October 22, 2014

Council considers 4.5 mill rate increase

Corbin H. Crable
chcrable@gardnernews.com

Gardner City Council members will mull a lower mill increase for 2011 but would still have to face yet another increase for 2012.

Council members, at a July 26 special work session, discussed the possibility of lowering the proposed mill increase from 6.5 to 4.5. However, with a 6.5 increase, city staff still predict a 2-mill increase in 2012; similarly, with a 4.5 mill increase for next year, the expected increase for 2012 would rise to 3 mills.

In both scenarios, the city would then project mill rate decreases in 2014 and 2017 to help offset the increases for 2011 and 2012.

In addition to both possibilities, City Administrator Stewart Fairburn said he would bring before the council a budget that includes the possibility of a 5.5 mill increase.

Gardner residents will have the chance to sound off on these budget options at a public hearing to take place Aug. 2. The council then will vote on the 2011 budget on Aug. 16. The finalized budget must be submitted to the state by the end of August.

Gardner Mayor Dave Drovetta warned the council that if it decided to approve a 4.5 mill increase, it would only further delay the $15 to $18 million in capital improvement projects the city has designated as “necessary,” and said that voting for a lower mill increase only would “delay the inevitable.”
“Any type of recovery we would see would be a slow, gradual improvement,” he said.

Council President Todd Winters and council members Kristy Harrison, Dan Newburg and Brian Broxterman  spoke in favor of the 4.5 mill increase after discussing further cuts the city could make, including reducing payments to the Gardner Cemetery from $10,000 to $7,500; halving a one-time payment of $50,000 in merit payments for city employees to $24,000 (or a maximum of $300 per year, per employee); reducing funds used in planning training to $5,500; and removing $12,000 to fund a primary election.

“We’ll be lucky to get three candidates (for a primary election early next year),” Fairburn said.

While Winters said he was in favor of a lower mill rate increase, Drovetta said he believes Gardner residents likely will not even feel the effects of a 6.5 mill increase versus a 4.5 increase.

“It’s not going to be much more painful in the grand scheme of things,” he said. “We have a very conservative budget, even with a 6.5 mill increase.”
Harrison said she disagreed with Drovetta’s opinion that residents would not feel an additional burden by a higher mill rate increase.

“There has to be a realization that to a segment of the population, this is a big deal,” she said. “This will be very real to a lot of people. An extra $10 or $15 – that could be a prescription to some people.”

Newburg said he agreed.

“Numerically, it’s a small number, but for a lot of people, for the single mom or single dad, that’s not a small number,” he said. “That’s what I’m wrestling with.”

Newburg also spoke out against cuts to the Gardner Cemetery’s funding from the city.

“The history of Gardner is out there,” he said. “These people gave their lives for their community.”

Harrison said she agreed with Newburg, adding that regardless of how many families take advantage of being able to bury their loved ones at the cemetery, the location still draws a crowd for certain memorial services.
Drovetta again reminded council members that city staff have already made numerous trims to their budgets, and that although such conversations are difficult, they are necessary.

“When (the budget) comes to us, there has been much that has been moved already by the time we see it,” he said. “We don’t have extravagancies that aren’t seen elsewhere. I know that’s not in line with the popular mood these days, but that’s the reality.”

The council will next meet for its regular meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 2 at City Hall, 120 E. Main St., at which time a public hearing on the 2011 budget will take place. All Gardner residents are invited to attend.

Comments

  1. Drovetta and the city administration are hell-bent again to get their way. I have seen Drovetta do it time and time again and he always gets the council to do his bidding. He just keeps talking and talking and the council doesn’t have the knowledge, information, spine or conscience to vote for the people rather than the special interests that Drovetta takes care of.

    I watched Drovetta on KCTV5 and he is ready to dump on the people again and again with his future plans for development. Only the people can stop the knife from being put in their backs again from worthless politicians. Here is one message I sent to the Council this morning: “Council: Since sending this e-mail I have watched Drovetta on KCTV5 and it makes me even more sick to know what Drovetta has planned for the future and the increased tax burden he is ready to place upon ALL citizens of Gardner while he takes care of big biz, developers and other special interests. I will now wait to see if you, too, will once again go along and/or be a part of the back room politics that have gone on for so long here in Gardner and puts the citizens in the hole more every day plus other adverse affects. We will see if you, too, have lost your conscience.”

    Here are my earlier comments to the Council this morning: “Council: I see you are still inclined to raise the mill levy to make the budget you want this year. It tells me you again want to spend more money than the city has.

    I am forwarding the following e-mails to you again so you may review in detail. Over a year ago, I was bringing out the point that the city continued to spend money and not know how they were going to pay for it as indicated by these e-mails.

    Some of you want to increase that mill levy so you may continue to borrow money and be ready for development. When you say be ready for development, that means to me you are ready once again to have the people subsidize the developers who may want to come here but want the people to pay their development costs and/or to allow them to not pay their full taxes as the citizens do. I sound like a broken record but your words and actions bring that on when I have to remind you that cronyism government is eating the people’s lunch and it has to stop along with your spending and not knowing how you will pay for your spending.

    Fiscal responsibility, fair and equitable taxation and knowing the meaning of the Open Meetings Act seem to be alien out of space concepts to you – how you, the Mayor and the city staff can call yourselves representatives of the people is beyond me at this point.”

    In my opinion, you do not give staff a bonus when there is not enough money to even meet budget – they are lucky to have a good paying job and with an excellent benefit package. I also think for years now we have forgotton the role of government. I see no reason why the taxpayers should be alloting money in the budget for the cemetary, the musuem, the community theatre, the Chamber of Commerce, the SW Jo. Co. Economic Development Corp., etc., etc. regardless of what special account you utilize for the funds – these are entities that need to be funded by those who want to contribute to them but certainly not forced to enable and support them by taxation.

    Citizens have seen a huge increase in the sales tax they will pay this year, increase costs for education, higher utilities and on and on we go. Some citizens may not be affected by all of these increased costs but many are. The Secretary of State stated several times this past year that the state didn’t have enough money because they had given so much tax revenue away via the special interests through tax incentives, tax breaks, tax abatements, tax refunds, TIFs, sweet cherry pay-in-lieu agreements associated with IRBs, etc., etc. – we have lost over $1 BILLION DOLLARS in tax revenues in the past 10 years taking care of the thieves as I call them and brought to you by worthless politicians. That is why you got the lovely increase in your sales tax rate effective July 1, 2010 – the special interests continue to be well taken care of while you get the higher tax bill. And your tax bill will continue to increase if you keep voting for worthless politicians such as Drovetta who are more than happy to bring you unfair and unequitable taxation with the sweet deals given to biz, developers and others.

    Hope there are some independent thinkers out there who might want to make some major changes at the elections to come and by speaking out to protect your interests. If you do nothing, you will not be doing yourself any favors in my opinion.

  2. We have cities, counties and states going bankrupt like crazy and so many worthless politicians still want to spend how they want and just increase the mill levies/tax bills for the people while the special interests go to their banks with a smile on their faces like Wall Street, banks, investment houses, etc. continue to do since they are enabled and supported by the same worthless politicians.

    California is totally out of sight. Be sure to go to http://www.kansascity.com/2010/07/26/2109609/highly-paid-city-council-members.html to see what cronyism government has brought to the people in that state. You should start clamouring to your city hall as these citizens did.

  3. Drovetta, Fairburn and Mundt are kingdom builders. They don’t care about the old, inform, unemployed or poor. Never have. Never will.

  4. I would say Drovetta doesn’t care about the middle class. The rich can afford to pay increased costs and the poor don’t because they don’t have the money. But Drovetta’s cronyism government is killing the middle class – those people who are rearing their families, buying their houses and needed cars to get to work, getting kids thru college with ever increasing tuition and regular education costs since the state doesn’t have any money as they have let the citizens lose so much tax revenues from their governing for the special interests rather than the people, saving for their retirements, etc., etc. The middle class is going to get run over by every intermodal truck (biz, developers, other special interests) that you see in so many ways and will be done by worthless politicians such as Drovetta if the people allow it.

  5. Houses and commercial buildings aren’t selling and this fool Drovetta thinks a a tax increase is going to make that better.

  6. Here is an article about what is happening to the middle class and the people in the U.S. I have said for some time that in the early 90’s when we started to convert to a global economy, things for the middle class took a hit and that hit has continued as jobs have been lost and not replaced with new ones. In this article they say business is having it rough, in my opinion no rougher than the average citizen, especially when we are called upon to subsidize them constantly on shrinking wages and loss of jobs. But regardless, the article is worth spending time to read and consider.

    But remember Drovetta thinks it is great for you to work in a warehouse or a railyard with a wage of $8 to $10 an hour with no benefits and can be hired and fired at will. And on top of that he is willing to increase your city’s mill levy so he may continue to spend as he has done for the past 15 years and take care of his corporate cronies or any other type of crony at your expense by the loss of tax revenues. Look at the capital improvements the city of Gardner is contemplating from 2011-2015 and how the red ink is shown all over that report – how do you think that red ink will be eliminated as he probably will cram those capital improvements down your throut which we can hardly afford??????

    ****************************************************

    The Middle Class in America Is Radically Shrinking. Here Are the Stats to Prove it
    Posted Jul 15, 2010 02:25pm EDT by Michael Snyder in Recession
    Related: ^DJI, ^GSPC, SPY, MCD, WMT, XRT, DIA
    Editor’s note: Michael Snyder is editor of theeconomiccollapseblog.com

    The 22 statistics detailed here prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the middle class is being systematically wiped out of existence in America.

    The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer at a staggering rate. Once upon a time, the United States had the largest and most prosperous middle class in the history of the world, but now that is changing at a blinding pace.

    So why are we witnessing such fundamental changes? Well, the globalism and “free trade” that our politicians and business leaders insisted would be so good for us have had some rather nasty side effects. It turns out that they didn’t tell us that the “global economy” would mean that middle class American workers would eventually have to directly compete for jobs with people on the other side of the world where there is no minimum wage and very few regulations. The big global corporations have greatly benefited by exploiting third world labor pools over the last several decades, but middle class American workers have increasingly found things to be very tough.

    Here are the statistics to prove it:

    • 83 percent of all U.S. stocks are in the hands of 1 percent of the people.
    • 61 percent of Americans “always or usually” live paycheck to paycheck, which was up from 49 percent in 2008 and 43 percent in 2007.
    • 66 percent of the income growth between 2001 and 2007 went to the top 1% of all Americans.
    • 36 percent of Americans say that they don’t contribute anything to retirement savings.
    • A staggering 43 percent of Americans have less than $10,000 saved up for retirement.
    • 24 percent of American workers say that they have postponed their planned retirement age in the past year.
    • Over 1.4 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009, which represented a 32 percent increase over 2008.
    • Only the top 5 percent of U.S. households have earned enough additional income to match the rise in housing costs since 1975.
    • For the first time in U.S. history, banks own a greater share of residential housing net worth in the United States than all individual Americans put together.
    • In 1950, the ratio of the average executive’s paycheck to the average worker’s paycheck was about 30 to 1. Since the year 2000, that ratio has exploded to between 300 to 500 to one.
    • As of 2007, the bottom 80 percent of American households held about 7% of the liquid financial assets.
    • The bottom 50 percent of income earners in the United States now collectively own less than 1 percent of the nation’s wealth.
    • Average Wall Street bonuses for 2009 were up 17 percent when compared with 2008.
    • In the United States, the average federal worker now earns 60% MORE than the average worker in the private sector.
    • The top 1 percent of U.S. households own nearly twice as much of America’s corporate wealth as they did just 15 years ago.
    • In America today, the average time needed to find a job has risen to a record 35.2 weeks.
    • More than 40 percent of Americans who actually are employed are now working in service jobs, which are often very low paying.
    • or the first time in U.S. history, more than 40 million Americans are on food stamps, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture projects that number will go up to 43 million Americans in 2011.
    • This is what American workers now must compete against: in China a garment worker makes approximately 86 cents an hour and in Cambodia a garment worker makes approximately 22 cents an hour.
    • Approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States are living below the poverty line in 2010 – the highest rate in 20 years.
    • Despite the financial crisis, the number of millionaires in the United States rose a whopping 16 percent to 7.8 million in 2009.
    • The top 10 percent of Americans now earn around 50 percent of our national income.

    Giant Sucking Sound

    The reality is that no matter how smart, how strong, how educated or how hard working American workers are, they just cannot compete with people who are desperate to put in 10 to 12 hour days at less than a dollar an hour on the other side of the world. After all, what corporation in their right mind is going to pay an American worker 10 times more (plus benefits) to do the same job? The world is fundamentally changing. Wealth and power are rapidly becoming concentrated at the top and the big global corporations are making massive amounts of money. Meanwhile, the American middle class is being systematically wiped out of existence as U.S. workers are slowly being merged into the new “global” labor pool.

    What do most Americans have to offer in the marketplace other than their labor? Not much. The truth is that most Americans are absolutely dependent on someone else giving them a job. But today, U.S. workers are “less attractive” than ever. Compared to the rest of the world, American workers are extremely expensive, and the government keeps passing more rules and regulations seemingly on a monthly basis that makes it even more difficult to conduct business in the United States.

    So corporations are moving operations out of the U.S. at breathtaking speed. Since the U.S. government does not penalize them for doing so, there really is no incentive for them to stay.

    What has developed is a situation where the people at the top are doing quite well, while most Americans are finding it increasingly difficult to make it. There are now about six unemployed Americans for every new job opening in the United States, and the number of “chronically unemployed” is absolutely soaring. There simply are not nearly enough jobs for everyone.

    Many of those who are able to get jobs are finding that they are making less money than they used to. In fact, an increasingly large percentage of Americans are working at low wage retail and service jobs.

    But you can’t raise a family on what you make flipping burgers at McDonald’s or on what you bring in from greeting customers down at the local Wal-Mart.

    The truth is that the middle class in America is dying — and once it is gone it will be incredibly difficult to rebuild.

  7. Judith, you give Drovetta to much credit. He alone is destroying the middle class? Give me a break, this potential tax increase is just a perfect excuse for you and all your anti-government, take back Gardner, cronies to complain and call for Drovetta’s head.

  8. Ryan: Am I getting too close to home – are you having a hard time rationalizing and covering for Drovetta once again?????????? I am no member of any organized group such as the Beasley lynch mob now known as Citizens For The Future of Gardner. If you were really informed, you would know Drovetta has spent more money than the citizens have had for years and wants to continue to do so by giving you an ever increasing tax bill. Drovetta makes his own record and reputation – that is if you want to know about it but you would rather trash me instead. Nice try but it doesn’t work for a person who actually uses their brain for thinking rather than for telling lies and spreading hatred as the Beasley lynch mob did and continues to do as indicated by your comment to me.

  9. Now I think you’re giving yourself to much credit. :)

    I actually agree with you, Drovetta does make his own record and reputation. And like I’ve told Jared, it is good to have people watch the government’s every move. That is what’s so great about our freedom, we hold our government accountable. It is a good thing that there are people watching what is going on and shouting it from the roof tops, just think what our governments would do if no one was watching.

    I guess at this point I’m not upset enough about this proposed tax increase to climb up on the roof.

  10. I give myself no credit but I do state my opinions and speak out against what I think is adverse to the best interests of myself, family, friends and fellow man.

    I know how you work, Ryan – I have seen your dirty work here in Gardner for some time and I know you continue your work. I will give you credit for what you have done and I do not care for what you are up to. The outstanding family civic serving citizen is how you like to look upon yourself and how you sell yourself but you are a far cry from it as far as I am concerned. You are like a snake that comes slithering in the grass with your lies and hatred.

    You now say it is good for people to watch government’s every move and yet when I do so by voicing my opinion and providing information about what I think Drovetta does and doesn’t do, then you are on here faster than lightning trying to discredit me or shut me up.

    Of course, you are not upset about the proposed tax increase since you have your payday loan business for truckers and I am sure that business keeps your checking account fully funded. I recall Drovetta saying at a city vision meeting several years the following as he leaned back in his chair: “I have finally reached the point in my life where I do not have to worry about increasing property values like people such as my mother who lives on a fixed income”. Oh yes, and Drovetta doesn’t care about a mill levy increase for the people of this city just as you don’t care about it. Two peas in the pod as far as I am concerned.

  11. I don’t think any of us mind people commenting on what the government is doing or not doing. We’re all entitled to our opinions, but you do it with such hate filled exaggerations that all you do it discredit yourself and no one takes you seriously.

  12. Jack Burden says:

    City government is not that much different than a criminal enterprise. If business is bad you can demand more tribute.
    City government is also not that much different in than a real business. If business is bad you can do three things. 1) Cut spending. 2) Increase Sales. (new development and property tax) 3)Increase Pricing.(raise taxes ie: the mill rate)
    We’ve already talked taxes to death, and City Hall has a very pessimistic view of development opportunities.
    Which brings us to cutting spending and we have not exhausted the opportunities to do just that. I’m going to toss out a single idea that would most likely eliminate our need to raise taxes this year. Institute a two week furlough for all City employees. No one gets fired, and if we do lose a staffer because of it, it probably only means we would have lost them anyway.

  13. Ryan: Whether people take me seriosly or not is not high on my priority list and I do not feel I deal in exaggerations – I am not running for office or out to make big dollars off of unsuspecting people……..this world is made up of many hypocrites such as yourself like Ken Lay, Ernie Madoff, Skillings, Tom DeLay, etc., etc. – you just work in a smaller pond, Ryan. That is why I always say that the people need to start in their own backyard in making a difference……………..

    Jack: Your idea is as good as any I have heard coming out of City Hall. If people here in Gardner, Ks. would start paying attention to business, they might end up like those in Bell, California when they finally saw the light. Some of the candidates for County Chairman of the Jo. County Commissioners are wanting to cut salaries for the Chairman and Commissioners in half or more – lots of gnashing of teeth is going to occur before all of this mess is over in my opinion.

  14. Gardner Pride says:

    There’s a small hole in your argument Judith. No one in Bell knew what was going on, and it took a newspaper investigative article to bring the issue to light. Then they got angry, and took action. Let us not forget that the City Administrator of Bell was making more than what our budget deficit for 2011 is forecasted at, so it’s not really a fair comparison. Their Mayor, City Administrator & Assitant, City Councilmen, etc, were making well over $1.5M per year, for a city that is roughly twice the size of Gardner. That IS the perfect example of cronyism and political corruption at it’s worst, and it bears no comparison to Gardner.

    Jack’s idea sounds valid at first glance, but imagine the financial pressure that would be placed on those citizens. I would expect that most of the City’s general employees live hand to mouth, and cutting a paycheck out would make it unbelievably hard to pay mortgages, feed families, etc.

    Judith, I’m sure you’ve had the opportunity to review the city’s proposed budget, or at least the 2010 budget. What further cuts would you implement? Realizing that we have lived beyond our means in years past and are required to make payments on the debts owed, what costs do you see as non-essential and that could add up to the $500K we need?

  15. Gardner Pride: You are good at running your mouth but not good at listening and/or reading. I have made numerous suggestions but evidently your reading compresension skills need a tune-up. I have been making suggestions and providing information about how your government dollars are being spent for the special interests for 5 years but City Hall doesn’t listen to average citizens such as myself. Don’t give me the crud that you want to hear from me again on the subject – you are just putting that trash out there to call me out in some way.

    The city of Bell, California did not know what was going on in their city since they evidently do not have the same Open Records law that we have here in Kansas or they didn’t use it because they had never before got off their sorry rearends to pay attention to what was going on at their City Hall. They were, like here, too busy watching MTV on their lazy rearends, not registering to vote or not voting if they were registered and they sure as heck weren’t paying attention to how their city was run. They got that information evidently from the salaries being shown thru a retirement plan but again they could have had that information if they had been doing their jobs as citizens. The salaries were higher in California but the same type of cronyism government goes on right here in Gardner and I have written about it time and time again and the same type of financial raping of the citizens is occurring in your back yard – make no mistake about it and you would know it if you were fully informed and spent the time to be informed.

  16. ——————————————————————————–

    On another note, I just talked to the Jo. Co. Election Office with regard to the campaign finance forms submitted by the four candidates for Jo. Co. Chair of the Commissioners. Get this – Surbaugh has 30 pages of people who have contributed to her campaign, Eilert has 21 pages, Toplikar has 5 and Segale has 3. That should tell you right there who NOT TO VOTE FOR. Anybody who has all the money guys behind you like Surbaugh and Eilert, you know you don’t want them in office in my opinion. I have known for some time who Surbaugh and Eilert govern for and it sure tain’t me. Also if I had the Election Office make copies for me, it would cost me $31.50 but if I come in and do my own copying it will be $10.00 – you have to pay now for your TRANSPARENT government and I am sure the price will be going up as they find more ways to get the bucks from the taxpayers.

  17. Jack Burden says:

    @ Gardner Pride –
    So schedule each week of the furlough six months apart and WELL in advance(starting in Sept 09?) so that people can make plans.
    Do you think City employees would people rather have an unpaid vacation or an unemployment check?
    Let’s face it, if, as the Mayor and City Administrator say, there are no places to trim in the line items(which I don’t believe), then at some point they’ll start looking to cut more staff. furlough = bad, layoffs = REALLY BAD.
    All of these council people are going to want to get re-elected at some point, and raising taxes is a sure way to make sure that won’t happen.
    Is it just me or is Drovetta beginning to look like a one term Mayor?

  18. Jack Burden says:

    @ Judith … What was the average donation for each of the chair candidates?

  19. Gardner Pride says:

    I read just fine Judith-

    “the cemetary, the musuem, the community theatre, the Chamber of Commerce, the SW Jo. Co. Economic Development Corp., etc., etc. regardless of what special account you utilize for the funds”

    So there’s your cut list. I don’t have the figures in front of me, but I don’t believe that these entities receive more than $50K in funding, much of which comes from the transient tax, which must be used in this way. So you are 10% of the way there, what’s next. Where do you see a redundancy in staff? Again, we can’t avoid the mistakes that have already been made in regards to overspending, yet we can learn from them. What OPTIONAL overspending line items do you see in this year’s budgets? Those are the places to start.

  20. Gardner Pride says:

    It shocks me how someone who is so adverse to over spending by the government can then cry foul when asked to pay for their own materials.

  21. Keep in mind that Olathe has laid off more than 100 people since around 2008 to keep that budget going without a mill levy increase.

    Also keep in mind that sweet deal given to Paul Licausi will cost you over $500,000 in 2011 from lost tax revenue. Midwest Commerce property tax bill without any change in the mill levies will be $1,168,220.78 and the people across Kansas will lose half of that amount but the big loser will be your school district again which will cost you in your pocket – you don’t have the highest school tax mill levy in the whole state for no reason. We didn’t and don’t need to give one sweet deal on those warehouses that Drovetta will be lobbying to be built in Gardner – they want to be close to that intermodal to save drayage costs (as Richard Allen with the Allen Group has said before – that warehouse property next to the intermodal is like oceanfront property). But your lovely Drovetta is ready to wheel and deal with the loss of your tax dollars which will bring you higher city, school tax, etc. mill levies if you let him get by with the crud – him and the other worthless politicians just like Edgerton worthless politicians did and your lovely school board who won’t fight for their school families any more than a man in the moon.

  22. Public information that was compiled and paid for by taxpayers to me should be available for free to the citizens and I secured it for free for years and still secure it for free on many occasions. Don’t pull that nose in the air self-rightous baloney on me. I could have had them e-mail that info to me from the election office today at no cost if I had recently signed an Open Records form. I will pay the $10 gladly to see who these worthless politicians are getting their money from. Just keep in mind someday you may want public information to protect your interests and you may not have the funds to pay for it like the poor. The poor get the door slammed in their face day after day to protect their interests. Do you think those people in Bell, California should have to pay to get info on their own city that is owned by the citizens????????? Whose government is it???? It is the people’s government but too many have forgot that fact. I asked the city of Gardner to let me come in and view information right in front of them to cut down on costs for me as a citizen – they sure as heck didn’t go along with that and wanted thousands of dollars to make that possible for me and I would say they did that to make it hard for me to get the info I wanted or they knew I couldn’t afford their charges – lots of ways to put the stone wall up to transparent government. Gardner Pride you make the raping of the citizens’ rights and pocketbook so easy for the wrongdoers when you enable and support them with your attitude, words and actions.

  23. For the interest of any citizen, here is a breakdown of the Midwest Commerce/Paul Licausi tax bill that would have gone out this fall if there are no changes in the mill levies and before the half-price sale given to them by your worthless politicians. As you look at these tax figures for each of the taxing entities, make sure you realize you will only be getting ONE-HALF of that amount due to the sweet deal given and please note how the city of Gardner and the local school district is losing the most dollars. And keep in mind these yahoos could probably never have got financing on $52 MILLION they got thru the IRBs the citizens provided for them and then they got a lower interest borrowing rate with those IRBs. You will never make budget when your worthless politicians continue to spend as they please and take care of their cronies in this manner – you will always be facing higher costs and that includes city employees.

    ***************************************************

    CP64000000 0001
    2009 Mill Levy 2010 Appraised Value 2010 Assessed Value
    0.136642 34,198,000 8,549,500 1,168,220.78

    0.0015000 State of Kansas 12,824.25
    0.0177160 County 151,462.94
    0.0087840 JCCC 75,098.81
    0.0023460 Park 20,057.13
    0.0246060 Gardner 210,369.00
    0.0274410 231 Unified 234,606.83
    0.0200000 231 Sch Gen 170,990.00
    0.0310980 231 Bond 265,872.35
    0.0031510 Library 26,939.47
    0.1366420 1,168,220.78

  24. Jerry L Kellogg Sr says:

    Sunshine Review is a non-profit organization dedicated to state and local government transparency. They collect and share transparency information and use a “10-point Transparency Checklist” to evaluate the content of every state and more than 5,000 local government websites. Sunshine Review collaborates with individuals and organizations throughout America in the cause of an informed citizenry and accountability in government.

    According to their webpage on Kansas laws, http://sunshinereview.org/index.php/Kansas_FOIA_procedures:

    Fees “may” be charged for providing documents; however, no public agency is required to charge anything to the requestor. They may be charged and collected in advance of actually providing any records. Fees “shall not exceed the actual cost of furnishing copies, including the cost of staff time required to make the information available”. If providing paper copies of records, $0.25 per page is deemed a reasonable fee. If providing computerized records, subscription/access fees may be applied, but they may not exceed the actual cost of production.

    Some government offices will provide copies of a small number of pages free. In his training class about KOMA/KORA in June 2009, Assistant Attorney General Michael Six said the Attorney General’s office would normally provide up to one hour of time and up to 25 pages of copies free.

    The Kansas Secretary of State charges $0.50/page for most copies, but is usually willing to use both sides of the page, which reduces the effective cost to $0.25/copy.

    Digital cameras can be used in some offices, e.g., the Johnson County Election Office, to copy documents free, but one must still create a list of the documents copied.

    In some southwest Kansas counties, county clerks impose a fee of up to $25/day for copying documents using digital cameras.

    Reference also the Kansas Open Records Act (KORA), Statute 45-219: http://www.kslegislature.org/legsrv-statutes/getStatute.do?number=19513

  25. Dust in the wind says:

    Can we at least be honest here? Gardner Pride is Dave Drovetta. That said, the only way to make real budget cuts in Gardner is to cut employees. That’s an ongoing expense. We’ve probably cut or delayed single items as much as possible in the last three years. Cutting employees and/or salaries is the only option for long term savings.

    BTW — cities aren’t like biz. Whoever said that is most likely working for government in some fashion. Cities can’t increase sales. They aren’t selling a service or a product. They’re taxing — big difference.

  26. Gardner Pride says:

    Judith, you seem to really have a good idea about how all of these things work. Looking only at the general Gardner portion of the tax bill, we will take in $105,184.50 in taxes this year, based on the “sweet deal”. Can you tell me what the costs were to Gardner this year to earn that tax revenue? Did we lose money? This is an absolutely serious question.

  27. Chris Morrow says:

    Dust in the wind – Cities don’t sell a product but they can and in some cases should sell themselves. If companies relocate to a city they will pay property tax and if it’s retail business they will pay sales tax as well. I don’t think there are any agencies abating sales tax dollars are there? So … new development should mean increased revenue, whcih while not exactly like sales still fills the coffers.

    Of course our city doesn’t seem to have a plan for community development, and they cut the Community Development staff in what appears to be an arbitrary fashion. Do we need to make cuts? You betcha! We also need to look to the future though, and how we will raise revenue while maintaining Gardner’s appeal and not giving away the farm.

    I am fascinated btw at the insinuation that Dave Drovetta is Gardner Pride.

  28. Yeah, the citizens lost money this year to the tune of over $500,000 that went into Paul Licuasi’s pocket or some other special interests’ pcokets and it will continue for 10 years.

    For one one thing the taxpayers have had to spend how many dollars on the intersection of 175th St. and Highway 56 getting ready for those trucks to start rolling thru that intersection with their wide turns, we will have to pay for a light at that corner, we will probably have who knows what in other road maintenance costs, we will have more truck traffic and its pollution to contend with from that project, we will have to provide them with police and fire protection, how much will we get hit for other infrastructure costs???????? I would say plenty. These are just a few items that come to my mind in about 1 minute. Then we will have social costs to pay for those who are working in that warehouse who don’t make enough to live on or receive any health benefits and we will be hit with huge medical costs for those getting sick from the pollution and the costs never end.

    I recall when the city of Gardner was first negotiating this sweet deal with Licausi and he said something to the effect of: “The city of Gardner and myself have a wonderful working relationship”. I would say it was too if I was him – an over $500,000 dollar a year wonderful working relationship, availability of financing to the tune of $51 MILLION and with rock bottom interest costs as starters plus, I am sure, more tax credits, etc. at the state level.

    Drovetta will have us surrounded with trucks and warehouses and if he gets his way the citizens will be paying higher and higher taxes due to his sweet deals that he loves to give to big biz, developers and other special interests. Our mill levy will probably be double or be close to double of what Overland Park’s is or will be and we will be living in the cesspool of an environment.

    No need to give sweet deals on these warehouses since they are already saving big bucks being close to that horror story railyard to come and if they don’t want to come without their sweet deals, then it is fine with me and I will have less of their mess and high costs to contend with. Drovetta and his kind will sell the people down the river and give you a higher tax bill and a lousy place to live if you allow him to do so by keep electing him and his kind into office.

  29. Chris Morrow says:

    I would also be the first to admit that the Community Development department needed to be cut, it did not, however, need to be gutted.

  30. Chris Morrow: Companies coming here will pay property taxes, that is if your worthless politicians don’t cut them a sweet deal. I don’t know that they will be paying much in the form of income taxes and other types of taxes since the worthless politicians here in Kansas have given them so many credits, abatements, incentives, etc. that Kansas is now No. 5 of all of the states for a favorable environment for business. Your lovely Kiegerl, Brownlee and the rest of the lot who come to Topeka for about 5 months out of the year have been taking very good care of business while cutting your services and giving you higher costs every which way you turn including the lovely sales tax increase that went into effect July 1, 2010.

    Retail companies don’t pay sales tax – the citizens pay sales tax. All those companies do is collect sales tax, send it to the state who then, in turn, distribute the funds to the different government entities.

    What the Sam Hill do you think is happening to all of the sales tax that is collected by Walmart here in Gardner. All of those sales tax dollars go to pay for the TIF – the citizens won’t see any of those sales tax dollars for years and even now your lovely city was wanting to take another loan against that debt to extend even further your loss of sales tax dollars.

    The sweet deal your City Hall was ready to give to Lowe’s certainly would have resulted in the loss of sales tax dollars. Lowe’s wanted us to pay around $4 MILLION (probably over $6 MILLION for us to borrow that much money and pay interest) for their development costs that they didn’t want to pay. The city was going to use the sales tax that the citizens paid at that store to pay for that debt and for those costs that Lowe’s wanted us to absorb instead of them. You wouldn’t have seen those sales dollars also for years and years.

    Your representatives are screwing you every which they can and making you like it and the sheeple just keep going along with the program. And if you go along with that baloney of we have got to cut this sweet deal with this retail company because it will bring more development then, in my opinion, you love getting screwed and paying higher taxes. I have heard the Lehman/Drovetta propaganda for so many years I could vomit as they thumb their nose at me and put dollar bills in the pockets of the big boy cronies.

  31. Chris: Figures do not lie – building permits were in the range of 250, 400 or higher and last year they were down to 40. Come on, Chris, that community development department had very little work and as far as I am concerned much of the work Sherman was doing from 2005 forward was killing me………..that fast talking arrogant individual made me mad just listening to him and all of his smart remarks about the citizens of Gardner. I see where he is in N.Y. recently enjoying a Yankees game – he can stay in N.Y. as far as I am concerned – he is not suffering any and I am sure his wife as Olathe Asst. City Mgr. is bringing home enough bacon to keep the bills paid – much unlike how many people are suffering.

  32. We were talking earlier about the costs for citizens to get public info. The state of Kansas and the federal government provide campaign finance information on websites free to the citizens and available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

    If Newby and the Commissioners were thinking about the people, I believe they would be scanning those reports the day after they are due and posting them on the election office’s website for all to see and utilize that same day. That is government for the people, of the people and for the people. Lower costs and better government – how unique!!!! I shouldn’t have to be paying $10 or $31.50 for this info – it should be free and available to me instantly on a website. And I shouldn’t have to be filling out an Open Records form to see this info in my estimation if I don’t have to do it for the state and federal levels.

    The last I heard Drovetta never has come clean about the flyers the Seniors for Lower Taxes sent out for him in the last election since that has never been shown on campaign finance reports to my knowledge as it should. Hey, Big Dave, who are the people behind the Seniors for Lower Taxes???? You surely know who sent these out in your behalf. Give me some of that transparent government you talk about.

    Around the first of July this year I was reviewing some on line reports showing costs that lobbyists had paid wining and dining the worthless politicians at the state level in the months of April and May 2007. Good ole Peter Solie was up in Topeka and he showed his cost of $9.23 time after time after time (I never got thru all the entries of his) that he spent for a “snack” for this politician and another and another and another. Always the same old $9.23 snack for months of March and April 2007. I thought to myself I would have loved to see his expense account for the Gardner Chamber of Commerce for those months to see if they matched up.

    Politics is a dirty, rotten game and the people suffer from it so. Campaign finance reform at all levels of government should be high on the priority list of any citizen in my opinion.

    But here locally I believe the citizens should be demanding that some money should be spent for them. And that is to require that all Council work sessions and Council meetings be videotaped and put on the city’s website for any citizen to review at their convenience. The way it stands right now citizens don’t have a clue as to what is being done and said at these meetings. I would do the same with Planning Commission and Electric Board meetings. I had to lobby years for that service from the County and they fought it for years and now they crow about it as something they brought about – love those politicians. Instead of giving out the next handout to the thieves, give the people something they want and could use to protect their interests.

  33. Have been working more on the campagin finance records filed with the Johnson County Election Office. I believe some great news is coming on this issue – stay tuned!!!!!!!!!!

  34. You keep hearing how development will reduce your taxes. Here is an e-mail I got about the city of Elwood, Ill. which has a lovely BNSF intermodal. Look what has happened to the tax rates since 2001 there. Think you will be better off????

    ***********************

    Sent: Friday, May 28, 2010 2:15 PM
    Subject: Village of Elwood tax rates from tax year 2001 through and including tax year 2009

    Here are the tax rates you asked for on the phone earlier today.

    VILLAGE OF ELWOOD TAX RATES FROM TAX YEARS 2001 – 2009

    YEAR
    RATE

    2001
    0.0704

    2002
    0.1300

    2003
    0.1197

    2004
    0.1158

    2005
    0.2092

    2006
    0.2019

    2007
    0.2701

    2008
    0.2559

    2009
    0.2547

    Please feel free to call back if you have any further questions.

    Sincerely,

    Ellen Wandless

    Tax Extension Department

    Will County Clerk’s Office

    815/740-4628

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