Archive for Wednesday, March 14, 2001

Lingering questions

March 14, 2001

To the editor:

I have lived in or near Tonganoxie for over 65 years and attended Tonganoxie schools. I still live in a rural area between Tonganoxie and Lawrence but winter here in Texas.

I read The Mirror weekly and am writing about several stories printed about the downtown project. The stories leave me as confused as the newspaper reported Bill Altman, Community National Bank, was when he said that he was just very confused about the assessments. In contrast was the statement by Chris Donnelly, First State Bank, who said he thought people needed to live with it and move on. Maybe the difference between Donnelly and other downtown merchants is the size of the wallet.

From that time news articles have taken a soap opera quality. The city and property owners are in disagreement over assessment payback period, benefits and project costs. At one point the city reported information which was nothing short of a "revelation" in which Chris Eppley had made some confessions. Based on Eppley's revelation the city reduced the $300,000 cost to $210,000 and allow merchants to vote on a payback period. Although wondering what the real costs should be, I figured the case was closed. But soon the city agreed to lower assessments to $200,000 based on what the city said was "negotiations." Now I was beginning to feel a little stupid, not understanding why the city was making so many concessions. But when I read on I realized that a couple of council people were confused also.

Just when I thought things had been settled, a suit was filed. As a result the city agreed merchants owe $170,000.

This week's letter to the editor from three merchants states there are still troublesome questions. I too have questions: how could there have been a $130,000 mistake made by the city? How can elected officials instruct city employees not to do business with merchants who have "opened their wallets" to fund the project.

Darlene Jones,

Harlingen, Texas.

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