27 April 2000

That's The Brakes

By Jon A. Brake

The Riley County Commission is looking for more money. And they will be look to you to get it.

The Commission has been talking to Topeka attorney Phil Wolfe, the county's bond counselor with the firm Nichols and
Wolfe Chartered. It was Wolfe, who recommended that this Commission pass a resolution in 1997 that said the Citizens did
not have the right to sign protest petition on new county buildings, the purchase of other buildings or the furnishing of

After the public was made aware of the resolution by the Free Press and the Mercury, the Commission changed their minds.

Now, Wolfe has told the Commission that if they form a public building commission they can do more with their money. A
public building commission would build, finance and then rent back to the County any future buildings. Sounds great but, it is
just another way for Riley County to go deeper into debt.

In 1991 the total County debt was under $2 million. In 2000 the County spends more than $2 million a payment on their
debt. The County is limited by the State of Kansas on total debt. They are also limited on debt for public buildings to
$300,000 (or three percent of assessed property valuation in the county) within a calendar year.

This Commission does not have a very good record on building costs. Last year they voted to spend $600,000 on renovating
the first floor of the County Office Building. The cost of that project is now more than $1 million and the Commissioners do
not have a meeting room. They are going to renovate the second floor next year and they still will not have a place to meet.
That means that the Commission will move to the 4th Street building and that will need to be renovated.

The Riley County Commission needs to stop spending money. Their budget has gone from $12 million in 1991 to $25 million
in 2000. Read my voter check mark: No New Taxes. The Commissioners need to hear from you the voting citizens. You will
find their telephone numbers on page 4.