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Douglas County dispatch commitment contributes to proposed city mill levy increase

One important point that voters and taxpayers should note-

The following city government personnel, both hired and elected, have their homes in the north of Highway 56 neighborhoods that are receiving taxpayer funded improvements and development (like a new 1055 roadway, sidewalks, Eisenhower Street, and a proposed walking/nature trail, etc.).

Chris Lowe, City Manager, 1205 Signal Lake Court

Christi Darnell, City Council, 1214 Long Creek Court

Shane Starkey, City Council, 201 Signal Oak Court

July 21, 2013 at 11:13 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Eisenhower Street upgrade to get underway

One important point that voters and taxpayers should note-

The following city government personnel, both hired and elected, have their homes in the north of Highway 56 neighborhoods that are receiving taxpayer funded improvements and development (like a new 1055 roadway, sidewalks, Eisenhower Street, and a proposed walking/nature trail, etc.).

Chris Lowe, City Manager, 1205 Signal Lake Court

Christi Darnell, City Council, 1214 Long Creek Court

Shane Starkey, City Council, 201 Signal Oak Court

July 21, 2013 at 11:13 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Eisenhower Street upgrade to get underway

Perhaps Mr. Lowe needs to study the land ownership and deeds east of Eisenhower and he would know that it is unlikely that any development is planned or possible on those parcels. That land is locked out of development.

This article and the statements by Mr. Lowe just proves what I have been saying for 3 years now. The city center of Baldwin City is neglected and allowed to deteriorate while in secret, behind closed doors, city leaders, developers and business profiteers are milking the south of Highway 56 taxpayers to finance improvements north of the city.

Another $86,500 (1/2 of $173,000) of taxpayer funds (along with the $90,000 noted in the city budget article for signage and the business park study) wasted on projects benefiting the behnd-the-scenes crowd that should be invested in ADA approved sidewalks, curbing, street lighting and rain water sewage around the downtown city center of town.

City leaders are blind (perhaps willingly) to the concerns of taxpayers and what taxpayers want done with their tax dollars.

July 21, 2013 at 4:05 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Douglas County dispatch commitment contributes to proposed city mill levy increase

In the late 1970’s, the Baldwin City Council spent $50,000 of taxpayer monies to establish a small industrial park at Highway 56 and High Street. The city installed electricity, water and sewage and promoted the moniker “if you build it, they will come”. Well, they never came. The ROI on the $50,000 was nil. Taxpayers lost out.

Once again a new city council (with behind-the-scenes pressure and influence from developers and businesspeople) is spending $40,000 of the current proposed budget (taxpayer monies) to fund a study for a potential new business park.

1) Any consulting firm taking $40,000 from the city for a study is never going to report back that a city financed business park is a bad idea, because then the $40,000 would appear to have been wasted. The report will always weasel around some kind of semantic gymnastics to present a positive spin on the proposed business park even if it is a poorly conceived idea.

2) Baldwin City is never, ever going to be able to compete with 40 + million square feet of new office and warehouse commercial real estate in Edgerton that has the latest, greatest technology and office design, and is right in the middle of the “action” and I-35 access of the new InterModel.

Baldwin City is better served marketing itself for what, in reality, it is -- a family-oriented, nice, friendly, easy accessible bedroom community with a well-known university and reputation. You play to your strengths. The city should work on establishing unique, well-managed, innovative city services to attract new families, not vacant business parks.

(Look at the cost and history of the Lawrence EastHills Business Park. Millions of taxpayer dollars and the park is mostly empty and abandon.)

Fifty thousand taxpayer dollars for a spanking new sign announcing that highway travelers have arrived at Baldwin City. Are you serious?

This $90,000 could provide for several square blocks of desperately required new ADA sidewalks, street curbing, rainwater sewers and street lighting around the city center areas of downtown. While just a start on these projects, at least it is not a waste of $90,000.

Sidewalks, street improvements and lighting are what the majority of taxpayers and voters want.

July 20, 2013 at 10:54 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Baldwin City Council July 15 agenda

Elvyn, we look forward to your planning commission information.

Currently-

"Planning Commission

The Planning Commission is a 5 member, non-partisan body, whose members are appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the Governing Body. Two members live outside of, but within three miles of the City limits and three members are Baldwin City residents. The Commission reviews all zoning, special use permit and plat applications prior to making recommendations to the Governing Body for final action."

Why does the city of Baldwin City need 2 commission members who do not live in Baldwin City, pay no city property or utility taxes and cannot vote in city elections ? Yet these 2 members vote on zoning, planning and suggested taxpayer expenditures effecting all Baldwin City residents and taxpayers.

July 18, 2013 at 6:05 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Baldwin City Council July 15 agenda

Elvyn--

Most cities list their commission and committee members on their official website. I cannot find this information when needed on Baldwin City' official website. Perhaps the city should be more comprehensive in the information they provide?

Can you publish the members of the Planning Commission so the taxpayers can see how many of these people live north of Highway 56 in Signal Oak and PlumTree, or may have a business or financial interest in these neighborhoods or proposed projects serving these neighborhoods ?

I have nothing against these neighbors and fellow citizens, however, there are behind-the-scenes decision-making happening and projects being promoted and paid-for by all Baldwin City taxpayers that only benefit these neighborhoods while the center city areas of town fall into disrepair and lack modernization (sidewalks, curbing, streets, sewage, etc.).

If this neglect continues and the majority of taxpayers still feel something unfair exists, I suspect that a petition or referendum may be forthcoming very soon.

July 15, 2013 at 11:59 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Baldwin City Council agenda for July 1

Perhaps you should review the "comprehensive" plan. The state lake portion of the project is only part of the envisioned trail. Getting the state to pay for a lake trail is the first step of a city-financed walking and biking trail that runs from the state lake through Signal Oak and then terminates in FireTree. A trail that serves the newer, wealthier neighborhoods north of Highway 56 and the developers who plan to add additional housing developments in this area.

If this state lake portion is built, the city leaders can then more easily push through the southern portion of the trail at city taxpayer expense.

Just as the north 6th street improvements were a behind-the-scenes taxpayer-funded project to benefit these housing developments, the walking trail is also an under-the-radar project to benefit the neighborhoods and business interests to the north at the expense of the taxpayers and homeowners south of Highway 56..

Before you make your uninformed comments, please take the time to study the "complete" project. You'll present an educated, informed opinion instead of snarky, petty, and ignorant blabber.

July 5, 2013 at 10:11 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Baldwin City Council agenda for July 1

Thanks for your comments, Peabody.

If I recall, 1/3rd plus 2/3rds equals 3/3rds (or 1 or 100%). Seems possible to me.

My initial comments were a generalization if you read closely; an estimation. My later comment "These are the facts" is clearly written only in my follow-up comments where actual numbers are listed and are, in fact, "the facts".

It is disingenuous for you to mix up 2 different types of comments (a generalization and a factual statement) in order to try and misrepresent my valid point.

Even at 42% of the vote, Ms. Pearse received less than a 50% majority which is no mandate from the voters to pursue a particular agenda.

I wish Ms. Pearse success in her term, but I stress that many taxpayers are not happy with the direction of the city agenda.

June 30, 2013 at 8:55 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Growing tech company finds needed talent in Baldwin City

The mayor was a one issue candidate. Unfortunately, her one issue is pure fantasy when you understand the technology and cost issues involved. The mayor received only 1/3 of the votes while 2/3 of the cast ballots went to other candidates (and against her). The mayor did not get any type of approval or mandate from the election.

This is not to say I do not want the mayor to be successful. I hope she will take the time to understand why taxpayers are angry with the issues city hall is pursuing and change course.

Here's a simplistic example. A family with 3 kids, 2 adults, 2 computers, an iPad and 2 smart TVs only needs about 5 megabits of broadband service to utilize all of the above devices to their maximum potential. A family can get this service for $30 to $40 a month currently.

The 2 Baldwin City providers, MediaCom and CenturyLink, usually tier their service to provide more than 5 megabits.

Gigabit fiber optic broadband is 200 times faster than what a normal family can even utilize in their home. No family is going to pay $100 or more a month for 995 megabits of broadband that they cannot even utilize.

If a local business or institution wants gigabit fiber optic, let them cover the $5 million investment privately. Gigabit is not a technology for residential users at this time and will not be for a number of years in Baldwin City.

Additionally, it is not even an economic issue for attracting new business to Baldwin City. The new InterModel in Edgerton includes over 4,000,000 square feet of spanking brand new cutting edge warehouse and office space which is something that Baldwin City can never compete against and if our leaders were wise they wouldn't even attempt to.

We should be promoting Baldwin City as a great bedroom community with superior city services and infrastructure catering to residents. And then focus the city in this direction. You play to your strengths, if you're wise enough to identify them and build upon what sets you apart.

Baldwin City is 10 years beyond Edgerton as an inviting, advanced, liveable community.

June 30, 2013 at 12:31 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Baldwin City Council agenda for July 1

Thank you for your comments, GreyGhost.

Here are the facts.

The proposed walking trail has nothing to do with the actual Douglas County State Lake. The trail is to run within the city limits though the FireTree neighborhood north to Signal Oak.

"The proposed hiking and walking trail is the green line that begins at Douglas County 400 Road and ends in the FireTree neighborhood. The city is seeking a grant to pay for 80 percent of the estimated $650,000 cost." (Baldwin City Signal, December 2009)

"When the council approved applying for a Transportation Enhancement Grant last month, the price tag for the proposed hiking and biking trail was estimated to be $240,000 to $270,000. The measure barely passed, 3-2, and City Administrator Jeff Dingman was asked to get “firmer” numbers for cost. That number is right at $650,000, with the Kansas Department of Transportation picking up 80 percent of the cost. The city’s cost would be $137,000 for the trail, which would start at County Road 400 (State Lake Road), go through the Signal Ridge subdivision and into the FireTree Estates subdivision. Eventually, the plan is to have the trail throughout Baldwin City." (Baldwin City Signal, December 2009)

Thus local Baldwin City taxpayers are being asked to pay $137,000 (the estimate 4 years ago) for a walking trail within the city limits to serve the residents of FireTree and those wealthy neighborhoods north of Highway 56.

An elderly taxpayer living south of Highway 56 cannot be expected to walk 1 mile just to get to the walking trail, then walk the trail itself and return home. Central city dog walkers cannot walk all the way north just to walk their dogs between FireTree and Signal Oak.

This project serves a small, upper middle class, new neighborhood and developers who have plans for future housing developments north of Highway 56 and all Baldwin City taxpayers are being deceived and being asked to pay for this project.

The majority of Baldwin City residents and taxpayers live south of Highway 56.

The focus of the city government and taxpayer expenditures should be improvements and enhancements to the streets, curbing, sewers, and sidewalks in the center city area of town before there is any discussion of unnecessary, fluff projects.

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"Final official totals were: Pearse 240, Mock, 226 and Plumberg, 103." (Baldwin City Signal, April 2013)

Mayor Pearse: 240
Opposing candidates: 329

While I wish the mayor success, she clearly did not receive overwhelming voter support and no mandate for her one issue (fiber optic broadband) election campaign.

These are the facts.

June 30, 2013 at 8:09 a.m. ( | suggest removal )