Comment history

City council candidate: Ken Hayes

Well I think we should reverse the recent rate hike and make cuts to the utility budget to balance this issue. We then need to look at the large amount of cash reserves in the utilities and talk seriously about dipping into those to either stabilize those rates or push them down lower.
Water issue is interesting since were going to work with some surrounding communities but I wonder why we havent tried to work with Ottawa which has excess capacity and is geographically closer than DeSoto to try and develop a supply system to fit the area. Also like the concept used extensively in the southwest to capture the clean water coming out of the waste water plant in a small lake and treat it and recycle it into the water system. This is a closed system used in communities where water is scarce. I think in the future clean water will become more scarce.
On the development of a business park I would propose working with the three financial institutions in town to buy and build an industrial park to service the businesses we have that want to expand and attract new businesses to town. There are various avenues to financing this and they should be explored.
If elected i can only propose these items it takes a majority of voting members to make them a reality.

March 18, 2011 at 2:54 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

City council candidate: Ken Hayes

A "budget" can be amended, reallocated and redistributed at the councils descretion. What I am calling for is a council resolution that will take a vote to pass...and thereby take a vote to alter to freeze wages from X date in 2011 to X date in 2013.

Saying its "frozen" in the budget for 2011 is first of all not a long enough period of time and second not strong enough action to send the message to the public that the city is trying to control spending.

Ken Hayes

March 18, 2011 at 7:53 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

KDOT pledges $550,000 to make school intersection safer

If you would like some further examples of "skating" by the school district in the past I have some real Doozies for you.

1. The water tower located on the school property would be the first. The school board at the time thought it was ugly and didnt want it placed at the crest of the hill so the council decided to move it down the hill which meant the tower had to be constructed about 20 feet taller. Resulting cost to the city was around $75.000.00. Watertowers have to be built in a gravity system at the same level otherwise they dont provide even pressure. I fought this hard because it was dumb...a water tower is ugly...sorry cant change that...but I lost.

2. The original design of the school property called for Elm to go thru to Lawrence avenue and the entrance from the highway was not in the plan. It was added as a "cheap" way to get traffic to the first school building and the promise was made that when the other one was built it would be added. Second school was built. City got the short end of the stick again...and here we are...pouring money into the "cheap" alternative that no longer looks so cheap.

3. And this one is my favorite, in 2003 the school district tried to renege due to budget problems of paying for the SRO police officer. The deal was that the school board would pay this position during the school year and the city would pay for the rest of the time, training, equipment etc. I personally attended the school board meeting to "collect" the money...felt like a bill collector trying to get the 30+K they had signed contracts to pay.

This school board over the past 10 years has not been a good civic partner in this community, has spent money like pouring water on the ground, and now is in huge financial trouble. We need leaders that are going to think things thru, generate a plan..and stick to it. Not make decisions that are the cheap way to go at the moment that end up costing us a fortune later on.
Ken Hayes

February 20, 2011 at 9:22 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

KDOT pledges $550,000 to make school intersection safer

How peculiar, while being involved in numerous commercial and residential developments in a lot of different cities the Developer not the city/county had to pony up and pay for the impact on the infrastructure including the streets. But in this case the school is getting KDOT the county, and the city of Baldwin to pay for the intersection improvements made. i am in awe of this whole decision making process since while this bond issue (which I voted against) for schools and ball fields was being expended why was Elm street not punched thru to 11th? Wouldnt it have made sense to put in the infrastructure to deal with this increased load BEFORE the school and fields were opened? My position will seem anti-school and anti-safety but I am not in favor of city dollars being expended outside the boundaries on this project. The school district should have...and still should step up to the plate and pay for the road extention that is onto the school property.

February 15, 2011 at 2:28 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Elm Street bridge deemed unsafe, closed for months

The American Reconstruction and Recovery Act spent billions of our tax dollars on infrastructure projects for cities nationwide for a huge variety of projects. Did we try to get this bridge replacement which was talked about as early as 2001 on that program as a grant for rebuilding? Certainly would have been a good time to do so.

February 3, 2011 at 11:47 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Baldwin City's sales tax collections up, down in 2010


If I am reading your post correctly there are not one but two utilities or energy entities that are interested in our power grid?
Do the current council members know about this?
Because if they do not I think you should let them know as well as all of us as to who they are so that we can set about coming up with a solution to our utility rate problem.
As a matter of fact would you please let us all know on here what you know on utilities that want to purchase. If it is indeed the case then we need to know.

I understand your comments related to me and your entitled to your opinion.

February 2, 2011 at 6:56 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Baldwin City's sales tax collections up, down in 2010

To answer your question no I do not regret the decision to build a new power plant for one simple reason. We had no other alternative. In 2001 we were in a situation that our power supply was totally inadequate for the needs that Baldwin had at the time. If you recall the disasterous power events that occured just prior to my taking office when KCPL stuck us with a $700,000.00+ bill for energy they had to buy to replace the energy lost when the power plant in Kansas City exploded. We also had infrastructure problems that caused our services to fail in even a very moderate storm event. The power utility was in very bad shape both structurally and capacity wise.

Many people dont realize that we explored both options early in my term to either sell the utility or fix the utility. We tried very hard to sell it. Due to its condition and the monies needed to bring the utility up to a functional level no one...and I mean no one was interested in it.

To put it mildly we were stuck in the power business. No alternative existed except to build our way out of the inadequate system we had and to upgrade the power grid. Now that decision was what was best at the time. And I saw no other alternative to propose the construction of an adequate generation system. The city council at the time was involved in the decision and ultimately voted unanimously to build the new power plant. We also constructed a link to Ottawa to complete a power loop so that Baldwin was supplied from two directions instead of just the one line from Gardner. Through a lot of hard work by our electrical dept. we made the system a reliable, stable source of power. Unfortunately it cost a ton of money to fill in the neglect that had gone on for over 20 years to the utility.

I am not being critical of the utility at all. I am saying that its time to look at all options to make our utility costs more affordable and it needs to be done in a public forum. Our system is now a modern system of power delivery. So the questions I have for the utility are as follows.

1. We have a modern system now, would any major power providers be interested in buying it now that it is a functional adequate system.

2. If they are interested in purchase what will be the effect on our rates and on our service. IE if it takes 4 hours to be repaired in an outage then thats not acceptable, especially if our rates remain the same.

3. If we indeed can not liquidate the utility then how can we make it operate more efficiently and cost effective. A through review of opeations and costs to make it more efficient.

I hope that explains my position on the power issue.

January 31, 2011 at 8:15 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Baldwin City's sales tax collections up, down in 2010

You stole some of my thunder my friend. What I was going to propose was a joint project between the city and the school district to connect Elm street thru to 11th so we could eliminate the danger on 56 hwy to our children and further eliminate the need to do costly improvements to the intersection of 56hwy and lawrence avenue. Since all community members are concerned about the exposure on 56 hwy and i can attest to my own experiences that the school entrance and the lawrence st. 56 hwy intersection is a dice roll everytime you pull out on it, lets fix it. What makes sense is to tie the new schools INTO the street infrastructure. Take Elm west and connect to the schools.

And thank you for the compliments on getting things done. Yes I would support some sort of variance and joint effort to build Elm st. to connect to the city interior and get our traffic load down on the hwy. Now it would have made sense to rework 11th properly while it was gutted to accomplish this but that ship has sailed.

btw I heartily endorse your campaign for school board. I think you will do a magnificent job and I feel sorry for any school superintendent that crosses swords with you on budgets and numbers....:)

January 27, 2011 at 4:59 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Baldwin City's sales tax collections up, down in 2010

Precisely and by raising taxes although it is a small amount it has an effect. It damages the businesses struggling to survive here in town and until fuel costs rise to the point of making shopping out of town unfeasible then we will be in a downward spiral. Collecting more tax is not to be vaunted as a good thing if it means less shopping and thereby fewer viable businesses here in this city.

January 27, 2011 at 4:06 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Baldwin City's sales tax collections up, down in 2010

Out of curiousity I decided to look at the raw numbers of what sales tax was generated in 2009 versus 2010. The year 2009 was a base line 328,053.86 dollars without the sales tax increase. The year 2010 was collections of 349,609.77 with the sales tax increase, and breaking out the 9 months of higher tax to be accurate. This is an increase of only 21,555.91 dollars whereas we raised the rate by a .25%. Applying a little math to the situation, and if my calculations are correct then sales...raw sales to be taxed FELL by 13%.

What that means is that consumer consumption of products in Baldwin dropped by 13% from 2009 to 2010. Were not trading in this community like we used to and a drop of this magnitude is significant. This article is misleading and shows a major problem with the system. Were taxing more and the people are voting with there feet and shopping elsewhere...folks that is not good...

if sales in Baldwin would have remained stable then our sales tax revenue would have been a little over 393,664.63 for 2010. We can not tax our way out of this mess or finance trails or libraries by running customers out of town to buy products...

January 27, 2011 at 3:19 p.m. ( | suggest removal )