fALL 2008 • Page 6
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money is spent on pages four and five.
To make ends meet in the $259-million budget, the Unified Government was forced to cut mil- lions of dollars in spending. one major reduction is a hiring freeze on all new employees with the exception of essential personnel, including police officers, firefight- ers, paramedics and jail detention officers. other essential personnel such as bus drivers will also be exempted from the hiring freeze.
The Commission is also delay- ing capital improvement construc- tion projects to increase funding for other projects which offer more countywide benefits. Those funds were shifted to street repair, curbs and sidewalks, neighborhood revi- talization initiatives and increased funding to Bonner Springs and Edwardsville under the Countywide Initiative for funding Infrastructure (CIfI) Program.
CIfI funding for Bonner Springs and Edwardsville will be increased by KCK giving up its share of the remaining dollars. That will allow the two cities to share in almost $50,000 of extra funding for street repair projects.
At the end of the meeting, sev- eral members of the commission expressed pleasure with the deci- sion they made based on the limited
revenue and dismal economy.
Skyrocketing fuel prices, record numbers of home foreclosures, decreasing home values, rising unemployment and slower consum- er spending taking a toll on govern- ment, as well as businesses and citizens. The slowing of expected revenues, declining property values, increasing operational costs, the impact of property tax appeals, ris- ing fuel costs and the high cost cost of the harsh 2008 winter all contrib- uted to the tight financial picture for the Unified Government.
The well-publicized downturn in the national economy is only part of the problem. The State of Kansas is also facing economic challenges which impose additional downward pressures on local budgets. The repeal of the Machinery and Equip- ment Tax cost Wyandotte County more than $600,000 in lost revenues in 2007 even with a reimburse- ment formula in place. Those losses are expected to continue, perhaps even becoming more severe as the reimbursement formula phases out. The halt of state revenue sharing demand transfers in 2003 continues to cost local government across Kansas as much as $70-million a year. The Unified Government has made-up an on-going loss of about $4-million a year for each of the past five years.
Will your TV work after february 17, 2009? your TV signal is switching to “digital.” for more than fifty years, TV broadcasters have sent their shows to your TV using “analog” signals. After february 17, 2009, most of the old analog signals will be gone and most of the stations you watch will use only the new digital signals. If you have cable, satellite or broadband TV you’ll be fine. But if you still use rabbit ears or an antenna on the roof, you will need to get a converter box. for more information about DTV and to get a free converter box coupon call 1-877-530-2634 or got to www.dtv2009.gov.
Torrent Tidal Wave River is now under construction
Construction is underway on the Torrent Tidal Wave River, the longest attraction of its kind in the world. The massive momentum river is powered by a monstrous 25,000 gallon, 20-foot-wide, tidal wave that races through more than 1,620 feet of waterway.
“We are pleased to announce our first family-thrill attraction,” explained Michael Catcott, project executive for the Schlitterbahn Va- cationVillage. “I’m excited that the most ambitious version of this at- traction will entertain new legions
of fans right here in Kansas City, Kansas. This continues to demon- strate our commitment in making the Schlitterbahn Vacation Village THE family entertainment destina- tion of the Midwest.”
The Torrent Tidal Wave River is scheduled to open summer 2009 with the rest of the Schlitterbahn Water Resort. The 40-acre water park is part of the overall $750 million year-round, trend-setting, retail entertainment destination set to be completed in 2011.
sUNDAY BUs sERvICE
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Avenue routes to create one route. As a result, customers can ride from KCATA’s 10th & Main Transit Plaza in downtown KCMo to Village West and back without needing to transfer at the Indian Springs Transit Center in KCK.
$1.5-million in federal funds covered that cost. But launching Bus Rapid Transit full time could cost more than $30-million.
“Buses are critical to our future,” said Mayor Joe Reardon. “We need
to spend more on transit.”
Customers can still board and exit #101 buses at major KCK loca- tions such as downtown KCK, Indian Springs Transit Center, KCK Com- munity College, Providence Medi- cal Center, the Unified Govern- ment Courthouse Annex and along State Avenue and Parallel Parkway between Village West Parkway and 82nd Street. In addition to the new Sunday bus service, riders will also have Minnesota/State Avenue bus service on Thanksgiving and Christ- mas.
agrees and has helped secure fed- eral funds for public transportation in Wyandotte County.
“A lot of Americans are starting to rethink the energy and transportation question,” Moore said. “There’s a real need for public transportation in this area.”
The new Minnesota/State Avenue route will also operate new hours during the week and on Saturdays. Customers will now have service on:
Sunday bus service is paid for with a two-year federal grant totaling $452,800 through the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Program (CMAQ). federal funds are also pay- ing for a detailed study of running Rapid Transit bus service up and down the State Avenue Corridor.
Sundays hourly from 9 am to 7 pm
Weekdays every 30 minutes from 5:30 am to 7 pm
Weeknights hourly from 7 pm to 11 pm
Saturdays hourly from 6:30 am to 6:30 pm
Increased fees Help Offset Tax Cut
Cutting costs is a prudent approach to confronting our eco- nomic challenges. But enhancing and diversifying revenues is also an important component. It is proposed that the Unified Gov- ernment initiate a variety of new revenue sources.
The BPU Payment in Lieu of Taxes fee (PILoT) charged on monthly utility bills will increase from 7.9% to 9.9%. The increase will total about $2 a month on a $100 charge for electricity and water. The
fee does not apply to the trash or stormwater portions of the BPU bill. Increasing the PILoT fee is less burdensome on residential homeowners than increasing property taxes. It would require a 5% increase in the Unified Government property tax rate to generate the same amount of dollars as the 2% increase in the BPU PILoT. The PILoT fee helps diversify revenues and less- ens the reliance on property taxes.
A Storm Water Utility fee of $2 a month will be charged to help pay for maintenance. KCK has miles of storm sewers, ditches and floodways which need repair and improvement to prevent homes and busi- nesses from flooding during heavy rains. federal environ- mental mandates will force many of these repairs. The small fee makes the impact on individual property owners more affordable than raising the property tax mill levy.
Traffic and code violation fines will increase to be more in line with fines charged by sur- rounding cities.
The transient guest tax charged on people who stay in KCK hotel rooms will increase from 6% to 8%. This tax is paid mostly by tourists and others visiting the community.