Comment history

Five candidates file Tuesday morning for city council, school board elections

Solo I will try and answer your questions that you put forth. I am running for city council because I think that I can help our city which is in my opinion in crisis. We are in the same boat as all cities in struggling with costs versus revenue, a situation that will only get worse due to the cutbacks of monies that flow to our city from the state and federal levels. My approach in simple terms would be "austerity". As far as what I bring to the table I served as mayor for 4 years and gained a lot of practical experience on what to do...and more importantly what NOT to do. As a councilman I would propose the following moves to try and save monies and improve our community.

1. Wage freeze for all city employees for the next 24 months. This may seem harsh but currently the state is looking at CUTTING state salaries by 7% for state employees.

2. A total review of all employment positions in the city to see what is absolutely NEEDED to function versus what is WANTED by department heads. All positions from dog catcher to city administrator need to be justified to the 10th degree as to why they are on the payroll.

3. Utility evaluation of costs versus returns as to the feasibility of operations. Publicly we should explore the notion of selling the electric utility. If we can sell it without damaging services to our residents we should look at it. If we cant sell it then we need to figure out how to operate it and sell our excess capacity to increase revenue without raising rates.

4. Economic development of our community. We need to try and foster jobs and growth in our city. The only way to lessen the tax burden on our citizens is to make the pot that the taxes is taken out of larger. We have exorbant costs and bureaucratic redtape associated with private citizens opening businesses and constructing homes in this city that are simply ridiculous. An example was the travesty that Arrowhead hardware went thru and the costs incured to them to build a new business. Its ridiculous and it has to stop. Government should help people build small business and homes not strangle it to death.

5. We need to plan our government projects better and execute them efficiently. Last year a major sewer project was completed down 11th street. The sewer portion of the project went great. Unfortunately everything that happened above ground on this project reeked of poor planning and very poor execution.

Solo I am interested in making Baldwin which is a great city and I am proud to call it home, and raise my children here into an even better community. Currently I work for ECKAN in ottawa and my job takes me to lots of cities in south central kansas. I can say hands down none of them are as pictureque and interesting as Baldwin. But we can make our city better by making it more affordable with belt tightening and wise expenditures.

January 26, 2011 at 7:23 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Future of rural schools decision looms Monday night you been doing. Well said in your comments and I could not agree more. I am also deeply amused at the attempts by the school district to sell the old elementary building on chapel st. Love the hand painted sign with "For Sate" on it....just projects class and planning doesnt it?

December 13, 2010 at 8:05 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Future of rural schools decision looms Monday night

Hardly ridiculous since I didnt state that as the only reason but it is a large contributing factor. The population of Baldwin has remained largely stagnant over the past 4 years so its not caused by population growth. And no "twisting" is needed to point out the poor performance of this BOE...

December 12, 2010 at 5:10 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Future of rural schools decision looms Monday night

Just for fun I added up what the Board of Educations mill increase alone...not counting the city or other increases cost me personally on my properties for the coming year... A little over $2200.00 per year. But were still broke and we have to cram more kids into the classrooms. I have two kids in the system so I will bear this burden but it has me very upset. This slate of folks on the board has to go. And we need some people that can budget and project with some eye to the future.
This crew has my hackles way up...and now the city is considering a library increase in size to make up the gap left by school understaffing.

Were headed down the wrong path here people and we need some new ideas and minds to lead us out of this mess...pronto...

December 12, 2010 at 10:35 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Douglas County appraiser uncertain about direction of tax bills

Hurrah we won the race to a higher tax mill increase than any other community in the county....WOOHOO....oh wait thats not a plus now is it.

I would like to personally thank the supporters of the school bond issue, the school board and administration, the city council for tax and utility increases for doing more damage in a short amount of time due to poor fiscal management and the mentality of " well lets raise the mill levy its only (insert dollars per month here) and the property owners can handle it!!".

Your taxing our community to death and its time it stopped...

November 18, 2010 at 9:34 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

City council talk turns to business park again

The intermodal will have a very dramatic impact on this city from a huge boost in truck traffic...(bad thing) to people moving to the area looking for homes and businesses in direct support and indirect support of this facility which will employ over 1500 people. As an example look at the one that was built by BNSF just outside of Plano Texas.
Now to attract business were going to have to get off our collective butts and offer incentives like (tax break incentives) to attract employers...threw that one in there so the Juniors of Baldwin would stroke out... Industrial utility rates that are lower...we already do this for Baker U by the way. Also we got locate this on a property that can be sewered and on the power grid...the current industrial park is not located within a mile..literally of a sewer line. Seven years ago I proposed the purchase of ground on US56 that would have been ideal for a park but it was rejected. We need to get moving on this while costs of ground are down.

On a completely unrelated note Mr. Mayor and Counsel why dont you impress all of us citizens and put a wage freeze inplace this year to help the budget...we pay our people enough and well heck today 7.9 million Americans are looking for a job so if they dont like it....ship out... Do something to hold the line on costs guys instead of raising our taxes and rates. God knows we already have a boon doogle of a school to pay for...

July 4, 2010 at 6:10 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Electrical rate increase is on Baldwin City Council agenda tonight

BOHICA.....Bend Over Here it Comes Again....

I think its time for City Hall to have another enema similiar to the one 10 years ago.....

May 17, 2010 at 4:40 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

11th Street fiasco ...........

Well shucks I was just trying to offset the shaft were going to take tonight when the power rates increase.

May 17, 2010 at 4:37 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

11th Street fiasco ...........

Hey can the residents of 11th street get a reduction on our property tax evaluations since we live on a gravel road now? Im just saying.......

May 17, 2010 at 10:09 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Electrical rates could be increasing 6 to 12 percent

As one of the past officials that is mentioned in this thread I would like to remind the posters and citizens of a few points about power in this fair city and why were in the rate situation that we are currently trapped in.

The infrastructure of Baldwin for decades...roughly mid 1960s to 2000 was largely ignored or was repaired with a band aid approach. Rates were kept down but the systems aged, decayed, and were ill suited to meet the demands that were placed upon it by new development that began in the 1990s.

1999 and 2000 were very hot stormy summers and everyone that was here remembers the day long black outs and power problems that plagued us. I vividly remember the screams to fix the system by the citizens.

In 2001 we investigated deeply with KCPL, KPL, and Energy Corp the idea of selling the utility. The response was that due to it being in such poor one...and I mean no one wanted it. This left us with the only choice...fix it.

Many aspects of the power grid needed attention including generation. Money had to be spent on upgrades and rebuilding that had been delayed for decades. This meant a lot of money had to be spent to rebuild the entire system. You want to know why it cost so much? Ask the leaders from decades past why they scrimped and "saved" by not doing these necessary things over that time frame. The bill came due folks and if you want your lights on and the toilets to flush it had to be done.

Now all that being said do I agree with the rate increase? No absolutely not. Thanks to Councilman Bayer providing and then looking over the wage and pay structure its time to do something proactive on that front. For instance a wage freeze. HINT HINT WAGE FREEZE.......... Also it is high time we ended Baker University and the School districts special rates for power. They are huge consumers and should pay more. They certainly would get a whole lot more serious about conservation if they were faced with rates on a similar scale to the public. Yes I said it, the school district needs to pay more. If they are silly enough to build a new school we dont need then they need a slap in the face to get real about how the money is being spent.

But our elected officials need to get serious about making...MAKING... the bureaucrats that run the day to day operations make cuts. For instance we have a city inspector that is hell on wheels about attacking business compliance in this town but will let a neighbor to city hall...look 200 feet west of city hall pile up crap to the heavens and do NOTHING about it. We have an IT guy that makes 40K a year if I am reading the chart correctly. Uh for what? Out source it or retrain someone on the payroll to handle the data systems. New trucks and it would appear that a vehicle for every "behind' that is employed by the city....stop the spending.

Ken Hayes

April 25, 2010 at 11:12 a.m. ( | suggest removal )