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fall 2008 • Page 2

www.wycokck.org

P r o s p e r i t y , P r o g r e s s , M e m o f r o m t h e M a y o r : W y a n d o t t e C o u n t y UG Raises Minimum Wage K a n s a s C i t , K a n s a s B y M A y o R / C E o J o E R E A R D o n a n d P r i d e A l l G o o d T h i n g s C o m e t o t h The Unified Government Board of Commissioners has made KCK the first city o s e w h o W a i t A f t e r 1 5 l o n g y e a r s o f f i g h t i n g f o r e x p a n d e d g a m i n g , a w o r l d c l a s s c a s i n o i s o n i t s w a y t o W y a n d o t t e C o u n t y . T h e H a r d R o c k C a s i "This step once again shows that this elected body is committed to progressive government that seeks to address the issues affecting families within our com- munity. It is a first in Kansas and a natural next step for Kansas City, Kansas," said Mayor Joe Reardon. n o B y E d w i n B i r c h U n i f i e d G o v e r n m e n t i n K a n s a s t o i n c r e a s e t h e m i n i m u m w a g e f o r w o r k e r s n o t c o v e r e d b y f e d e r a l w a g e s t a n d a r d s . and Resort at the Kansas Speed- way will be the premiere gaming destination in the Midwest. It will be complimented by the Kansas Speedway, Schlitterbahn Vacation Village, Village West and The Leg- ends Shopping and Entertainment District, making KCK and Wyan- dotte County the place for conventions, entertainment, family fun, shopping and dining. The state of Kansas currently has the lowest minimum wage, at $2.65 an hour, among the 45 states that have set a minimum wage. five states in the South have no minimum wage at all. The UG made a bold step by becoming the first mu- nicipality in the state to raise the minimum wage locally to the federal Minimum wage of $6.55 an hour. "our state minimum wage is so low it allows employers to legally pay a rate that keeps people in the state of poverty," said Commission Mike Kane. "I hope the message we send today goes from the east to the west ; that those out west need to think about the people who need this the most. It's not a difficult task. We did it here." Commissioners Mike Kane and Mark Holland led the effort and worked closely with organizations like Raise the Wage Kansas Coalition, State Representatives, and grass roots organizations to get the minimum wage ordinance passed. The action by the Commission occurred on the same day as the federal Minimum wage increased on Thursday. The UG has indexed its minimum wage to continue to rise with the federal minimum wage. The destination casino resort scheduled to fully open in 2011 will bring millions of new visitors to our community and gener- ate an estimated $19-million in new gaming and tax revenues for our local government. I will continue to advocate that new gam- ing revenue should be used to lower property taxes. Property tax reduction remains critical to our success as a community. We have made progress in lowering our tax rate, but more still needs to be done. “We belive it is unfair and unjust for the hard working people of our commu- nity to labor for such a low wage,” Commissioner Mark Holland said. "People in Kansas deserve an opportunity to raise their children and meet their basic needs; people have an opportunity to reach out to the American dream. $2.65 an hour is an embarrassment to all of us." over the last five years, I’ve worked hard with the Unified Gov- ernment Commission to cut property tax rates, and I’m proud to say that we have successfully reduced the combined City/County tax rate by more than 16 percent since 2003. our city/county tax rate is now less than Leavenworth and Topeka. In fact, we are within striking distance of having a property tax rate equal to the largest city in the state: Wichita. Although most employees in Kansas are covered by the federal law, there are certain categories; small businesses, farms, childcare and eldercare workers, and other occupational classifications that are not covered by the fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. This action will impact an estimate 2,300 workers in Kansas City, Kansas.

But I realize as property valuations have risen, many have still seen their tax statements rise. Therefore, we must do better. There are many things we could do with the new casino revenues, but I believe none is more important to our continued success than lowering our property tax rates.

The benefits of the Hard Rock Casino and Resort go far beyond gaming and tax revenues. The casino will create around 2,000 construction jobs over the next couple of years and 2,000-3,000 good paying permanent jobs once the casino resort is open. The Unified Government and Kansas City Kansas Community College having already launched a workforce development program to train workers in the hospitality and retail industry.

Because of the landmark interlocal revenue sharing agreements signed by myself, Edwardsville Mayor Heinz Rodgers and Bonner Springs Mayor Clausie Smith, all three cities will share in the reve- nues produced by the casino even though it is located in KCK. That cooperative revenue agreement will not only produce direct finan- cial benefits for Edwardsville and Bonner Springs, but the citizens of those communities will also reap indirect economic benefits as millions of new people come to Wyandotte County to live, work and play. It reflects a renewed spirit of Wyandotte County working collectively and cooperatively for the benefit of all of our citizens.

More than 80% of Wyandotte County voters approved having a Las Vegas style destination casino resort built in Wyandotte County. The citizens of Wyandotte County can be proud of this develop- ment and the steps taken to make it a reality.

UGTV On The Air

UGTV is the newest television channel in Wyandotte County. UGTV, short for Unified Govern- ment Television, is designed to pro- vide citizens greater accessibility to local governement by producing and distributing information about policies, procedures, resources, ser- vices, programs, local government issues and events via cable televi- sion.

UGTV will work to increase citi- zen awareness, understanding, and participation in all areas of local government; broadcast programs that explain and inform the public about Unified Government services and programs; and provide programming from federal, state and government affiliated agencies of interest or educational value to local citizens.

Some of the shows include, “Community focus with Mayor Joe Reardon” and “Around The District,” a series of talk shows featuring Unified Government Com- missioners and “Wyandotte County Tour,” a video tour profiling and promoting the community..

UGTV airs on Channel 2 on the Time Warner Cable and will be on Channel 25 of Sunflower Cable in western Wyandotte County.

The Citizen is published periodically by the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas, 66101. It is mailed to every residential address in Wyandotte County. Due to postage costs, copies are not mailed outside Wyandotte County. An electronic version is posted on the official Unified Government website at www.wycokck.org.

Comments or questions can be sent to Mike Taylor, Public Relations Director at 913.573.5565 or mtyalor@wycokck.org.

In accordance with the Department of Justice regulations, the Unified Government’s Equal Employment Opportunity Plan (EEOP) is available on the Unified Government’s web page at www.wycokck.org, click on Departments and scroll down to Constituent & Organization Development. For questions regarding this report, please call (913) 573-5474.

Get Wired with The UG

The Unified Government website has a new look and is easier to use. now, ac- cess to important information and services is just three to five clicks away. Just go to www.wycokck.org for everything from meeting agendas, minutes and details about various departments, to paying taxes on-line or filing a complaint or comment with the 3-1-1 Call Center. or take a virtual tour of Wyandotte County through a series of streaming video movies.

for the latest news and information about the Unified Government and Wyan- dotte County, sign-up for the UG Enews Source, a weekly newsletter e-mailed to subscribers. Go to www.wycokck.org and look for the sign-up box.

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