Archive for Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Letters: Concerns about inmates, Beware of road improvement fees, Thanks for the help

January 28, 2004

Concerns about inmates

To the editor:

I recently co-facilitated a community conversation held at Kansas City Kansas Community College regarding offender re-entry, which is a societal issue that impacts each of us. Roger Werholtz, state secretary of corrections, revealed some horrific statistics:

  • Kansas has 9,100 inmates.
    ¢ 6,100 inmates were admitted in 2003.
    ¢ 5,800 inmates were released in 2003.
    ¢ Average annual cost per inmate is $19,615.
    ¢ 60 percent of inmates have a G.E.D. or high school diploma.
    ¢ 50 percent to 55 percent of inmates return in less than one year after release.
    ¢ Kansas' prisons have reached capacity for male inmates. Previous capacity projections anticipated no capacity constraints until 2007.
    ¢ Currently, 50 Kansas inmates are housed in a private penitentiary in Texas, costing taxpayers $38.50 per day per inmate. Kansas taxpayers pay 10 percent of the expense while federal tax dollars supplement the remainder; however guidelines stipulate the utilization of a private penitentiary. Based on capacity constraints, this number will increase.

Based on the severe budget reductions that many programs have faced in recent years, these startling statistics should be a cause for alarm to all taxpayers.

According to information obtained from www.bestplaces.net, Tonganoxie USD 464 receives $4,567 per pupil each year. Please encourage our Legislature to adequately fund prevention, i.e. education.

The conversation at KCKCC last Saturday is the first in a series. As upcoming meetings are scheduled, I will forward information to The Mirror.

April Dohle,
Tonganoxie.

To the editor:

A proposed road improvement fee increase will not cause the farmer or landowner to lower the price of his land as was suggested in the article in The Mirror (Jan. 21, 2004). The last time I checked they weren't making any more land. The farmer or landowner will get his price or he will wait awhile and get a better price. Simple isn't it? The cost will be passed on to the builder, but everyone knows the builder will not stand this cost. Next is the buyer, who will have to this pay cost. Example: a $125,000 home becomes a $136,500 home -- a raise of $11,500.

Seems harmless, doesn't it? Just the buyer gets stiffed. But wait, the value of all new homes in the county are added to the overall value of the homes in the county. For real estate tax purposes, the value of all new homes is reflected on your home so you get to pay a little more real estate tax.

In so doing, the county collects more money and the county commissioners get another raise. All for doing such a great job by making the farmer or landowner pay that higher building fee upfront.

Commissioner Joe Daniels states that he doesn't want to cause a burden on taxpayers at large. That is just what he is doing with this fee. I think Joe should take a look around. I believe we are all taxpayers, even the ones that live on rock roads.

Planning and Zoning Director John Zoellner states that the $2,500 fee now charged will pay for only 10 or 15 feet of road. Well let's look at that statement for a few seconds. They purpose an $11,500 raise to fix their problems.

Example:

$2,500 15 feet.

$11,500 64.5 feet

Grand total: 79.5 feet.

So what is this upfront money really all about -- is it to take away the rights of a person to sell land in this county?

The control of a person's property by fee or regulations without his consent is wrong. Any fee should be collected from the buyer when he gets a building permit, not when the property is platted.

Jack M. Wolfe,
Tonganoxie.

Thanks for the help

To the editor:

It is delightful to see that warning strips have been installed at the transitions of the sidewalks and the streets in the new construction at Kansas Highway 16 and U.S. Highway 24-40. The prompt action of City Administrator Shane Krull's office and that of Brian Kingsley of BG Consulting, the city's engineering firm, is to be commended. Their attention to addressing an Americans with Disabilities Act regulation requiring truncated domes as a detectable warning will facilitate recognition of the transition in the walking surface and safe travel for people with visual impairments.

Craig L. Phillips,
Tonganoxie.

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