Archive for Thursday, December 18, 2008

County, state heads meet about issues

December 18, 2008

Kansas state legislators had a lot on their plates the morning of Dec. 9.

Not only did they have to make room for eggs and fruit, city and county leaders served up a heaping serving of legislative priorities for the upcoming legislative session.

Attending the meeting were Representatives Melanie Meier, D-Leavenworth, Marti Crow, D-Leavenworth, Connie O’Brien, R-Tonganoxie, and Senators Tom Holland, D-Baldwin and Kelly Kultala, D-Kansas City, Kan.

Also attending the meeting were various city government leaders from Leavenworth, Lansing, Tonganoxie and Basehor.

First on the menu were six different flavors of general policy including unfunded mandates and cost shifting.

Heather Morgan, Leavenworth County administrator, said she didn’t want the state to add more burden to local governments when they were also facing budget problems and asked not to take away funding for infrastructure.

“We would urge you not to take city county highway funds,” Morgan told the audience. “It would have a detrimental impact on local revenues.”

The group also wanted the state government to not interfere with the local ability to collect revenue and finance day-to-day operations.

The agenda listed that the group did not support any attempts to limit the levying of taxes and supported local governments ability to impose local sales tax and its ability to distribute those taxes.

“As you make cuts — and there will be cuts — please understand the second- and third-order consequences,” Morgan said.

There was also a large portion of discussion focused on not having detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, moved to Fort Leavenworth.

Leavenworth Mayor Lisa Weakley, and Leavenworth City Manager Scott Miller voiced their concerns about the proposed move.

Weakley said the Fort was the city’s largest employer and she feared that could drastically change if the move happened.

“It’s going to be a tough session and it’s going to be very important that we listen to your priorities,” Crow said.

The state leaders said they were ready to work with one another in the new session and Meier said the city leaders shouldn’t hesitate to get a hold of them at anytime.

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