Archive for Wednesday, July 22, 2009

City resolution regarding Elm St. passes, but questioned

This is the stretch of Elm Street from 11th Street that already exists. If and when Elm is extended to Lawrence Street, this stretch would have to be upgraded and a crossing of the Midland Railway train track would have to be made.

This is the stretch of Elm Street from 11th Street that already exists. If and when Elm is extended to Lawrence Street, this stretch would have to be upgraded and a crossing of the Midland Railway train track would have to be made.

July 22, 2009

A resolution was passed by the Baldwin City Council at Monday’s meeting regarding streets on the Baldwin School District’s property in west Baldwin. But it didn’t happen without a long discussion.

The resolution was passed to affirm that the council supports the planning commission’s recommendation that Elm Street should be extended from 11th Street to Lawrence Street as part of the long-range plan. Originally, the planning commission wanted the extension done now, but later approved the site plan for the new Baldwin Elementary School Primary Center that will be built there without the full extension to 11th. Instead, the school district agreed to extend Elm Street to Bullpup Drive, which it had originally not planned to do.

Council Member Ted Brecheisen, Jr., took exception to the resolution.

“I don’t see any reason that we need to make this resolution,” said Brecheisen. “We all know Elm Street is a mess. The planning commission agreement was to let it go and give them the building permit. What is this resolution doing?”

City Administrator Jeff Dingman, who wrote the resolution, explained that it puts in writing that the city’s position is that Elm should be extended to 11th, although there is not timeline on that happening. He said the resolution gives notice that the governing body supports the planning commission.

Mayor Ken Wagner went a step further.

“It makes it clear to people who make decisions on that property that we stand behind the planning commission’s recommendation,” said Wagner. “I think we’re trying to take the ambiguity out of it. I think it makes it crystal clear that we support extending Elm Street to 11th Street. I don’t see any down side to the governing body approving it.”

Brecheisen agreed, but also went a step further.

“I don’t see a down side to it, but I don’t see any upside,” said Brecheisen. “In five years’ time, this will be lost. I think it has no purpose.”

After some further discussion, including the resolution’s reference to the need for further study at the intersection of Lawrence Street and U.S. Highway 56, the resolution passed 3-1. Brecheisen voted against it. Council Member Tom Farmer arrived at the meeting right after the vote was made.

In the only other action, the council voted to purchase the house at 1017 High Street near the Women’s Bridge for $19,000 and 50 percent of closing costs. It will be razed to add additional park space to the area. The decision was made after a 30-minute executive session.

Comments

greyghost 5 years, 1 month ago

Alright. Someone please explain how Elm Street can be extended to 11th Street. I just got through looking at a Google map of Baldwin City, and Elm Street not only intersects with 11th Street, but it goes beyon 11th Street. Am I the only one this makes absolutely no sense to? I understand what you're talking about when you say you want to extend Elm to Lawrence St., but extending it to 11th makes no sense.

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NanCrisp 5 years, 1 month ago

Explanation: Jeff wrote this article. Proofreading is not his long suit. Another possibility is that the question is over what section(s) of Elm Street will be improved, and perhaps that wouldn't necessarily extend east of Bullpup (i.e. - toward 11th St.). Another thing Jeff often does is leave out important clarifying details.

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Julie Craig 5 years, 1 month ago

The School District is extending Elm East to Bullpup from Lawrence. The City is supporting the planning commission's recommendation to extend Elm on East past Bullpup to 11th.

Wish there were a timeline for this.............

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solo 5 years, 1 month ago

Who is going to pay for this extension? The taxpayers of Baldwin City or the taxpayers of USD 348? I bet there is a major disagreement on this question.

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Julie Craig 5 years, 1 month ago

Solo is right and so is Brecheisen. The part that isn't crystal clear is who is paying for it and when it will be done.

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greyghost 5 years, 1 month ago

GreatGazoo: The snide little green alien from the Flintstones cartoons---Nice screen name!

Back to the issue though, I think the school district should shoulder the load of paying for this street access. Just as I believe that new residential construction should include the cost of installing sidewalks.

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NanCrisp 5 years, 1 month ago

The school district didn't factor this expense into the bond issue. As they did when the BESIC was built, they were afraid to tell the taxpayers what the project really would cost, hoping that once construction was underway the good taxpayers would just pony up more money to pay for all the peripherals. Such things as streets, furnishings, etc., etc., etc. Fooled before. Fooled again. But one big difference: the economy was riding high when BESIC was built, so the plan worked. What will happen this time around?

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solo 5 years, 1 month ago

I tell you what will happen this time around. The good people at USD 348 will try to off -load any and all expenses they can to the taxpayers of Baldwin City instead of where it rightfully belongs-- spread out among all taxpayers of the school district.

You watch carefully as the construction for this school begins and the real costs start mounting. They will do everything in their power to pass the burden off to some other entity -most probably the City or the County. The problem is that we are all taxpayers and one way or another are going to have to pay for this albatross. The question is how equitably will the pain be distributed?

Also watch for the howls of pain, rage and disbelief as those taxpayers get their property tax bills this December. I bet there will be more than a few that wish they could turn back the clock and rethink their vote.

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bc 5 years, 1 month ago

Yeah, there's a good idea solo, make the district pay for all kinds of streets, then I bet you'll turn around and criticize all the things that needed to be cut because the district is now building streets for the City of Baldwin rather than schools for our kids.

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greyghost 5 years, 1 month ago

bc,

Yeah, that's what I got out of reading solo's post; make the district pay for ALL of the streets in Baldwin. Sounds like you're rolling down the slippery slope.

I think the point is is that the district should have planned this much better. They've known about this issue for 1.25 years (well before the bond vote) now and should have budgeted accordingly. Maybe since all of the bids are coming in lower than expected the board will make some accommodations.

Remember, it was the district that decided to build our elementary schools on a federal highway.

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solo 5 years, 1 month ago

greyghost & bc Don't be ridiculous. Are you purposely trying to obviscate my position or are you just not getting it because you can't see past the notion that there are a lot of us out there that don't believe a good education is all about brand new bricks and mortar?

Of course I don't expect the district to pay for ALL the streets in Baldwin. I expect them (actually "we" as taxpayers) to pay for the associated costs that will go with this new school. There would be no need for an Elm Street extension if there wasn't a school being built on that property. Consequently the school district is the developer and should pay for the costs.

The insanity of all this is that the "school district" is actually all of us as taxpayers. The "city" and the "county" are all of us as taxpayers too. I am for the burden of this cost being spread amongst the largest amount of stakeholders (USD 348 ---not the smallest (city residents). As a city resident I am feeling very squeezed right now with taxes and utility rates being what they are. I did not vote for this bond issue but I am willing to accept my fiscal responsibility for it because we live in a democracy.

What I am NOT willing accept is the extra costs of this project due to poor planning or lack of foresight being placed on the backs of just the city residents because we have the unfortunate luck to have this building in the city limits! The entire school district taxpayers should be made to pay for this and all related costs of these new buildings and maintenance of the new ball fields. Please explain to me why this is such a radical notion? Could it be perhaps that you don't live in the city limits so you are hoping for a free ride by the taxpayers of Baldwin City?

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greyghost 5 years, 1 month ago

Solo,

I actually agreed with you while being sarcastic to bc.

The Slippery Slope Fallacy--Google it!

greyghost.

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solo 5 years, 1 month ago

My apologies grey----I guess my sarcasm barometer wasn't working very well :) I am touchy about this subject because I am really, really bugged by how this whole thing has gone down. I could kick myself that I didn't stand up and scream last November as this thing went to a vote. I just couldn't in my wildest imagination dream that in this lousy economy this 22M boondoggle would be passed. My mistake. Now I watch every move these folks make and will be a vocal critic of anything I see as "passing the buck" off to another taxing entity.

I encourge all of us to be vigilant and watch these folks very carefully. I predict the next big fight will be with KDOT and/or Douglas County over the hill by the Intermediate Center. Obviously the county and KDOT have concerns over visability issues---but of course, USD 348 says their studies say "adequate" is ok . Translation "Hey, it is safe enough for us. Don't expect us to pay for any changes to that road. If you want changes make someone else pay for it!"

I propose a new missions statement for USD 348 ==="Not our problem, you guys (meaning City, County, KDOT) pay for it."

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Stacy Napier 5 years, 1 month ago

The reason this passed was that some professors at Baker stood up and encourged all the students to vote for this. Look where it won with the largest margin.

Bond issues that affect property owners should only be voted on by propety owners.

If I was a student or renter why wouldn't I vote yes. It won't cost me a dime.

The other point I don't understand is that if the planning comission has said that the street needs to be built, then don't give the School district a building permit until it is in the plans. They should be treated just like any other developer or business in the city. (Problem Solved)

Just goes back to what I have always held. There are a bunch of small time people running things on both sides that really don't know how it all works and the staff that should guide them doesn't help at all as they are incompetent.

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