News Flash

Historic Bauer Building Project

Posted on: December 16, 2020

December 2020 Sales Tax Survey Results

sales tax survey graphic showing results

Sales Tax Survey results

Beginning December 1st and running through December 13th, the City of Baldwin City surveyed individuals using a standard digital input form with three questions.

We reached out to individuals for input via text message, social media, email, and through our community partners.

Here are the results

Total Responses = 321, with dual entries removed.

Question 1: Do you support the idea of a community center developed in the old gym at the corner of Baker St & 8th St, also known as the Bauer Building? More information:

Yes = 186

No = 78

Maybe = 54

Question 2: Would you vote for .5% sales tax for a community center in the old gym if it were on a public referendum?

Yes = 161

No = 157

What would you like City Council to know about the Bauer Gym, the proposed community center, or the proposed .5% sales tax?

Response = 177 comments, listed below the graphic. Notes about comments: No filter or edits whatsoever have been applied. Dual entries with multiple comments have been merged into a single comment entry.

sales tax survey graphic showing results

Responses to the question "What would you like City Council to know about the Bauer Gym, the proposed community center, or the proposed .5% sales tax?"

1. No parking

2. Like many residents I would wish for the rec dream building, indoor pool, etc. But it isn’t realistic at this time.  Since the city owns the Bauer bldg we need to utilize it best we can and this sounds like a good plan. Putting numbers to it, costing .50 per every $100 spent in Baldwin sounds pretty painless. Janet Venable.

3. I’m not of my survey results went through as it froze upon submitting  People are struggling financially,  emotionally and mentally during this pandemic. you’ve graciously removed utilitie late fees for example in order to help relieve some of the burden. Basically an increase of even the smallest amount for a non essential facility is a hard no for me.

4. I like that we are saving an old building already owned by the city and creating something everyone will use. It is the right size for a town with our population. If our population grows significantly and we need something bigger, we have made a valuable investment that can be sold for a profit to further fund the next project. I also like no property tax increase. I believe our property taxes are too high already. A sales tax is a great way for everyone to contribute including visitors so the burden isn’t on the home owners only as is usually done. I think at the very least, you should let this come to a vote and let the citizens decide.

5. The last thing citizen’s of Baldwin need is an increase in sales tax. If it passes, I sadly would drive out of town instead of shopping locally. Decrease our utility costs and then maybe people would be more open to an increase in sales tax.

6. Given the current state of the world, not a great time to ask people for more money.

7. Be sure to take care of existing responsibilities before starting a new project. Sidewalk upgrades, road repairs to keep up the brick streets, maintenance of current parks, buildings, and the pool etc—make a plan to address all these first.

8. I’ve owned a home in Baldwin for 10 years. My taxes have increased every year. Not in favor of tax increases for recreational purposes.

9. I vote no. Sales taxes are already too extensive. I own a business here and it’s too high

10. This community center plan is too small. Look in to building it by the pool.

11. Community center is a great idea but no tax rate increase for it. Reallocate funds you already have and spend more wisely.

12. I am for it if it as a sales tax increase instead of a property tax increase.

13. I don’t believe it will have any use,  other than after school recreation

14. I’m for the gym but not a sales tax. The city has already raised utilities while getting cheaper contracts.

15. Thank uou

16. The building is too small for a useful community center.

17. This appears to be the most cost effective proposal. The idea of other plans that would include an indoor pool are idealistic and would be great but not realistic. The city pool closes early due to staffing and liability shortfalls. To staff an indoor pool year round would be an operating nightmare with complaints when it would not be open due to no lifeguards or supervision required for liability purposes. And then there is the maintenance costs.

18. Find this by sales tax instead of raising any mils

19. Would the sales tax increase be permanent?

20. Do not raise property taxes for this project.

21. This would be a hugely beneficial asset to our community. We desperately need a year-round center for children and citizens of all ages.  Please consider adding a small weight area - just a couple racks of dumbbells, a couple benches, and a couple of barbell racks would be great! Thank you for all of the time and effort you have put into this! I hope to see it come to fruition!

22. We need more gym space in Baldwin. Even if this isn’t a full-size gym it can facilitate some of the activities that are filling up the other gyms in town.

23. I really like the idea of a larger, nicer community space that is rentable for events. There aren’t many nice spaces here for things like birthday parties or showers.

24. There is enough room in the city budget that we don’t need to add a regressive tax that hurts the poor.  Get rid of the neighborhood revitalization and use those funds for operating costs.  Put it in the recs budget.

25. Unfortunately, Covid has put a lot of people out of work. With plenty of people scraping by, I don’t feel at this time that the Bauer reconstruction is needed.

26. Your running the lower income families out of town. Sell the gym cut your losses and stop investing in properties that drain your accounts. Your infrastructure is failing and degrading plan on a total road rebuild in the next 5-10 years  Your roads with curb and gutter are all beginning to fail Your water system is in good shape but will need more updates within the next five years.  Just my opinion but hope you’ll take it into consideration

27. I think this is a great opportunity for the community to preserve a historic building and provide a place for kids and people to gather for various activities/events. Our family loves BC because of the amazing community and what makes a strong community, is investing in it’s own “foundation”. Adam Alford

28. City makes enough money to pay for the remodeling without increasing the sales tax

29. I love this project - let the citizens vote!!!Thank you for finding a way to utilize this historical building! It belonged to our family and was my school gymnasium as a kid. It would be awesome to attend events there!

30. Even as a homeowner, I am not in favor of an increase in sales tax rather than property tax. In general, sales tax increases hurt the poorer population. I find it disingenuous to tell the public that the cost is “only” 50 cents per $100 rather than setting out the overall expected annual increase for a family. As to listing the comparable taxes for surrounding cities, I would much rather know how much of the tax goes back into the community than how much they pay. I am concerned that the community center is not the most appropriate way to spend money in the pandemic environment. And, I have no faith that the proposed budget/expenses are accurate and that this tax increase would come close to funding the center.

31. I’m tired of paying taxes. We are taxed on everything we do and it’s getting pretty old. You need to find where the waste is and clean it up and then build a community building. Also try and use some local god damn labor for once instead of in inviting a bunch of asshats who don’t contribute to our community. Maybe use some common sense when accepting the bids you get

32. Now is not a good time to be increasing sales taxes, though I am supportive of the idea of renovating the Bauer Gym.

33. The emphasis should not be on sports but on community events for the entire population.

34. Keep up the good work!

35. I would only vote for the 0.5% sales tax increase if: 1) it was for a fixed term, ie: 5 years.  2) it was very specific on what the tax revenue would be used for and how it is not to be used.

36. Use grants to refurbish the Bauer Gym. This does not solve the communities needs.

37. Stop waisting money!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

38. This would great improve the quality of life in our community! We are in full support.

39. Baldwin City really would benefit from a community center, but an additional tax is annoying.  Manage what you have better and quit wasting it!!!!!!!

40. The original part of Baldwin needs new sidewalks everywhere before a community building. Use the .5% sales tax for a project that will benefit the elderly.

41. Renovation costs, life expectancy of an already old building, has all the asbestos been removed?

42. I’ve seen the proposal & I feel this small sales tax increase would be so worth it to have a community center for people of all ages to enjoy.

43. Baldwin City has a wonderful and rich history.  The Bauer building is part of that history.  Using the building for the community is what that building was intended for.  Sometimes the “old” buildings don’t fit the needs of today however this building still has a lot to offer to the community who appreciate how this particular building is folded into the history of our city. Using sales tax to fund such a project spreads the burden among not only residents but visitors as well. The Maple Leaf festival is one of our biggest attractions, the sales tax dollars we receive from that weekend alone will help offset the total expense of the project.  We would regret passing on this opportunity to provide this historic facility to the community for which it was built.

44. I think our children need more options for social gathering in a safe place.

45. I personally think it should be bigger than it is and should have a few separate rooms for different activities!!

46. This was  billed to be a $500,000 project. Spending over $1.5 million is irresponsible. We could have a very nice new community center for that much. This should not be another gym and there is no parking around it. A Morton building with a kitchen and  rooms for seniors, youth, children with a true multipurpose room. Kind of like The Worden church. Community groups could rent out the rooms like the classrooms.

47. Build a legit community center.  This is a half ass attempt.  Look what Eudora can do with theirs. Host tournaments and actually make money. What will this do? Nothing. Courts are to small for any real sports.  DO IT RIGHT. NOT HALF ASS

48. I think our community has access to several basketball courts of different sizes in town. Devoting most of the space to another basketball court seems like a wasted opportunity to me.

49. It you want to make it just a city tax and exclude the rural community that might have a 5-10 drive to get there go ahead. Lot of the rural people can be to Lawrence or the surrounding areas before getting to Baldwin City. People will just shop out of the Baldwin area more. Poor business owners.

50. Do it

51. Investment in public health and wellness is never a misstep in my opinion.

52. The community center is a wonderful idea!

53. Absolutely not. I moved here 5 years ago and now pay more than I paid living in the big city. You show that Eudora has a 9.5% sales tax but you fail to mention that they only pay (currently) $7 per thousand gallons of water, while we pay $15.87. The City of Baldwin pays $2.91 per thousand gallons from the City of Lawrence and sells it to us for $15.87 while continuing to say you are losing money each month.  The cost of living in this town has forced me and others in the community to look for other living arrangements outside the city of Baldwin. My utility bill has doubled in 5 short years and there doesn’t seem to be a limit to what the city will charge for utilities. Not to mention the tax increase for the public works building and the power plant. My road gets plowed 3 days after the storm and the city is selling power to other cities and publishes in the paper that they are losing money. I also lose power to my house at least 6 times a month while the City tells us that we NEED (2) power plants and a solar farm.  “We” donated money to the train station without question and that cost has to be recouped by the public, not the counsel. I truly hope you see that you have personally driven people away from this town and that you are losing all of the small town appeal that has brought all of these great people here. I really hoped to raise my family here and eventually open a business but that will not be happening. Sincerely, Forced to move out of Baldwin City, Kansas

54. No parking and no room for growth. There is not enough parking at this location.  I will vote no on the sales tax increase.  The building is not big enough and also there is no room to expand it.

55. What other sources of funding have been thoroughly researched?  Why at this time with all the COVID challenges to small businesses and individuals struggling for income is the City of Baldwin City possibility going to ask for more taxation? Why the rush? Is this our city’s top priority for use of our taxes? Feels like another shotgun approach to me. We can and need to have a city council plan with direction. Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts.

56. Much needed asset to Baldwin community. Love the idea, you have our full support!

57. I believe this would be difficult to manage who can access and when as the building exists on property owned by an institution. Bleed over from student use verses community use can cause difficulties. Then access to the space by those that are handicapped and what activities are available seems to be a bit lacking in scope.

58. Free admission to Baldwin residents if we are paying the tax to have it developed. If this is not in the proposal, I will not vote to approve

59. Private funding and grants. No more taxes.

60. We need open gym times. something for the kids to do

61. I am on the fence, while I like the idea, with the current economic hardships everyone is facing with the pandemic it is hard to justify the expense for lower-income residents who have been hit especially hard this year. I want to see this happen, I am just not sure the timing is right for the community to get behind this.

62. We don’t need communal places to gather in a time like this, help the hungry

63. Great idea! Really like this more than the previous proposed community building!

64. Our public library needs to be considered for more funding to bring it up to current standards. I like the idea of investing in public resources such as the library and Bauer Gym. This will pay dividends for decades in the future.

65. I would only be in favor of the tax if the taxpayers were not charged for using the amenity. Especially if there is no sunset on the tax.

66. I think it would benefit the community

67. I would like to see activities like Tai Chi or yoga for seniors. There could be activities for all ages. It looks like a great building thank you for saving it

68. Now is not the time to ask for more sales tax to build. We just had a police station built during a pandemic. Property taxes were raised to cover that. We cannot afford more property tax or sales tax to pay for Bauer Gym(as everything else the plans are way too fancy, like Johnson co fancy. You’ve been asking and planning on a community center also, we simply cannot afford all the several millions of dollar plans you have, and want to do a huge one every year. 

69. Have you noticed people are moving out of our community. I know you will say we have new people coming in every year. But I know several who came and then moved inside one year and some inside two years of moving here because can’t afford the property taxes going up every year by quite a bit. You may say it’s not that large a percentage, but it is with the pandemic and the unemployment up. Many have lost their jobs and our city is buying up property with tax money and then forcing the issues on building more and more. Some the people moving are also longtime residents, because they can no longer afford to live here. This is what I see and how I feel about projects and more taxes. No more. We need a break from trying to catch up with big cities.

70. Free membership and lots of activities for kids. This town needs more.

71. Baldwin needs a place where people can hold birthday parties and family gatherings.

72. I believe our community needs a space for community and REC activities to be available year round. The sales tax initiative appeals to me to diversify the contributors towards the project. A space like this is long overdue in Baldwin city

73. You should not have accepted this building. People are really hurting right now, and we are discussing overspending on a 100 year old building for recreation. Sales tax increases will incentivize people shopping in Lawrence more not less.  I seriously doubt that .5% will be enough to fund this problem. Then it will be oh we need more money for up keep and staffing. I’m guessing with the loss of Midland your projections of sales tax income might be off a little.

74. We need indoor swimming

75. I do not feel attached to the idea of restoring an old building to accomplish the goal of a community center. I would prefer to just focus on what would be the least expensive option that would give our community center that meets our needs. The percentage raise seems excess for what it would accomplish.

76. It’s a historical building, get a grant or something from the historical society. It’s not big enough for any real community center. Quit making it more and more expensive to live in this town with more taxes and half thought out ideas.

77. yes

78. I’m willing to pay the tax increase for the betterment of the community as a whole but I don’t for see my family using the facility as it is currently planned.  I would rather see us build a larger  facility that includes an indoor pool at a later date when city funds can be budgeted  for the project.

79. How about we make it a little cheaper to live here!

80. The space is too small and you can’t even get a full size basketball court in it. I feel like the community is not getting the whole picture presented to them. This build is being called a community center and it’s far from one.

81. If this happens, I would suggest that it be part of parks and rec so there is not an entirely separate expense for staff. Staffing it will be expensive. Maintenance and utilities will be costly as well. Not sure exactly what we will be getting out of it. I would like to see more information and possibly have another city Council meeting open to the public.

82. I am only in support of the Bauer Building Project if it can be funded with grants or fund raisers, but without tax increases.  Although it would be a nice amenity, it is certainly not a need, so a higher tax burden should not be placed on lower income families just trying to purchase food.

83. It is ridiculous that the city would take a “donation” from someone that is such a money pit. And this will only line the mayor and Dave hills pocket more than the crookedness already has

84. It isn’t a needed nor a necessary item.  Waste of tax dollars for something the majority will not use.

85. We already pay more than the average sale tax rate in Kansas. We don’t need it going up. Consider relocating funds before raising taxes.

86. If the city can renovate and operate the Bauer Gym within its current budget, I would consider it.  However, I will not support any type of sales tax increase.  We have not yet seen all of the many ramifications of the 2020 economy.  We have lost many local businesses and increasing sales tax is foolish.  Perhaps consider grant writing, fundraising, or other efforts that do not impact citizens negatively.

87. Can’t afford to pay higher taxes. Our city bill is too high as it is.

88. Any proposed new tax while we are in a pandemic with the economy in a volatile state is incredibly tone deaf.  Wait a few years and try again.

89. We have outgrown our own high school building. So if we want to raise taxes, then let’s raise them to help expand our educational buildings, to meet the needs of students, instead of giving them a place to play.

90. Would love to have something like this

91. It would be good addition to the community and put a historical and valuable building to good use benefitting the town.

92. We have a lot of family history

93. I would love for Baldwin to have a Community Center, but I oppose a sales tax increase.

94. That I think the upkeep on a building such as this will take more money than most of us are willing to spend in our current situations

95. The overall overhead cost on a building of this age and size would be hard to offset.  The site offers no parking and no outdoor activities.  The size of the existing building limits the activities that could be offered.  I think money could be spent more wise than injecting into this structure.

96. You don’t need any more of my money till you fix the damn power issue

97. I am strongly in favor of this.  I currently have to drive out of town multiple times per week to access gym time.  Very frustrating when we could have a facility in town.

98. I think it’s a small price to pay for such a well thought out plan.  It can be used by young and old alike.  By having the sales tax increase it spreads the cost around more equitably.  I support it 100%

99. Im not sure.

100. National average sales tax is 7.2%. Imposing more sales tax kills local small business, you keep milking them dry they’ll leave (or close) and you’ll get zero sales tax from them. In the long run choking out small business with more tax you’d be better off managing the income from current sales tax rather than imposing more tax and killing both business and revenue

101. A community center isn’t the answer for this building, though I am not sure what is.

102. Try paving the streets that don’t have pavement before adding a tax for to fix some old gym just to make a basketball court.

103. potential use of new facility

104. Stop wasting tax$ on prestige projects and buying property, cut back on spending like all of us have to do and you wouldn’t have to raise our already sky high taxes. We now have a over priced new police station, yet people are still not able to use the side walks in town without tripping. Some of the brick roads are horrible and nothing is being done about it, you need to get your priorities straight!!

105. use private funds and charge a use tax instead

106. Yes

107. I support this effort. I do worry about our other community organizations and where they will fall in the priorities. I am thinking especially of the library, knowing their needs for additional funding. I think the services to be provided by the community center are unique and needed (some are saying there is enough meeting space but I don’t agree) but I worry that the city will not go to bat for additional funding for the library or other community institutions if they push for this effort.

108. I would like to see all the total broken down costs of proposed community center 

109. Not sure why the city has spent so much on this building and now asking us to pay for the rest.  I don’t believe it should have been bought in the first place. I know it was donated but it’s not really a donation if you are forced to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on it just to get it functional.  If the purpose was to save the building you should now resell it instead of pouring more money into it.

110. Our community needs this multipurpose space. It’s an amazing project to use a historic building that will benefit all ages in the community.

111. We’re already at a 9% tax, adding .5 is just ridiculous.

112. yes

113. I feel like this proposed community center is a band aide fix for a large problem. In my opinion the space is too small for the needs of this community.

114. Worst time to increase sales tax.

115. I don’t think raising taxes is the answer.  We are already taxed enough. Thank you

116. My fiancé is on the committee for this project, the ideas that being implemented I 100% support. 

117. Please focus on lowering utility bills

118. Our taxes and utility costs are already forcing people and businesses out of the community.

119. I do not live in town;however, I work here and tend to spend a decent amount of money at local businesses. I think the idea of a Community Center is good but there has to be a better way to fund it. In today’s economy, any tax increase is probably not in the best interest of most people.

120. I would support a tax increase for a new, purpose built facility. Also, you can do this without a tax increase by getting new business to increase your tax revenues organically. You encourage new business to develop on available lands in town using state tax incentives, like what Edgerton did with BNSF.

121. Baldwin is a small city and does not need a community center paid for by citizens or people who shop in Baldwin. Keep Baldwin small and wonderful.

122. We have one of the highest sales tax rates in kansas now.  The existing amenities are appreciable, but not outstanding by comparison.  It would be good to know the planned uses of the community center in advance.  Whatcha gonna let everyone do with a community center ?  what are the restrictions ?

123. Our country is in a recession.  This is NOT a good time to spend money or to make things like groceries more expensive

124. Should be privately owned.

125. Great idea.

126. I believe the proposed community center would be a great opportunity for our town.

127. I think the space should be used for something for the community;however, I don’t know that this space is the most appropriate for a rec center. Additionally, I have concerns about increasing the sales tax to fund the project, due to the pandemic and our already high sales tax rate, as well as concerns about long-term funding for the future of the building if the rec doesn’t wish to take over the building.

128. To much taxes already. Keep raising them and people will take their business to other nearby cities instead.

129. Need a space for our growing town

130. It would be great for my kids to have a place to go locally in the winter to play basketball instead of going all the way to Lawrence.  Also, it would be nice for seniors to have a place to go.

131. The council should research and apply for as many opportunities for grant money before raising the sales tax.  There is money available through grants.

132. Use the money to repair the streets and sidewalks. Repair and supplement the areas that need street lights.

133. While a community center would be nice, I don’t think this is what a .5% sales tax should go for.  There are things in this community and school district that could use some attention and the money that it would take to do this project would be better served on those projects.

134. -no tax increase

135. Make it happen 

136. Our Douglas County real estate taxes increased by nearly 20% in calendar year 2020 over the tax amount in calendar year 2019.  NO to more taxes of any type!!! 

137. I would like to see planning and coordination with Arts Center, Recreation and Library to ensure we have complimentary service offerings…i.e. avoid duplication of services already provided.

138. The already sky high taxes are one of the reasons my husband and I were very, very hesitant to move to BC.

139. This is not the right time for our leaders to ask for additional taxes from our community members. Sales taxes hurt low-income households who give up a larger percentage of their income to taxes. It is a also a known fact that fewer low-income individuals vote in elections yet something like this would impact them more than high-income households. Sure, we can say it’s only. 50 cents on $100, but we’re not taking into account how many people in our community really need that 50 cents. Moving forward with this now, at a time when many in our community are hurting from the pandemic, would be demonstrating privilege. Please reconsider moving forward with this at this time.

140. Dumb.

141. A community center would be a total game changer for this town.

142. I believe taxes are to high as is I also don’t think that meeting rooms, basketball/volleyball courts are a necessity. I don’t this it’s an actual game room when it includes just a ping pong table and wi-fi I Am Not In Favor Of This Proceeding Forward

143. Why are we doing this in the middle of a pandemic.  Do we really need to increase sales tax so that we can afford even less on a limited income?

144. Wait until the funds are available. We’ve gotten so many new things. This isn’t what we need. Our utility bills are absolutely outrageous. Those need to be lowered. Do some fundraising, get some grants, do something other than taxing the people of this town. You’re going to cause people who really care about the town to move away.

145. Sales taxes in Douglas county are already absurdly high. Find a better way to fund this instead of squeezing residents who won’t even use it.

146. Local tax is already too high.

147. Go for it Baldwin

148. no tax raises 

149. I would like to see more scheduled activities for senior citizens—exercise, bingo, cards, etc.  If I knew it would have things I could use I would definitely vote for it.

150. The city accepted this “gift” knowing the great cost that would be involved to renovate it & make it useful. City’s gamble should not be borne by taxpayers.

151. I just can’t advocate for a tax increase at this time. Can it not be postponed to a later time?

152. Sounds like a great idea

153. It will be great for our ,community.

154. We pay enough taxes. I say no.

155. I think we could use another event center location in town. Plus , REC could use it for events too! Very interested in seeing this building developed for community use.

156. Please get this for it community. We need it!

157. This plan does not serve the greater community. We do not need more taxes.

158. We are taxed enough

159. We are 100% for it.  We drive over to use the Ottawa Community Center a couple of times a week.

160. It needs to have amenities we actually need in Baldwin not more of the same.

161. This question was asked and answered by those within the city. Unless the school district is utilizing budget money to support the cost of the development I fail to see the relevance in asking the question within the district population.  Our city has fallen on dire times between loosing the railroad and the loss of tourist/tax revenue and the pandemic effects. To take on one more huge financial burden right now is NOT advisable, and additional sales taxes would be just that, a HUGE burden, to us all!

162. I’d ok the increase;however, not excited about the current plans for the space.

163. Thank you for using an existing structure with good bones.

164. Will there be senior activity thete

165. It would be a great service to the residents of Baldwin to have a place where groups can meet and where youth sporting events can take place. I believe the .5% sales tax is worth it. Please proceed with the proposed development.

166. This is a great idea.

167. The building is a waste.  Waste of money. Unusable space that was bought with no plan to be able to use it for anything this town needs. Sell it or tear it down. It’s useless.

168. Please go ahead with increasing the sales tax to provide the city of Baldwin with a community center.

169. We’re already at 9% sales tax. We don’t need more taxes. Were one of the highest taxed cities in the state.

170. The city needs to sell it.  The city cannot afford to repair it to meet codes. The cost to maintain the building and upkeep is costing everyone.  I feel for the people living on a fixed income.  Taxes, water and utility rates keep going up.  How can a family afford to live in Baldwin???

171. Increase taxes so we will have to pay to utilize it? I don’t think so

172. I support.

173. They already waste too much money. Get rid of this piece of junk please 

174. Our city cannot afford it at this time.  Use tax money on the basics like repairing the sidewalks.  Or use it to hire another city inspector who could actually enforce the city codes regarding junk cars etc in peoples’ yards.

175. I would support the tax and a Rec Center with more space. I would support this if we knew how long the tax would last. .5% is a heavy sales tax.

176. We pay enough taxes in Douglas County. I’m not about to agree to more.

177. Our family is thrilled with the proposed building and funding plan.   We’d love for there to be a safe and fun place to gather in town, especially for our kids.

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