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LETTERS: Time to progress

To the editor:

This county is dying. It is dying because we are losing residents. We are losing residents because this is a backwards county — too many people are against progress, against new business, and against new development. They don’t want to see change. If we don’t change, we won’t have to worry about it anyway because the county will eventually die — reaching the point of no return.

When we are there — dead — the only way the county will be able to support itself is through property taxes. There won’t be any business or commercial or industrial property to pay taxes to support the county. When the owners of the existing businesses phase out, no one will buy them, or if they do they will move them somewhere else.

Then more burden will fall to the property owners. Then more people will leave. Then fewer people will move here. And we will stay dead.

This jail issue is an example of the “don’t do anything” mentality that got us into this situation. I agree that the first proposal was for a jail that was too expensive. It was this that I think killed it, not just the sales tax. This new proposal is within line. The only thing better would be for the city and county to go together and build a joint law enforcement center like McPherson and McPherson County did several years ago. It is working very well.

But heaven forbid that Marion and Marion County could ever work together, or any other two entities in Marion County for that matter.

The fairest way in my mind to fund this project is through a bond issue and property tax. The second best way to pay for it is sales tax. Using either method to get the funds, the issue will only cover the construction of the facility, not the ongoing expenses. Those will come out of the county general fund, which is covered by property taxes.

I feel this issue was misrepresented in the recent flyer that was mailed in the county. If the general fund can’t cover operating expenses, property taxes will go up regardless of how the jail construction is funded, or however we have to handle the jail population. The flat $10 fee is the most unfair of them all.

Sales tax has no impact on my decision as to what or where I buy something. That decision is based on need, availability, opportunity, and, frequently, impulse.

It seems the car dealers always are brought up on the sales tax issue. I thought Kansas’ destination-based taxes took care of that issue. If you live in Marion County and buy a car in Reno County, you still pay Marion taxes. In reverse, if you live in Sedgwick County and buy a car in Marion County, you pay Sedgwick County taxes. Or do I not understand this correctly?

Another example of the poor cooperation of county residents and leaders is the economic development committee that had to be disbanded because they couldn’t get along with each other. Each one wanted just what they wanted rather than taking a broad look at the needs of the county. Some of the needs at the reservoir are another. If we were to go back just a few years there are more.

Another issue is people objecting to others making money. An example of this is the cabin proposal at Marion County Lake. Some people don’t like the idea of someone else making money. They think the lake is off limits to this. The lake is supported by county taxes, fees, and a little from the Kansas Wildlife Department. This operation will increase the public use of the lake; county revenue will increase from the lease charges and a share of the cabin rental fees; and the cabin renters will spend money in the county and the City of Marion. All this reduces the amount of support needed from the county treasury. This is economic development and some are against it.

Some are concerned the county is at some risk in this venture. I assume the county lease will protect us from any financial exposure. The only ones taking a risk are the developers and the bank.

At least someone in the county is willing to take a risk on a new venture. After all, risk takers built the U.S.

Come on Marion County, let’s wake up before it is too late and start moving forward. Let’s get things done without all the petty battles.

Paul White
Marion

Last modified March 30, 2011

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