Tim Norton

Wichita sales tax likely to be proposed

Two recent events have led me to suspect that as part of the plan for the revitalization of downtown Wichita, we're going to see a sales tax proposed. The first is Phillip Brownlee's editorial in last Friday's Wichita Eagle, which carried the title Taxes are lower than many think. While this editorial focused on property taxes, it's easy to see this as an argument that Wichitans can bear the burden of more taxation. Softening up the electorate, so to speak. Then, there's this email sent to the Wichita city council and Sedgwick county commission members: I recently received the attached…
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Lack of information clouds Sedgwick County industrial park plans

At yesterday's meeting of the Board of Sedgwick County Commissioners, questions about a proposed industrial park development reveal that there's still a long way to go before all issues are uncovered, much less understood. At the meeting, Chris Chronis, Chief Financial Officer for Sedgwick County, presented information and responded to questions. While Mr. Chronis was thorough in some areas, even some basic information and understanding is missing. For example, questioning by Board Chairman Kelly Parks revealed that it is unknown at this time who owns the mineral rights to the property. Commissioner Karl Peterjohn asked Chronis about the relationship between…
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Wichita downtown arena open records failure

Yesterday, the company that manages the Intrust Bank Arena (the downtown Wichita arena) announced a lease with the arena's flagship tenant, the Wichita Thunder hockey team. But we don't know the details of the lease. Unbelievably, some Sedgwick County Commissioners and managers are okay with that. The Wichita Eagle article Details of Intrust Bank Arena contract with Thunder are a secret reports the details. I believe that the Eagle will be successful in pursuing a copy of the lease agreement from SMG (the company managing the arena for Sedgwick County) under the Kansas Open Records Act. Here's why: The KORA…
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Sedgwick County Commission fails citizens

At yesterday's meeting of the Sedgwick County Commission, Commissioners Tom Winters, Tim Norton, and Dave Unruh failed to take an opportunity to stand up for good government. By ratifying the City of Wichita's defective public hearing, notice is given that it's open season on citizens. Their concerns are shoved aside. Commissioners say they were constrained by a very narrow range of action permitted by law. The reasons they voted against this TIF district in August are still there, though present in smaller measure. The problem is that these politicians want something so badly that they're willing to overlook major problems…
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