Archive for Wednesday, September 16, 2009

LCDC addresses concerns about budget cuts

September 16, 2009

In a tough budget year many cities in the county have scaled back money they’ve been giving to county organizations for years.

But in the case of Leavenworth and the Leavenworth County Port Authority, the funding has completely stopped. This is making the LCDC’s board wonder whether it should end its relationship with Leavenworth.

“I personally don’t like that they completely pulled out,” Tony Kramer, past LCDC president and Leavenworth business owner, said. “I think it’s short sighted. People look to Leavenworth as a leader in this county.

“The fact that the city can’t support what I’m doing as a volunteer tells me that they don’t have a lot of faith or that they don’t really want my business.”

During Friday’s monthly LCDC meeting, the board members discussed what kind of ramifications the $47,000 cut to LCDC from Leavenworth would mean in the future.

Some of the city leaders present at the meeting didn’t think Leavenworth should benefit from the LCDC’s help if they weren’t going to pay their share.

“Ever since I’ve been associated with the LCDC, there has always been this philosophy that you pay to play,” Mike Yanez, Tonganoxie city administrator, said. “At the same time when you pay to play you want a voice; you want some representation. That pay to play philosophy is something that the city of Tonganoxie honors. We’ll pay our part and in return we expect to get something back. It’s going to be hard for me to go back and ask for money to pay our dues when other cities are getting the same thing and not paying them.”

Many different reasons were given as to why Leavenworth made the choice it did. Some people suggested it was the new city commissioners, others thought that more elected officials needed to attend the meetings to see what work the LCDC does, but everyone agreed Leavenworth was too big to ignore.

“I don’t think any of us like that Leavenworth is not funding the LCDC next year, but let’s face facts: Leavenworth is the biggest city in the county and if we’re going to be successful overall, we’re going to have to work together.” Terry Andrews, chairman of the Leavenworth County Port Authority, said.

Chris Donnelly, executive vice president at MidAmerican Bank and Trust, suggested that this might be a good time for LCDC to look at itself as an organization and at its own failings.

“We have to look at both sides of the fence,” Donnelly said. “If we can’t look at ourselves first and do a complete analysis on what we’ve failed, how can we look at somebody else and say that you’ve failed?”

LCDC is looking to meet again before next month’s meeting do discuss the situation further.

In the meantime, Scott Miller, Leavenworth city manager, suggested that each of the LCDC board members talk individually with city commissioners.

“I have talked to them, but I’m only an administrator, he said. “They need to hear from you.”

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