Thursday, August 11, 2016

School Board Has Joint Public Meeting With Baldwin City Council

Baldwin City Council Mayor Marilyn Pearse and Baldwin School Board President Nick Harris called the special joint meeting to order. The meeting, which was well attended by the community, who sat around the Performing Arts Center to learn more about the proposed Recreation Center.  During the presentation, Steve Friend, Executive Director of the Baldwin City Recreation Commission, said the proposed facility will be located on Sixth Street, just north of the football fields.
Steve Friend, Baldwin City Recreation Commission
explains the initial designs that include school district offices.
Photographer Kevin Surbaugh
To payoff the costs of constructing the center, there would be an increase in property taxes of 2.750 mills district wide. So what does that mean? According to the Douglas County Appraisers Office, one mill equals 1/1,000 of $1, or $1 of tax for every $1,000 of value.  So if you have a home that is appraised at $100,000., you would need to determine the assessed value. To do this multiply your appraised value by 11.5% or .115, which means that $100,000 house is assessed at $11,500. Now take that assessed value and multiply it by the mill levy. In this case we are just going to figure the proposed 2.750% or .275. The result is 316.25.  Now divide that by 1000. The result is an increase to your tax bill of 32 cents on that 100,000 home (Source).  However, this is just the school districts half of the facility.  For the cities half, a half cent sales tax will be implemented, if approved by voters in s proposed election on February 7, 2017. The facility would be paid off in 20-years.
As for the annual budget, Friend said that based on other communities with facilities that have pools, the estimated costs would be $332,000.
The proposed hours be Monday-Thursday 5 A.M.-10 P.M., Friday 5 A.M.-8P.M., Saturday 9 A.M.- 6 P.M. and Sunday 1 P.M.-6 P.M. Single Membership would be $20 per month or $240 per year while a family membership would be $50 per month or $600 per year.
Friend said, "Our intent was to provide everyone, school board, city, everyone with as much information as possible."
The school district is involved because it is the taxing authority for the Recreation Commission. Other communities, like Lawrence, it is the city. However, many years ago it was the school district in the Baldwin City area. Which gives the commission a reach into the rural areas of the community.
After members of both governing bodies asked questions of the Recreation Commission, it was the turn of the public.
Many of those opposed to a Baldwin City facility mentioned Rock Chalk in Lawrence. It is free to use and is paid by all taxpayers in the county.
Tamra Starkey took to the podium and said, that it was a beautiful plan, however many in the community cannot afford the increase in taxes. Some of those people cannot even afford to pay for their food or prescriptions.  She is not opposed to building it, if new businesses were brought in to generate more sales tax.
Leigh-an G said that she drives to Lawrence three times a week to swim. Rock Chalk, does not have a pool, so she has to pay extra to go to the aquatic center. She thinks a facility locally would be a good fit in the community. Especially, if she can use the facility before going to her job in Lawrence.

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