July 30, 2014

LETTER TO EDITOR: Paper misrepresented school board’s actions

Ron Ragan
USD 231 Board President

I believe in truth in journalism so let me set the record straight.  Contrary to the editorial in Wednesday’s edition (July 14), the school district and board did actively participate in discussions regarding the Logistics Park and associated abatements and industrial revenue bonds (IRBs).  Those discussions were held directly with local officials in Edgerton and in Gardner prior to that.  In fact, both Superintendent Bill Gilhaus and I met directly with Mayor Don Roberts and Mr. David Dillner, Edgerton City Administrator, months ago to discuss what we considered were excessive abatements and provided them with correspondence as well indicating such.

All parties involved are and have been aware well prior to the “11th hour” of the school district’s position regarding the abatements.  It is also important to note, right or wrong, that even though the school district is the largest taxing entity in both Edgerton and Gardner, the school district has NO vote whatsoever regarding any abatements…ever.  Did we show up en masse at council meetings with torches blazing? No.  Were we involved?  Yes.

All it would have taken is a simple phone call from The Gardner News to me or anyone on the board to find out what action had been taken.  Instead of making that call The Gardner News chose to assume USD 231 had not taken action regarding the abatements. In regard to how USD 231 manages taxpayer dollars, I happen to think we do an excellent job.  While other districts are making large cuts to their teaching staff and programs due to massive cuts in state funding, USD 231 is not.  We will keep teachers in the classrooms.

I am proud of the job everyone in this district does providing the very best education possible for the children of USD 231 and I think our test scores and numerous other result indicators provide evidence of a job well done thank you very much. The next time you are looking for someone to carry the torch for YOUR battle let me know, but in the meantime at a bare minimum you owe Dr. Gilhaus and the entire school board an apology for grossly misrepresenting our actions.  You owe it to everyone else to at all times print the truth, not what you “think” you know.

Comments

  1. gardner2 says:

    Thanks Ron for the clarification. I hope you could answer a question, did at any time, you or members of the Board question the apparently low numbers supplied of projected student growth to the City of Edgerton? What was their reaction?

  2. Any estimates on what this will do to patrons taxes? What is the board doing to offset the expense?

  3. Well, the School Board does not want to be held accountable so they knock the Gardner News. How often does some entity want to find a scapegoat for their own shortcomings????? You see it every day.

    Our school district has had the highest mill levy in the whole state of Kansas for years. Our school district is loaded with administrators compared to other districts with more than double our student population. Time and time again I have not seen the fiscal responsibility that was needed just like I have not seen it at the city level. Most of the time I have seen the city and the school district being run in the same manner which has adversely affected the families of this area.

    Our school district, the ONLY ONE IN JOHNSON COUNTY, is in the process of suing the people for more money using our tax dollars to do so. We are in times now that have been the worst in probably 70 years but does the School Board recognize that or recognize how our families are struggling so now – I have to question that when they pretty much say we want more money and that is the bottom line – I don’t care if you have a problem in coming up with that money – I just want my money so I can run the district how I want. Bull hockey!!!! These are tough times and ALL need to be working together to be solving big problems.

    Do I believe the school district has been doing all that it could have been doing for years on these abatements, TIFs, etc., etc. No, I don’t. They have been playing the political games just like all of the other worthless politicians. It has taken me five long years to see that and I have tried time and time again to get them to do the right thing and to stand up for the right thing, but they still will not go to the lengths they need to go to fully protect the people. They want their cake and eat it too. It tain’t going to happen. They want to be politically correct and look like the protector of the people’s interests and the two won’t mix.

    The people need to find decent people to run for office and support them. We need people in our city government and the school board who will actually work for the people – not some person to fill a seat and rubber stamp everything placed before them -anyone can do that – we need people doing more than just showing up. The school board and the city can send me all the glossy flyers they want telling me what a great job they are doing but they aren’t going to solve the major problems we have due to years of political manipulation and games being played resulting in cronyism government which certainly doesn’t do a thing for the betterment of our community.

    Ron, you and the rest of the school board need to get your priorities in order just like the city needs to do and every person on the school board and the city council better stop going along to get along and actually start doing the job the people elected them to do. Not an easy one by far but certainly one you need to be held accountable for rather than finding some scapegoat. The people will support anyone in office if they are fighting for them and making good choices but I think the people have had it with worthless politcians who do not want to be held accountable, talk out of both sides of their mouth and give the people lip service instead of good management based on sound moral values of honesty, integrity, ethics, character, etc.

  4. In all fairness this financial raping that is occurring is not just something to dump in the lap of the School Board only. For the past 5 years you have had worthless politicians and city administrations in Gardner and Edgerton and beyond giving these handouts to the thieves who do not deserve them. This year you will lose over $500,000 in tax revenue on the sweel deal given to Paul Licausi/Coleman/Midwest Commerce and that is just for one year. Your worthlesss politicians handed out that one too and how did your School District respond to that deal? Then you have the 70% tax incentive that was given to Tom Mertz/TradeNet with him being a past School Board president, the horrific Walmart TIF, the 21 business owners along Main St. Gardner who have the people subsidizing them, the Kimberly-Clark deal, another handout to Lowe’s that was almost completed but the terrible economy stopped that one and it once again was a deal where this corporate entity wanted the people to pay for their development costs.

    The people have had about the worst representation they could have and yet they are responsible for it since they keep electing these jaybirds into office and not holding anyone responsible. Like I have said, you can send me all the glossy flyers you want but they aren’t worth the paper they are printed on as far as I am concerned. More political propaganda bringing me an ever increasing tax bill every which way I turn, bigger debt which we can’t afford to pay, cuts in services and destroying my quality of life and adversely affecting my health. Not a square deal for me – an average citizen and taxpayer.

  5. Looks like Mr. Ragan is sensitive. Rather than yelling and wringing your hands, what are you doing to protect us from a huge tax increase? Can you sue Edgerton or TheAllen Group?

  6. @judith says:

    Judith – do you ever comment anything positive? Your ranting is ridiculous. This school district is by far one of the best in the state. No – I do not work for the district, but I have a student in the district and her education is a top priority. Fortunately, we have been blessed with excellent educators and administrators who have taken care of our young people. The graduating class this year received over $70,000 in scholarships due to their hard work and dedication in the class room. I know that my daughter is receiving a superior education – by far better than the education I received and the top district in the state back in the day. I believe the district is working towards what is best for all – the students, the staff, & the community.
    Judith – try finding something positive and constructive to use to make the changes you want instead of constantly beating everyone in the community down.

  7. Evidently you did not read the article recently submitted by a student who goes to Gardner High School who stated she faces kids sleeping in class, they aren’t doing their homework but instead are copying info from the internet, etc. and how disheartened she gets. You have bought into the glossy flyer info that the School Board and your city of Gardner are good about sending to you at taxpayer expense. And what you don’t get fed to you by mail they will give you some more propaganda to read on a website or at their meetings. You might want to look at how many of these kids are attending alt school or barely passing or not passing and many who do graduate aren’t even capable of holding a job or perhaps even filling out an application for employment. Look at the worldwide standings on education and see how far the U.S. has slipped.

    You can happy talk all you want but I think it is time you got down to facts and the truth. Talk to many employers and find out if these kids graduating from high school have the skills to hold a job.

    Dollars will not bring you the best education but our School Board sure believes that and many citizens evidently do too. Now if you think your School Board and their administration aren’t playing politics to the hilt, that is your choice but myself after years of dealing with them, I do not believe that. The worthless politicians are not working for you and as I have said before, the evidence is in an ever increasing tax bill, cuts in services, propaganda instead of actions based on honesty, integrity, ethics, etc. You get the government you deserve.

  8. Ron Ragan says:

    Dear Gardner2,

    During the public hearing on Wednesday, July 8th the Edgerton City Council was made aware of the school district’s concerns regarding the projected student enrollment growth reflected in the cost benefit analysis. In regard to their reaction, they listened and asked several questions. If they had a question specifically related to the difference in projections it should be available in the minutes of that meeting. You might check with the City of Edgerton. As with all projections there will be differences. Our projections are based primarily on the actual growth we have seen over the past few years. Thank you for your question.

  9. Ron Ragan says:

    Dear Wendy,

    Without question student enrollment in USD 231 will increase as a result of the Logistics Park/Intermodal Project. Along with those additional students will come the need for teachers, classroom space, instructional materials, etc. The challenge facing the district and taxpayers is that a large portion of the tax revenue from the project will be abated for a ten year period of time yet we will be enrolling students as soon as the project begins development. We are currently experiencing significant cuts from funding via the State of Kansas which have forced us in turn to make cuts even without this project. We have done so with every effort to minimize the impact on the classroom. Those cuts have been outlined at our meetings and are available for review. It is difficult to identify the impact on taxes until the project is under development and we see the actual enrollment increases, but we will make every effort to minimize the impact on taxpayers and make adjustments necessary to operate within our means. Thanks for your question.

  10. gardner2 says:

    Mr Regan, Thanks for the response. So you say July 8th was the day the City of Edgerton was aware of USD’s concerns. Were these concerns not voiced before? You said in your letter to the editor it was but when?

    I think the School Board would have garnered a lot of support from the community had we been aware the USD’s concerns before.

  11. Ron Ragan says:

    Dear @judith,

    Thank you for your kind comments and support of USD 231. We continue to focus our efforts on improving the district and our student’s test scores across all schools are evidence of that success. The success of this or any district is most evident through the success of its students. I hope your daughter reaches every goal she has for her education!

  12. Ron Ragan says:

    Dear Gardner 2,

    July 8th was when the CBA was available indicating the study’s projections comparatively to our projections for growth. We have had ongoing communication with city administration beginning in the Fall of 2009 regarding our concerns related to the abatements. I hope that clarifies my answer. I would be glad to meet with you personally if you would like to discuss further.

  13. I had the benefit analysis reports on July 2 and the School Board has known about the tremendous loss of school tax dollars on this project for YEARS and I have the e-mails to prove it. Read the written reply that the School Board gave to the city of Edgerton with respect to the tax incentive on this project and see how forceful you think it is – when I read it, I sure don’t get the feeling that the School Board is doing much to protect the families of this school district. I just keep reading the bull hockey of how they want to work with these cities. Yeah, right, they want to work with the worthless politicians but they don’t want to work FOR the families they represent.

    I am sick up to my eyeballs with all of the political lip service that is given to the people but, of course, that is evident in my writing.

  14. I also want to bring out another political game that is played. How many times have I heard a politician say, like Ron Ragan, has now stated again: “I would be glad to meet with you personally if you would like to discuss further.” or “I would like to meet with you personally.” They never want to discuss an issue in an open forum, they prefer to discuss an issue with a one on one basis so they can deny something in the future if they so choose – one person’s word against another. Just like when the Kimberly-Clark tax incentive was on the table and the School Board said they advised the County they were adverse to the incentive and the County stated the School was not adverse to the incentive – now somebody is lying in my opinion. He said and she said – that is why you demand that issues be discussed in an open forum and why politicians will go to great lengths to avoid those types of meetings and, in fact, they absolutely don’t allow them to occur in most instances. The people were not even allowed to speak ONE word at the intermodal review committee meetings back in 2006 that were directed by Drovetta and when it was finalized they were only allowed 3 minutes to make a comment. So much for your transparent government.

  15. Here is an e-mail I sent to Lee Metcalfe who heads the Jo. Co. Industrial Airport facility on June 20, 2007 with respect to the Kimberly-Clark tax incentive:

    Sent: Wednesday, June 20, 2007 10:51 AM
    To: Metcalfe, Lee, AIR
    Subject: Re: Tax Incentive Policy

    Thank you for sending me a copy of this incentive policy.

    I did have some questions with respect to the recent tax incentive received by Kimberly-Clark and they are:

    1. Did Enterprise Zone Benefits under Section 2-c apply to this incentive?

    2. Did Kimberly-Clark get a financial incentive from KC Power & Light as provided under Section 2-d?

    3. Under the Procedure Section it indicates the Airport Commission will seek comments from the Board of USD 231 in writing. With respect to the Kimberly-Clark incentive I would appreciate receiving a copy of the written request to the Board and also a copy of their written reply.

    Thank you in advance for your help in this matter.

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

    Here is Mr. Metcalfe’s reply to me:

    I believe Kimberly Clark has applied for the sales tax exemption. This is being handled by an attorney that they retained. We are not a party to the application. All they need from us is a copy of the Board of County Commission resolution authorizing the industrial revenue bonds, which they received.

    I do not know whether Kimberly Clark has applied for the KCPL incentive. We would not be a party to that application.

    I will have to contact our attorney to get a copy of the letter that was sent to the school district. I apparently didn’t keep a copy. I can tell you that we did not receive a written response from the school district. I know they received the notice, as I spoke to Dr. Gilhaus about it. He indicated to me that the school district would not be responding. The school board does not have veto power on tax abatements associated with industrial revenue bonds, as they do for their portion of the mill levy in a TIF situation.

    I will forward the school district letter to you when I get it from our attorney.

    Lee

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

    Now, citizens, you determine whether your School Board has been working for your interests. They at least now, I believe send a luke warm letter to the worthless politicians stating the people will be adversely affected by the tax incentive they are more than ready to give to the thieves, but I don’t think much more. Everyone can do their own research and come to their own conclusions just as I have. I just know the people are getting financially raped with all of the loss of tax revenue by all of the tax incentives, tax abatements, tax credits, tax refunds, TIFs, sales tax exemptions and transferred to private entities to pay for their wants, straight handouts like BNSF is now getting their $35 MILLION from the people of Kansas, etc., etc. and all brought to you via wortheless politicians at every level of government. This is what happens when you work for the bureaucrats and they aren’t working FOR YOU.

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

    Here is the incentive policy that Mr. Metcalfe sent me in June 2007. These incentives perhaps have changed since then but I highly doubt it unless to perhaps give more incentives or larger ones. The special interests who you subsidize up the gut are well taken care of by the politicians in my opinion. I like how they only have to provide 2 or 5 jobs to get these incentives – what a deal for all they get. Also want to remind you that Kimberly-Clark said if they didn’t get what they wanted here in Jo. County, they would go to North Kansas City – I always love how the politicians allow the blackmail – people who are involved in blackmail in normal life go to prison. I also like how they can carry their tax credits over years until they get every dollar they can get.

    Economic Development Incentives Program

    It is the policy of the Johnson County Airport Commission to consider financial incentives to projects that stimulate economic growth and development expand and diversify the tax base and create new employment opportunities.

    The purpose of this policy is to define the financial incentives, to establish the standards by which they will be implemented by the Airport Commission, and provide an application process under which incentives will be considered. The establishment of a new business or the expansion of an existing business may be considered for financial incentives.

    Policy:

    1. To qualify for financial incentives, the project shall meet the following criteria:

    a. Manufacturing firms must create two (2) or more full-time jobs and other non-retail firms must create five (5) or more full-time jobs at the time the new or expanded business begins operations.

    b. The project must not be in conflict with any other established County policy, plan, or procedure.

    c. The entity developing the project must demonstrate the financial capacity to complete the project.

    d. No abatements shall be considered for an intra-county relocation, unless all of the following occur: (1) the applicant can demonstrate that it has exhausted all options at its current location, (2) the city wherein the company is currently located provides a letter stating that it has been unable to negotiate an arrangement satisfactory to the company, and (3) the company provides documentation that it has been offered a site outside of Johnson County. The Airport Commission shall not recruit from or “bid” against any city within Johnson County for a business relocation or expansion by a Johnson County business.

    2. Financial Incentives Potentially Available to Qualified Projects

    a. Property Tax Abatement

    The Airport Commission may consider property tax abatements as provided for under Kansas statutes. The Airport Commission may, at its discretion, determine the amount of abatement and the number of years for which abatement will be granted after considering the net impact upon the County. The cost-benefit analysis will include, but not be limited to, the project’s impact in terms of the diversification of economy and tax base, creation of jobs, quality of life, meeting the strategic objectives of the Airport Commission versus the overall cost of the project to the individual taxing entities, including both the Airport Commission and school district.

    Any abatement that may be approved for the expansion of an existing business shall apply only to the increased value as a result of the expansion. The existing facility is not eligible for abatement.

    b. Industrial Revenue Bonds

    The Airport Commission may authorize the issuance of Private Activity Bonds (IRB’s) when such action would benefit the County by providing for net new jobs and diversifying the local economy. For projects which qualify per federal standards, the Airport Commission may issue tax-exempt IRB’s which provide for additional cost-savings to the client.

    c. Enterprise Zone Benefits

    1. A sales tax exemption on construction materials and services and on machinery and equipment.

    2. A one-time credit against the firm’s Kansas income tax liability of $1,000 for each $100,000 of qualified investment.

    3. A one-time credit against the firm’s Kansas income tax liability of $1,500 for each job created.

    Note: The combined income tax credits may not exceed 50% of the firm’s Kansas income tax liability in any given year. Any unused portion of credit may be carried over into succeeding years until the total credit is used.

    d. Utility Based Economic Development Incentives

    Kansas City Power & Light Company may provide a direct financial incentive to new and existing businesses which qualify based on their electric demand usage as outlined below:

    Economic Development Rider (New Customers)

    New customers having a demand usage of eighty (80) kilowatts or more will be eligible for a 25% reduction of the above demand charge and kilowatt hour charge for the first year of service, a 20% reduction the second year of service, a 15% reduction the third year of service, 10% reduction the fourth year, and a 5% reduction the fifth year of service.

    After the fifth year of service, the normal rates for the class of customer shall apply.

    Other Incentives

    The Airport Commission may, at its discretion, add to the incentives contained within this policy.

    Procedure:

    1. Application Process

    a. The project developer or firm must apply to the Airport Commissionfor approval of the financial incentives desired.
    b. The application shall provide a project summary sufficient to provide a thorough understanding of the proposed project. This shall include estimated project size and cost, industry description, and number of jobs created.

    c. A cost-benefit analysis shall be completed by staff to document the project’s potential overall worthiness to the County over a period of ten years.

    The analysis which takes into consideration the overall costs to the Airport Commission will include, but is not limited to, any direct financial participation and tax abatements requested for the project.

    The benefits to the Airport Commission considered will include, but is not limited to, net increased property tax revenues, sales tax revenues and utility revenues. The analysis may also evaluate the benefit to the County in terms of the firm’s average employee wage level, standard industry classification, and potential for continued future growth at the New Century AirCenter either directly by the firm or through attraction of other businesses which support the operations of the firm.

    d. Should tax abatements be considered, the Airport Commission will seek comment from the Board of U.S.D. 231 in writing. The Airport Commission that will allow for an analysis of the project’s impact on the district shall give the school district.

    2. The Airport Commission may approve the amount and length of tax abatement and other incentives deemed appropriate for the project proposed. The Johnson County Board of Commissioners must approve all incentive packages that include tax abatements

  16. Mr. Ragan, I’m glad the district voiced the concern July 8, but are you saying concern was voiced before and Edgerton ignored it? Why did they wait so late to figure out it would hurt the district and why didnt you make that info public? What are your plans regarding future abatements and what are you doing to help us with taxes?

  17. Wendy, I would suggest you or any other citizen would make the short drive to Edgerton, complete the Open Records Act form and request ALL (going back however long in order to get all info) correspondence from and to the USD 231 School Distrct and/or Board with respect to this project, incentive, or anything to do with that project. Might cost you a few bucks but I wouldn’t think any exorbinant amount would be involved unless they want to hassle you. Then you could review the info and make the information available under this article for all to see and consider if you so choose. I would do it myself but I am not up to making the trip and also I only have $60 in my checking account until my next social security check comes in about 3 three weeks. I have spent many dollars on getting information so I will have another citizen contribute to the cause of transparent government. Right now I am spending my available monthly dollars working on getting copies of testimony at a state legislative committee meeting that our lovely politicians and their supporters attended and that one will cost me a few bucks.

  18. Ron Ragan says:

    Wendy,

    I haven’t said that the City of Edgerton ignored how the abatement affects the school. You’d have to ask them their thoughts on how this abatement impacts the school district. In all fairness to the City of Edgerton, how it impacts the district is just one piece of the puzzle they had to look at. There were many factors they had to consider. Regarding future abatements, it is important to note that the school district has NO vote regarding this abatement or any future abatements according to State Law. I think that fact has confused many people since the school district does have a vote when it comes to TIF’s. Abatements seem to have become somewhat of a normal course of business not just impacting this district, but districts across the country. Some towns actually have blanket abatements for some development projects that are offered and don’t require a vote, but in any case we have no vote regarding abatements. Those are voted on by the cities or other entities that the abatements apply to. The parties responsible do have to make the school aware of the abatements. Please feel free to contact me if you’d like to discuss further. I’d be more than glad to meet with you to discuss any school related issue or any answer any other questions you may have.

  19. Ron you’re in a no win situation with these ladies.

  20. If the School Board is going to use taxpayer money to sue the people for more money, I would much prefer they use taxpayer money to sue the city of Edgerton, the Allen Group and BNSF for an incentive plan that will take millions of school tax dollars from the district’s families. That would be a much more reasonable plan of action in my opinion. If they and the people were successful in that lawsuit, the financial raping the city and other politicians are bringing to their people might be stopped.

  21. I’m less concerned with findig fault than finding solutions. I don’t know who can and who can’t vote for these abatements, but I’m sure district has some voice in getting their share of the money. If not, what are you there for? My taxes keep going up. Gardner blames Edgerton. The distict blames the newspaper. Everybody blames the state, but they all come begging for more of my money.

  22. Ron, I would highly recommend you get informed and educated on the process of these tax incentives, TIFs, etc. and how they affect you and how your city is run and hold the proper people accountable by voting responsibly and speaking out on important issues. If you don’t, you will see an ever increasing tax bill, cuts in services and other adverse affects – that is my solution for you.

  23. What gets me is they want more money but the kids are always out of school. I don’t even know how many days they are off, but every other week there’s some kind of teacher holiday. And they nickle and dime you to death. Just wait, it’s about sign up time, and they’ll want towel fees, book fees, and every other thing. and for the little ones its always kleenex. No way do they use all that kleenex but they always want more. every little thing they need special supplies, paper, whatever. Always with a hand out making the kids sell candy for something. and its never there fault. they just sit up there making fat change and crying they want more. we are there subjects.

  24. Jayz, they are not just crying for more money, they are suing you for more money and using your tax dollars to pay the attorney fees.

  25. they don’t even have e mail. look at the web site and try to contact somebody; it’s all screened.

  26. Blame everybody says:

    The truth don’t matter to these people, Ron. they just want an excuse to blame everyone else for what they think are their problems

  27. they have this great little photo on the web, but no e mail. who are these people? No phone numbers either. No elections til 2011, so what do they care? Kids graduated from our school? retire.

  28. Eyewitness says:

    Ron…
    Of course you won’t be able to finish a conversation with Judith, but it’s nice of you to try. The real source of the problem here is the arrogance of the superintendent and some board members of USD 231. There is far too much secrecy and ‘we know better’ coming from the office of the district’s leader. You are maybe willing to sit and listen and explain, but it is no secret that Mr. Gilhaus is not. Board minutes are ‘published’ several months after the fact. Teachers and parents are left guessing…which leads to bitterness and conjecture…because of the apparent ‘I know better than you do’ stance that he takes. It’s disappointing that you don’t see through this. And that you are so closely associated with him personally as well as professionally. It seems that the relationship between the superitendent and the school board president should have a bit more formality in order for the best interest of the kids of this community to benefit.

    There are many issues that are ‘unspoken’ in this district. For example, do the constituents know that there are annexes being placed at Moonlight Elementary due to overcrowding? And that a change of boundary lines could benefit this school greatly? And maybe save the cost of these annexes?

    Truly – test scores don’t benefit these children who need smaller class sizes. They sure look good for the superintendent and school board. But they do nothing for the kids who need personal attention. Personal attention isn’t a priority of the leaders, it seems.

  29. Gardner Pride says:

    This was Wikipedia’s Feature Article today, and I would have sworn it was the entry for Judith Rogers:

    Confirmation bias is a tendency for people to favor information that confirms their preconceptions, independently of whether they are true. As a result, people gather new evidence and recall information from memory selectively, and interpret it in a biased way. The biases appear in particular for emotionally significant issues and for established beliefs. Biased search, interpretation and/or recall have been invoked to explain attitude polarization (when a disagreement becomes more extreme even though the different parties are exposed to the same evidence), belief perseverance (when beliefs persist after the evidence for them is shown to be false), the irrational primacy effect (a stronger weighting for data encountered early in an arbitrary series) and illusory correlation (in which people falsely perceive an association between two events or situations). Explanations for the observed biases include wishful thinking and the limited human capacity to process information. Confirmation biases contribute to overconfidence in personal beliefs and can maintain or strengthen beliefs in the face of contrary evidence.

  30. I disagree that I cherry pick the information that I want to give to others to consider. I most certainly was very open by posting the e-mails with Lee Metcalfe with respect to the Kimberly-Clark tax incentive, printing the tax incentive in place for the Johnson County Industrial Airport that was in place in 2007 and other documentation that I have presented. Also please remember that I encourage citizens practically every day to do their own research and not just rely on my statements or opinions. I very much want independent thinkers within the community and people not buying into the rampant use of propaganda used by many, many entities and through so many sources in today’s world of mass communication.

    I did want to post this article from the Business Journal that came thru today with respect to Kimblerly-Clark ever increasing profits. Again, I will state they can well afford to pay their FULL TAXES just as average citizens do and they need to fully be a partner in meeting the needs of the communities in which they are present – I see no reason why they by way of worthless politicians should be transferring their tax burden to me or any other citizen. They are a private company just like I am a private individual and all need to be meeting their financial responsibilities in my opinion.

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

    Kimberly-Clark’s income rises 23.7 percent
    Dallas Business Journal – by Kerri Panchuk Web Reporter

    Kimberly Clark Corp.
    Huggies and tissue maker Kimberly Clark Corp. saw its profit grow 23.7 percent in the second quarter.

    The company’s profit growth is partly attributed to new sales that resulted from Kimberly’s acquisition of I-Flow Corp. and Jackson Safety.

    Irving-based Kimberly Clark (NYSE: KMB) posted earnings of $523 million, or $1.20 per share, on revenue of $4.857 billion. That is up from a profit of $430 million, or 97 cents per share, on revenue of $4.727 billion.

    During the same period, Kimberly-Clark repurchased $350 million worth in common stock to reward shareholders with higher dividends.

    Product sales in personal care and health care rose more than 2 percent during the period.

    Kimberly-Clark ended the quarter with $587 million in cash. That is down from $997 million last year due to an increase in working capital.

  31. Still no answer as to what the school board will do to stop the tax increase.

  32. The school board brings out the point they do not have the power to nix a tax incentive but they have further stated they do have the power to nix a TIF. Sure wish they would have nixed that Walmart TIF but instead the people are picking up the tab for around $6.5 MILLION and I would say most of that for Walmart’s benefit who are the richest retailer in the U.S. or perhaps the world – why should we be subsidizing their kaboodies? What is the School Board’s reasoning for approving that TIF? On top of that the city had to make the declaration that the land on which Walmart is on was blighted – I don’t know of any property in Johnson County in my opinion that is blighted. It would have been way cheaper for the people to continue to utilize the Olathe Walmart for shopping when they were making a trip to Olathe for other reasons – way, way cheaper. That’s why Walmart always wants a TIF wherever they are planning to put a store – why should they pay for development costs if they can get the people to pay for it. If and when Walmart ever sells that property, do you think they will be giving us back our contribution plus interest – ha!!!!! – what a joke.

  33. Gardner Pride says:

    On a more serious point Judith, do you ever see a time where TIF’s and their counterparts will not be a part of American business. Unfortunately, they are so ingrained into the corporate world that no city could refuse to participate and expect to compete for these sort of business opportunities. Were Gardner to put their foot down and say NO MORE, we would simply be overlooked by every large business entity in the world. We would become irrelevant. I agree that they have gone to far, and too much of the burden rest of the tax payer shoulders, but how can that be reversed at this juncture? Personally, I believe it would take a nationwide act by Congress to revoke this sort of funding, which would never happen because big business equals big political donations and lobbyists. So we are stuck with this sort of system, and we are now forced to find the ways to work as efficiently as possible, while staying competitive. I think Gardner has stayed competitive (mostly), but we have not done so efficiently.

  34. It is hard to do the right thing, isn’t it? It takes character and people doing the right thing. How out of vogue are those things? Very much and that is why the people are facing some very tough times. I say making a difference starts with each individual and each government entity.

    As I have stated before my research in Will County, Ill. where the Elwood intermodal is located is a suburban area much like Johnson County. You have all the same suburban cities in the area like we have. The cities giving all the handouts, TIFs, abatements, etc. carried a much higher mill levy than those who didn’t or controlled their exposures. The average citizen will pay a higher tax bill when you have to subsidize the takers – no doubt in my mind on that one. It is expensive to take care of the takers.

    I think every child has been told by their parents somewhere along the line that I don’t care what other kids are doing, we have certain rules in this household and we will abide those rules and decisions made for the betterment of our family. The time has come for cities to be thinking in the same manner – you have to have the self-confidence and the character to say what other cities are doing is their business but we are going to operate in a different manner. We put the welcome mat out for any business that is not a detriment to the people in any way and who are willing to pay their full taxes, not be asking for handouts or subsidies and who want to be FULL PARTNERS with the average citizens in this city who will gladly buy their products and/or services if they are good and at an affordable price. The citizens will also be an asset for your company as employees since they are intelligent, hard working and loyal. To get those kinds of employees there is a high cost of education and these companies have got to pay their full taxes and pay their fair share just like our citizens do for those educational costs and every other service that a city provides.

    So I say let all the cities around us give the subsidies and if business wants to go there, then that is their decision. Our citizens will still be close enough to commute for jobs or shopping but they are going to get hit with the high costs of paying their taxes and some other entity’s taxes or subsidizing them even more in other ways such as paying their development costs for these companies who always want the “deal”. Let us be a bedroom community and if necessary, control growth like I have seen Boulder, Co. do on more than one occasion. And remember retail will come where the rooftops are because they can make money but I see no reason to pay their development costs or any other subsidizing and I would in no way be offering any company IRBs unless they agree to pay 100% of their property taxes. Those big retailers run all kinds of reports on what their revenue would be in an area and don’t come unless they can make a profit – they don’t need the citizens to further line their pockets in my opinion.

    Worthless politicians have put their people on “sale” for way too long and myself I have had it with being used and abused and only looked upon as a revenue source. Shut down the open cash register to these companies that will only come if you go along with their blackmail message. I am a real nice person and easy to get along with but I will not allow myself to be taken advantage of and I don’t think the worthless politicians should allow it for their people. A BIG CHANGE needs to be made and I don’t know if the people are up to it but if they don’t make some changes then they will be paying a high price and in many ways. BNSF and the Allen Group now owns Edgerton, Ks. and I certainly did not want that for Gardner citizens but I would feel the same about any company who wants it “My Way”. Opportunities abound for citizens who want to live in Gardner and reputable companies to come here to do business but they need to come as responsible citizens and corporate citizens. I just cannot afford takers and don’t especially want to be living with them.

  35. Wendy. Duh. They’re going to do nothing but ask for more money.

  36. It says on Facebook a city councilman organized free school supplies. Why’s the city doing that while the school board sits on there hands? Mo Money. Mo Money. Mo Money. Thank you city councilman.

  37. And I will say that any Council person to vote for a increase in the mill levy is saying they believe in spending more money than what you have coming in – digging a bigger hole to more debt and/or higher taxes.

  38. Jerry L Kellogg Sr says:

    The annual “Big Tent Event Back to School Bash” has been organized by, and held on the grounds of, the Gardner Church of the Nazarene since 2008, long before its pastor was appointed to the Gardner City Council earlier this year. The church website characterizes the program as “great evening of community, friendship and fun” and includes a free family picnic dinner and free donated school supplies for school age children grades K-4. Music, activities, balloons, prizes and gift certificates are donated by area businesses and organizations. Other than possibly the fire truck on display for the kids to explore, to my knowledge there is no official involvement by any city government or any school district, or should there be, in my opinion.

  39. Ron I am wondering how you and the board justifies Dr. Gilhaus’s salary increase since he began at usd231. I am specifically asking you to post it to show everyone exactly where the money is going. It frankly is disappoining that families in ths community are going to the food pantry weekly and Gilhaus’s pay has increased annually. Just 2 years ago upwards of 20% pay increas wasn’t it??. I haven’t seen this years figures but isn’t he somewhere around $220,000/ year now. Not a bad take nearly $100,000 pay increase in less than 10 years. Please post Dr. Gilhaus salary from his inception to date. I think this community needs a good dose of what really going on.

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