Monthly Archives: June 2010

What is an endorsement by Sarah Palin worth?

Palin

Palin

Not much, according to a recent poll.

On the same day last week that the former vice presidential nominee announced she was backing Todd Tiahrt in the Republican Senate primary in Kansas, an NBC/Wall Street Journal released a poll that touched on a wide variety of topics.

Buried deep in the poll was a question that asked people how they would respond if a congressional candidate had various hypothetical attributes. Read More »

Kobach’s offer to defend Freemont, Neb.’s illegal immigration ordinance for free is rebuffed

Kobach

Kobach

Republican Secretary of State candidate Kris Kobach offered to defend a recently passed illegal immigration ordinance but was turned down.

Kobach, who has made a national name for himself drafting and defending illegal immigration laws across the country, helped draft the ordinance recently adopted by Freemont, Neb. voters.

Opponents to the law – which bars employers from hiring illegal immigrants and landlords from renting to them – have said they planned to file suit. Read More »

Kansas universities get more expensive: Regents approve tuition hikes

TOPEKA – The cost of higher education at Kansas’ public universities is going up between $77 and $305 dollars per semester.

Thursday, the Kansas Board of Regents approved tuition and fee increases for state schools, although some worried that the cost of higher education was going up faster than Kansans’ earning potential. The approved increases remained unchanged from the proposals presented in May. Read More »

Kansas regents to decide tuition increases today

Tuition and fee increases of up to 8.2 percent will be considered by the Kansas Board of Regents today.

State universities last month proposed tuition and fee increases between 4.1 and 8.2 percent for in-state students this fall. Regents are expected to make the final decision today. Read More »

Sedgwick County to raise solid waste fee

Sedgwick County commissioners voted 4-1 today to raise the annual solid waste fee that property owners pay by $1.66 for residential and $1.06 for commercial.

Chairman Karl Peterjohn voted against raising the fee, saying one of his campaign promises was that he would push for voters to approve tax increases.

The charge, however, is considered a fee, not a tax, under state law.

Read more about the fee in Thursday’s Eagle.

Sedgwick County proposes splitting federal grant 50/50 with city

Sedgwick County wants to split a $537,304 federal grant with the City of Wichita. The county and city have been struggling over how to split the grant. Last year, the city accepted 70 percent of the grant and the county kept 30 percent. The county and city must sign an agreement about how to split the grant by June 30. The grant, the Edward J. Byrne Memorial Criminal Justice Assistance Grant, provides for equipment and other needs of law enforcement.

Read more about the grant in Thursday’s Eagle.

Fireworks sales in the county start Sunday

Fireworks sales start Sunday, and for the first time in 30 years, people in the unincorporated areas of Sedgwick County will be allowed to shoot off fireworks.

“We’ll find out if people can self- regulate,” commissioner Tim Norton said.

The shooting of fireworks is not allowed until July 1, but sales begin Sunday.

Read more about fireworks in Thursday’s Eagle.

Dire city budget includes outsourcing, layoffs and (maybe) franchised trash

gold coinsCity Hall is eying multi-million dollar budget deficits and planning to outsource more city services, streamline management, eliminate 65 positions and put even top city officials on furlough.

But City Manager Robert Layton won’t propose any property tax rate hikes, and he’s increasing funding for the police and fire departments.

Some fees will likely increase, but Layton said he’s trying to isolate fee changes to areas that impact only a portion of the city’s population.

Layton also plans to share documents on trash franchising with local haulers within about a month. Then he plans to get an agreement with them and ask city council members to explore franchising. It’s unclear how that would impact trash collection rates, but in many other communities it has cut costs.

Asked about process of getting agreement on the politically-hot topic, Layton said: “It’s been tough.” Read More »

Recommendation to Sedgwick County: Keep Coliseum pavilions open through 2016

Alan Strain, of Calrksridge, Arkansas, leaves one of the pavillions at the Kansas Coliseum after being weighed for the competition in 2002.

A tractor leaves one of the pavillions at the Kansas Coliseum after being weighed for the competition in 2002.

An independent analysis of the Kansas Coliseum complex recommends that Sedgwick County keep the complex’s pavilions open through at least 2016.

The county has committed to keep them open through next year.

The study, by the general manager of the nearby Hartman Arena, also suggests rebranding the pavilions as the “Kansas Pavilions” to address confusion about the complex. The county has mothballed the complex’s Britt Brown Arena, which many people refer to as the Kansas Coliseum. The Coliseum includes the arena and the pavilions.

A team of county officials has recommended that commissioners make a decision next week about whether to keep the pavilions open, fund some immediate repairs to three parking lots and construct a shower building.

The county also must decide the future of Wiedemann RV park and a nature habitat on the site for spotted skunks.

County seeks to increase annual solid-waste fee

The annual solid-waste fee for residential property owners in Sedgwick County would go up $1.66 a year starting in July if county commissioners approve the hike on Wednesday.

The base fee for commercial property owners would rise $1.06.

The fees cover solid waste collection and disposal programs in the county.

The new fees would produce $1.26 million in 2011, and allow the county to maintain current solid-waste services and a storm debris contingency, as well as add a tire roundup event.

Residential property owners currently pay $4.04 a year on their property tax bill.  The new fee would be $5.70

The base fee for commercial property owners would rise from $4.40 to $5.46. Commercial property fees are structured in tiers depending on how much waste various business types generate.

The new fees would go into effect July 1 and appear on November property tax statements.

Read More »