower to Tom Adams Construction for $156,900.
- Approved in a 5-0 vote to award the bid of the construction of a metal building for the new electric generation plant to Jesse Brown for $293,000.