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AUDIO: City Commissioners Criticize County

KSAL Staff - August 26, 2013 7:22 pm

City Commissioners approve a tax increase, and criticize county commissioners calling them an “embarrassment”.

Monday evening Salina City Commissioners included a tax increase as part of the 2014 budget. Later in the meeting they criticized Saline County Commissioners calling them an “embarrassment”.

To begin their meeting on Monday, commissioners unanimously voted a mil levy increase of.75 mils to help fund the 2014 budget. The increase will raise an estimated $840,000 in additional revenue. From the additional revenue $440,000 will be allocated to street repairs, with the rest going into the general fund.

Among other business, commissioners approved a resolution asking the Kansas Corporation Commission to deny Westar Energy’s application for a rate increase in 2014. Westar has applied to the Kansas Corporation Commission for a 1.7 percent increase worth $31.7 million. The utility company says it needs the increase to meet federal requirements. Westar also wants to readjust rates so residential and small business customers pay more while industrial consumers pay less. Under the proposal, residential bills will increase nearly 9 percent, or about $7.50 a month for 900 kilowatt hours of usage. Bills for large industrial companies would drop about 8 percent.

Commissioners also responded to Saline County’s rejection of the City’s health department “Salina-Saline County Building Proposal” and their respective counter proposal. A resolution approved essentially is the final action in severing ties between the city and county in regard to operation of the health department. It includes the city paying $500,000 for repair of the current building, and the county paying $500,000. If the roof repair costs more that $1 million, an amount of $250, 000 from the health department’s reserve funds could be used as needed. Effective January 1st, the health department becomes a Saline County department.

After approving the resolution, City Commissioner Kaye Crawford said that she was “appalled” by the counties unwillingness to work with the city on this. She said that the county raised taxes by 2 mils to fund the health department, but if they had worked with the city there wouldn’t have been a need for a tax increase. ” She added “I think the tax payers should be up in arms.”

Mayor Barb Shirley said “I am embarrassed for the county, honestly”. She continued “I will go on record and say they are an embarrassment”.

Commissioner Randall Hardy questioned the funding of the health department, and urged the county to be “good stewards of the health department”.

Commissioner Jon Blanchard said “they said that they would not cut services or employees, and would fully fund the health department”. He added that “I hope that they were and continue to be sincere in that regard”.

John Price

August 26, 2013 at 8:19 pm

Everyone likes to include me when my vote was yes.

Kale Smith

August 26, 2013 at 10:24 pm

Duncan would not talk about 2015, like a cocky boy he is, he knows he plans on shredding that dept come 2015. Duncan has talked about his plans to people he thinks are close, and it has made the rounds. He won’t be re-elected, but the budget needs passed in 2014 before he will be sent packing, and the damage will be done. Smart move Gile and Duncan. Don’t use cities money to pay for half, raise taxes to take it on yourself and strap the county taxpayers even further. WOW, what a good steward. JOKE.

Red Neck

August 27, 2013 at 1:46 am

whoa just one moment boys and girls of the city commission. Yes with your current comments that’s what you are acting like. Kaye you have been a big problem with that junk art and other projects plus your support of that there rights ordinance. Mayor you support of questionable groups, the closing of Greely St., the art junk on 9 th street. Lets not forget about big mouth Aaron H. The 2 new guys have done nothing but criticize. All of you are responsible for 8 plus million to be poured into the bi-center. Your like to put the county down but you tossed the health department early on so the county had to pick it up or there would be no department.

Iggy p Daily

August 27, 2013 at 8:56 am

I am happy to see they reposted the comments made on here as they were deleted earlier today. I believe red neck has said it all and I will direct my comment to John Price. Many of us voted for you when you were seeking election. You brought up facts of how should I phrase this well the others commissioners catering to certain people and groups and the goings on at city hall. Looks like to me you became one of those people you spoke out against.

Iggy p Daily

August 27, 2013 at 9:05 am

Kale Smith why don’t you bring up the point that the city said they did not want anything to do with the Health Department as of 1/1/14. So the county picked up the fumbled ball by the city and ran with it. Then the city had second throughts and wanted do overs like little children on the play ground. These city commissioners have played to many games with the taxpayers and they got into a groove doing it which has affected the growth of our city. When you come out and make a statement like they did then someone responsible has to take over. What the health department people fear is they will not be able to do half their jobs and collect full pay. They will like most of us have to work their full job to be compensated and those who do not will be gone. So should any program down there that is not earning its own keep. The health department has had the city in their pockets long enought. I for one would like an investigation by an outside agency into the health department for the last 10 years. That should bring up some interesting facts.

Kale Smith

August 27, 2013 at 10:43 am

Iggy I have seen you defend Duncan from the get go and bash the health dept on a routine basis, when not one shred of evidence has shown that dept has done anything except do the community good, yet, your stance has been very anti specific against the employees there and very pro Duncan (few and far between), and anti city. Saying the employees have it too good, for years been not doing their jobs, half the job for full pay, Makes a person go hmmmmmmmm. Just how close are you to this mess, and just how close are you to Mr. Duncan one must wonder. lol, who cares, have at it. Sleep as good as you can tonight. If some investigation turns out I am wrong, then fine, I am happy it gets handled, I don’t know enough about the dept, only somebody pretty close to it would know these claims you suggest. Making you a very biased centered person with common sense removed from your capability.

Iggy p Daily

August 27, 2013 at 10:54 am

To the contrary have little to do with any of it. But being an executive what I realize is when people start protecting something and speaking out there is something going on. It should make no difference if Santa Claus took over the health department if it were being run correctly to begin with. For sure the status quo will not be the same. If everything was just great it would not matter who was in charge but that is not the case here.

Chris Trostle

August 27, 2013 at 11:00 am

Let me get this straight; The city did not maintain the health building, as it was responsible for per the contract; The building’s roof falls into unsafe conditions; The city wants to build a new building at a greater cost than simply repairing, and remodeling it; The city gets upset when it is clear the county does not want to do the same; The city formally washes it’s hands of the health department; Comes back to the table and wants back in on the Health Department; Since the county is solely responsible for the Health Dept anyway (Look it up, kids), they will continue with running the Health Dept independently.

Chris Trostle

August 27, 2013 at 11:06 am

… And now, with the health department budget off their books, the city has chosen to increase taxes still (Due to poor spending, in my opinion); now the city resorts to name calling since they didn’t get their way. Opinion: How can the city claim the county is an “embarrassment” when they no longer have to fund the health department, but choose to increase taxes anyway? This whole situation has been ridiculous, but these last few spats have been appalling.

Anita Mann

August 27, 2013 at 3:49 pm

I think both are embarassments to Salina and Saline county. How quickly those that talked the talk of reform and changes for the better worry about their own deals before the good of those they represent. FOR SHAME


August 27, 2013 at 9:56 pm

Lookout Barnum & Bailey!!!! You have competition!!!!!!!!!

Barb Shirley

August 28, 2013 at 12:03 am

Redneck you are grossly misinformed. I did not vote on the so called art junk on ninth street. It Was voted on before I was ever elected. I voted against the 8 plus million on the bi center and I pushed for Greeley bridge to reopen which it is in the works . This is all public record and factual information. Maybe you should research and get correct information before making false accusations. John price I do thank you for coming around and trying to work with us . I should have excluded you from that comment .

Red Neck

August 28, 2013 at 8:22 am

Ok mayor I am grossly misinformed according to you. Did you not vote to go ahead with the so called art project on south 9th street when you and the rest of the commissioners had a chance to terminate the deal? Did you not then turn around and vote for the expensive bases for this material to be placed on? As for the bridge all I remember reading is the commissioners pushing to close the bridge and turn it into a walking path into the fairgrounds. I further do not remember anything from you when they were wanting to designate midway as the main entrance. It has been close to if not over a year and nothing has been done to fix that bridge why? Given it is a main entrance and exit to the fairgrounds and bi center this should have been torn apart a long time ago. Further I believe you voted in favor of the Magnolia project and were part of the hiring process of the company who could not do the work in a timely manner. Give me some time I will be very happy to pull up your voting records and anything else I can find concerning you. Naturally it may take some time as I want to verify that all the information is factural.

Red Neck

August 28, 2013 at 8:27 am

Further being a commissioner you are supposed to be above making comments as you have done about the county commissioners. Some of those comments were totally wrong and your latest calling them an embarrassment is uncalled for. Not one of them came out and called you decision to use your position to come out for gay rights and be the first and to date I believe the only mayor to do so. None of these county commissioners said anything. Sorry but you are standing on shakey ground.

Red Neck

August 28, 2013 at 8:29 am

For the city commissioners to raise the mill levy when they no longer have to operate the health department is a travisty and each and everyone along with the city manager needs to be held accountable.

Kale Smith

August 28, 2013 at 8:30 am

The issue is the perception of how it is done. Yes the city dropped the agreement, but quickly said it was to make a new updated one that serves all. From that moment on, attitudes and ego’s took over, and the backstabbing and vendettas began. We expect more from our elected leaders. From the city, to the county, I say shame on you. Why is it, once someone is elected, they throw out all values and morality for the sake of specific kickbacks for the thank you’s to supporters, and bad intentions towards those who speak out against you. To the elected officials, Lose your attitudes and do what is right, when you vote on something, put your petty thoughts aside, and do what is best for the common Salina or Saline County resident. That is why both commissions are currently holding a U.S. Senate type popularity. What happens once you get the job that allows you to throw out your common sense gauge? Nothing changes in politics from Federal, to state, to local. It is the same ole same ole, and we all as voters cannot wait for that change that each of you strive for when asking for the job. Yes you have the Iggy type supporters who are really just a pawn in the game, strategically placed to incite their agenda, but the other 99% is begging for common sense.

Iggy p Daily

August 28, 2013 at 9:10 am

Iggy type supporters who the heck do you think you are Kale Smith? Any elected official must be professional and the elected city commissioners are anything but professional with their name calling. Evidently Kale Smith you are a bully just like the city commissioners try to be and when you do not get your way you all are nothing but a bunch of cry babies. I also find it disturbing for our mayor to get on here to try an justify her actions. Many taxpayers have lost respect for her a long time ago.

Kale Smith

August 28, 2013 at 9:40 am

Iggy, the more you speak, the less I have to say. So thank you. Keep at it. You’re doing a great job at making yourself irrelevant. To say someone has no right to speak in a public forum. LOL. You are a cutie. You need your cheeks pinched.

Iggy p Daily

August 28, 2013 at 11:59 am

Kale Smith the more you post I see you are not a real man but one of thoses mayor’s boys she pushes for. I guess that explains you calling real men cutie ect. Oh well I guess we have to live with it to a point so I will take it with a grain of salt.

Charles Sadler

August 28, 2013 at 3:18 pm

Theres the IGGY I know, going after someones manhood.And you are an executive. I can’t stop laughing

Scott Boyce

August 28, 2013 at 6:22 pm

Hey RED NECK! Shouldn’t you have verified that all the information is factural(your spelling), BEFORE you opened you big fat anonymous mouth? Yet again?

Iggy p Daily

August 29, 2013 at 12:14 am

Scott just what exactly did red neck misrepresent?

Red Neck

August 29, 2013 at 8:04 am

Scott boy are you man enought to tell me that to my face? I figure you are big man behind a keyboard. What I said is factual and the mayor knows it as well as the other commissioners.

Comments are closed.

City of Salina