Archive for Thursday, May 6, 2004

Concerns of taxes, safety raised about Baldwin business park

May 6, 2004

Albert Johnston has concerns about Baldwin's proposed business park, one of which is increased taxes.

"I think taxes are already high," he said. "I think we're trying to stack too many projects on the shoulders of the taxpayers already."

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Johnston told the Baldwin City Council at Monday's meeting that he didn't think the city and county taxpayers should be responsible for developing the land for new businesses.

"I think our taxpayers are already overburdened," he said.

Baldwin is attempting to develop a business park on 43 acres of land at the northeast corner of U.S. Highway 56 and East 1600 Road, just across the street from Baldwin Elementary School Intermediate Center.

The city has asked that Douglas County purchase the land from Mildred Allen for $273,000. Baldwin already has a $10,500 option to buy the land for development, which can be extended in June for another year for another $10,500.

Johnston said not only was he concerned about an increase in taxes, but he didn't like the fact the city was considering building a business park across from an elementary school.

Council Member Tony Brown said he understood the problems Johnston had with the proposal.

"I share your concern, to be quite honest," Brown said. "On the other hand, other communities are in competition for businesses that might be here in Baldwin City.

"Part of the competition we engage in is encouraging some kinds of benefits to those businesses," he said. "The alternative is that businesses don't look at Baldwin City as a place to move."

Brown said a long-term benefit experienced by both the city and county would be lower taxes.

Mayor Ken Hayes agreed and said the business park would bring more jobs to Baldwin and increase the city's tax base.

"We have to create a location in order to attract potential clients," he said.

Hayes said the location for the park was chosen because of its placement on U.S. Highway 56. Other locations were discussed, like the city's land on the south end of town near the power plant, but he said that wasn't feasible.

"It's not on a major transportation artery, which I think is critical," he said.

The Douglas County Commission will be meeting in Baldwin at 6:30 p.m. May 26 at the Baldwin City Public Library to discuss a partnership between the county and city in developing the 43-acre site.

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