Archive for Thursday, March 26, 2009

Mayor clarifies city facts

March 26, 2009

To the citizens of Basehor,

As the mayor and leader of the city, I feel I must respond to a recent article in the Basehor Sentinel dated Feb. 12 titled “Council member seeks mayor spot.”

Despite opposition to a new and improved 150th Street and 24-40 intersection, the Wolf Creek Grocery is proceeding with construction. This new retail business will generate tax revenue and jobs for citizens and our area. This grocery store is the number one complaint I hear from people saying there is a lack of this type of business in our city.

Keep in mind, it is not just the grocery store that is to be built by this developer. I, along with a majority of the council, feel this retail growth will increase our tax base and will take some of the burden off of the homeowner.

If this grocery store fails, it will not be the developer’s fault but us who choose not to support this much needed retail revenue-generating business. I will go on the record that I want this grocery store and this area to be successful by showing my complete support.

The city of Basehor is not near its debt limit. According to Greg Vahrenberg of Piper Jaffrey & Co., the city’s “debt limitation” is equal to 30 percent of the assessed valuation. Basehor’s debt limit is $14,002,595. Our current outstanding debt is $9,260,000, so we would have to incur another $4,742,595 to be at our “debt limit.”

We can and should continue to reduce our spending. This is not something we need to look into doing; the city employees are already doing this. They should be commended for reducing our expenditures for the last three fiscal budget years. The percentages we have reduced in the city expenditures are as follows: 31 percent in 2008, 15 percent in 2007 and 11 percent in 2006.

Yes, the position of mayor for the city of Basehor is a serious commitment of your time and energy, no matter who is elected. As for me, my personal belief is that it is more than three scheduled meetings a month. While I cannot attend every event I am invited to, I try to be involved in the community as much as possible. Parades, YouthFriends volunteer, YouthFriends e-mail mentor, presenting to the Basehor Elementary and Glenwood Ridge Elementary students about my responsibilities as mayor and delivering for Meals on Wheels are just some of the events I have been involved in over the last four years. I need to balance my job and family responsibilities along with being mayor.

Yes, there are positive things happening in our city. We had a 3.6 percent increase of sales tax revenue, and we could increase that revenue with commercial, retail and industrial growth. Our current mill levy of 28.621 has stayed constant over the last four years. We have even experienced a small decrease in our city mill levy some years. Our mill levy is one of the lowest of the surrounding cities in the area. Our residential growth has stayed positive, despite what is going on with the new housing market in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

I am, as always, available to anyone wanting to discuss the facts or any other issues pertaining to the city of Basehor.

Chris Garcia

Basehor mayor

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