Eudora News and Information – www.eudorareporter.com
Eudora may soon have an answer for those that want high speed fiber internet services: RG Fiber. At the Eudora City Commission meeting Monday night, the commission signed a deal with RG Fiber that could bring business and residential gigabit fiber to Eudora. While their name may not be Google, the service they would provide would be comparable to Google Fiber which has set up service in multiple areas of Johnson and Wyandotte Counties.
The licensing agreement signed between the city and RG Fiber will allow the company to use current right of way areas to bury fiber optic cable through the city that would provide internet and related services to Eduora. The agreement also specifically states that RG is not granted the rights to provide standard cable television or home phone services to the city.
RG Fiber, which is based in Baldwin City, currently has a deal in place with Baldwin City and Baker University to provide high speed internet service to that community along with phone and cable TV. This deal would allow, RG Fiber to bring their service from locations north of Eudora and help set up the backbone that can provide that service to Baldwin City.
This deal has been in the works for some time. It all began several months ago when Mike Bosch, co-founder of RG Fiber, was approached by Eudora School Superintendent Steve Splichal about services for the School District. To make those services happen, the deal with the city needed to be put into place first. Besides providing gigabit internet service to the Eudora School District, there are also some other services RG Fiber wold be doing for the District.
Now the question is what services will the School District be getting? That is unknown right now. We talked to several School District officials last week and all of them had no comment about what other services there might be. Bosch did confirm to Eudorareporter.com that there is some other things planned in regards to the School District, but declined to say exactly what they are stating that would be for the School District to announce when they are ready.
Other parts of the contract the City signed with RG Fiber state that the company has 15 months from the execution of the agreement to have the first hookups. If they don’t meet that deadline, they would start paying a penalty. Bosch told the Commission that he feels confident that hookups will start in 12 months.
“I am very excited about this opportunity,” Bosch said. “There is some impressive community leadership here and they all came together to make this happen very quickly.”
Bosch said the plan is to start a marketing campaign in the next few weeks to ascertain how much interest there is in the community for signing up subscribers to the gigabit internet service. He told us that to make the installation into the neighborhoods cost effective, a good percentage of each neighborhood would need to agree to sign up for the service, before they start laying fiber. If there are enough subscribers in each neighborhood, then fiber would proceed in those neighborhoods. Bosch told us several weeks ago that the percentage would need to be in the area of 40% or better. He also stated that number could fluctuate depending on costs and available capital.
Bosch did not state what the exact cost would be for fiber internet service in Eudora. He said that would be determined in the next few weeks. The initial pricing structure for Baldwin City is $75 per month for the service. He did state that his research showed that fiber speeds would be about 100 times faster than what customers of WOW cable service currently receive.
Outgoing Eudora Mayor John Fiore was pleased to have this deal executed shortly before his term on the Commission ended.
“I am extremely excited about this service coming to Eudora and being a part of the team that made it happen,” Fiore said. “The economic impact from this service could be huge to the community.”
Newly selected Eudora Mayor Tim Reazin was happy with the decision as well.
“This is a great opportunity for both businesses and residents,” Reazin said. Echoing the comments that Fiore had stated, he went on to say that he looked forward to having the higher speeds available and bring alternative internet service to the community.
Eudora News and Information – www.eudorareporter.com
Citizens headed to the polls on Tuesday to decide on who will run their City, School District and if the sales tax should be raised.
In the City Commission race, Incumbent Ruth Hughs easily won re-election for her second full term by garnering 398 votes. Hughs was appointed to the Commission to replace Fred Stewart in 2010 and was elected to a four year term in 2011. Similar to 2011, Hughs won the race by a large margin.
“I am truly honored to have the support of the citizens and be re-elected to serve four more years,” Hughs said following the win. “I am looking so forward to being a part of the plans the city has for the future.”
Maria Nelson will be making a return to the City Commission as well. Coming in second to Hughs with 327 votes, Nelson said she was happy to be back on the Commission.
“I love being involved with the city,” Nelson told us. “Having the opportunity to once again work with the staff of the city and be a part of the decisions that shape this town is very exciting.”
Nelson served one term on the then City Council from 2007 until 2011. Nelson narrowly lost in the 2011 election.
Tim Bruce won the third and final seat up for election, getting 300 votes. Bruce also serves as President of the Chamber of Commerce.
Finishing in a distant 4th and 5th place were Justin Eddings (165 votes) and Chris Fiedler (138 votes).
Bruce and Nelson will replace Mayor John Fiore and Commissioner Kenny Massey, both whom decided to not run for election.
One of the first items on the new Commission’s docket will be to look at how to spend the new approved sales tax money. The decision to raise the city sales tax by 3/4 of a percent narrowly passed. The final count was 317 – 257 to approve the increase.
“I am very thankful to the citizens and thrilled they have the faith in us as good stewards of the tax money,” Mayor John Fiore told us. “I am confident the city will return and investment that benefits the citizens and that Eudora will generate a product greater than most other communities.”
Ruth Hughs was delighted and trilled that the sales tax increase passed.
“I am looking forward to the projects this will fund,” Hughs said.
It will be interesting to see what this does fund. City officials have said in their presentations to bolster this increase that the most important item the city wants to do is expand the Rec Center to include more workout facilities and look at adding an indoor walking facility. Will the estimated $2.7 million the tax is expected to raise over the course of 10 years fund all that and have any leftover for other projects such as CPA Park? Time will tell.
Over at the School District, two long time incumbents easily won re-election bids. Joe Pyle led the pack with 448 votes. Mark Chrislip came in second with 398 votes. This will be Pyle’s fourth term on the Board and Chrislip’s seventh term. Two newcomers will join Pyle and Chrislip.
Bryan Maring won a seat by finishing third with 370 votes. This was Maring’s third attempt to win a School Board race having fallen short in 2011 and 2013.
“I’m very excited about this opportunity,” Maring stated. “When you can give back to a community that has given my family so much over the last ten years, it’s a wonderful feeling.”
Taking the final position on the School Board is Lynn Reazin. Reazin received 333 votes to claim the final spot.
“I am looking forward to the opportunity,” Reazin said. “There are a lot of challenges ahead for the District and I am excited to be a part of it and help out.”
Reazin served the Eudora Elementary School PTO and spent time on the Eudora Schools Foundation Board before deciding to run for the School Board. Her win also creates an interesting partnership in Eudora as her husband, Tim Reazin has sat on the City Council/Commission since 2007 and currently is the city’s Vice-Mayor.
Kelly Holder received 290 votes in the last and Michael Howard came in at 212.
Voting results are unofficial until the canvas by the Douglas County Clerk’s office which is set for April 16. Once the vote is certified, the new Commissioners will take over at the April 27 City Commission meeting. The new School Board members will take over during the summer.
Eudora News and Information – www.eudorareporter.com
With Election Day coming on Tuesday, we want to make sure you have as much knowledge as possible to make an informed decision about the people who will govern your town and run your School District. Below are links to all the profiles that we were provided with. You can click on the picture or the candidate to read the profile.
City Commission Candidates
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Voters will be selecting three candidates for the City Commission.
School Board Candidates
(no profile provided)
(no picture provided. Click to read profile)
Voters will be selecting four candidates for the School Board.
Also on the ballot is a question to raise the sales tax.
Shall a retailers’ sales tax in the amount of three-quarters of one percent (0.75%) be levied in the City of Eudora, Kansas, for the purposes of generating revenue needed to provide an effective level of public services within the City, to improve, construct, equip and maintain the public fitness and aquatic facilities including but not limited to sports parks, indoor and outdoor/fitness trails, and to provide funding for other capital expenditures.
A Yes vote authorizes the increase in the sales tax. A No vote does not authorize the increase.
Polls will be open from 7:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. Tuesday.
West Eudora (Precinct 50) will vote at the Eudora Church of Christ – 1530 Winchester Road
North Eudora (Precinct 52) will vote at Eudora City Hall – 4 East 7th Street
South Eudora (Precinct 53) will vote at the Eudora Township Fire Station – 310 East 20th Street
Central Eudora (Precinct 54) will vote at the Eudora Rec Center – 1638 Elm Street
Remember, to vote in the election, you will need to show a picture ID per Kansas law.
We will have complete election coverage Tuesday night after the polls close and the ballots are counted.
Eudora News and Information – www.eudorareporter.com
This Tuesday, voters will be asked for an increase in the city sales tax by 3/4 of a percent. The city is looking to raise the sales tax to help pay for implementation of the Parks and Rec Master Plan. The money may also be used for other capital improvement projects in the city.
During the multiple forums held by the city to promote passage of the sales tax increase, city leaders outlined the particulars of the proposed tax increase.
“The projected revenue from the increase is estimated at $257,625 the first year and approximately $2,695,328 over a ten year period,” according to Eudora City Manager Gary Ortiz.
Ortiz, along with Parks and Rec Director Gary Scott, described to attendees the improvements that are part of the master plan which was developed in 2010 and passed by the City Commission in 2012. Scott talked about the need for expansion of the Rec Center, particularly to the fitness area of the Rec Center. Scott stated that many times of the day, all the fitness machines are occupied and people are waiting for equipment to become available for use.
Scott also talked about the need for an indoor walking track for patrons. Citizens routinely use the outdoor track at Laws Field next door to the Rec Center, but use is limited during cold and inclement weather conditions. In addition, Laws Field and the Nottingham property is currently for sale by the School District and while no deal is imminent, the likelihood of the property being developed in the not too distant future is there.
When asked about any possible aquatic center expansion, Scott stated that the idea is to expand the pool deck area which allow for more lounge area surrounding the pool and look at improved parking for the aquatic complex and Rec Center.
While there has been some implementation of parts of the Master Plan over the past couple of years, much of it has been waiting on funding. A couple of key pieces to the plan including walking trails throughout the city. The City and School District received some grants to develop the walking trails leading to and around the High School south of 20th Street and the trail leading to the Elementary school on 10th Street. Other trails are planned along with a large makeover to CPA Park in downtown Eudora.
Scott talked about the desire of the Parks and Rec department to redo much of CPA Park. The plan details a walking trail in the park, make a gradual slope from Main Street into the park which would eliminate the large retaining wall, relocation of the gazebo that currently sits in the park to another section of CPA Park and the most ambitious part of the CPA Park makeover, an amphitheater located in the park. Other considerations include building restroom facilities on the grounds and creating some parking areas for park users.
City officials stated that the estimated impact on each resident in the city is approximately $40.89 per year or $3.41 a month. Officials did caution that their estimates are based on every resident in the city without regard to age and does not take into account sales tax paid by non-Eudora residents. They state the tax burden will be most likely less than what is estimated.
The current sales tax rate in Eudora is 8.15%, with 6.15% going to the state, 1% going to Douglas County and 1% to the City. If the increase is passed by voters, it would raise the rate to 8.9% which would be slightly higher than the sales tax rate in Lawrence (8.7%). The only areas in Douglas County that have a higher sales tax rate are two special tax Districts in the City of Lawrence, the Free State TDD and the Oread TDD which both currently have a sales tax rate of 9.7%.
If the sales tax increase passes, it would not be implemented until October 1, 2015. Officials also said that there would be no sunset to this increase if it was to pass. They said that in 2026, 0.5% of the city sales tax is scheduled to disappear. That 0.5% was passed in 2006 to help fund the building of the Rec Center. It would be up to City Commission and city leaders if they want to push for repeal of that sunset when the time comes about.
While support from citizens attending the presentation we were at seemed mostly positive, there were some concerns by the attendees.
Resident Molly Pratt stated she was undecided about which way her vote would go.
“It was more comprehensive than I expected,” Pratt said. “I am excited about the proposed project and the improved look to the Rec Center and improving the older parks (CPA)”.
Pratt went on to say that she was concerned that the estimated revenue would pay for Rec Center expansion but feared that project would eat most, if not all of the money leaving nothing else for sidewalks and park restoration.
Ultimately, it will be up to the City Commission exactly where the money would be spent. While the sales tax question on the ballot states the money is to be used to “improve, construct, equip and maintain the public fitness and aquatic facilities including but not limited to sports parks, indoor and outdoor/fitness trails, and to provide funding for other capital expenditures”, the Commission could have some discretion and potentially different ideas where the money could go in regards to Parks and Rec and what “other capital expenditures” might be needed to fund. With three seats on the Commission up for election, it is possible the majority of the Council could change.
Election results will ultimately make the determination if the Parks and Rec Master Plan will continue to move forward in the future.
With the upcoming elections for City Commission and School Board, we wanted to take time to highlight each candidate in the race.
All candidates were sent a questionnaire to fill out and respond to and stated that their responses to those questions will be presented as sent to us with no editing.
Today, we wrap up our School Board Candidate Profiles with Joe Pyle.
Please tell about your background and qualifications for a position on the School Board.
I have been married to my wife, Andrea, for 31 years. We have 7 children and all have attended Eudora schools. My wife and I feel very strongly that the attendance of Eudora schools, by our children, has laid a very solid foundation for them and has played a vital role in their success.
I have spent my entire career in the business world working for Fortune 100 companies in various capacities. Many of my years were spent in management roles overseeing and developing teams with up to 20 reports. I am currently the owner of two small businesses and employ several people part time
The most important issue facing the school board is funding. Tell us how you would decide on any budget cuts that may need to be made now and in the coming year.
Fortunately the school district several years ago was proactive in prioritizing our core values. Any funding cuts that should come, I would be most diligent in watching which cuts impacted our core values that we have deemed some of the most important to ensure a quality education for our students. One example of these core values is maintaining smaller class sizes with a low student to teacher ratio.
Do you support raising the local mill rate to cover any underfunding by the state and why or why not?
When you look at the LOB formula, relative to Eudora Schools, you can readily determine that we have a low assessed valuation so by raising the LOB the actual financial impact for a district our size would not be that meaningful. It would also put undue pressure on many of our senior citizens who are on fixed incomes. For these reasons, I would be reluctant to do much with the LOB.
The State Board of Education has adopted and begun implementation of the Common Core Standards in school districts through the state. What is your position on the Common Core Standards and if they were to become optional, would you support keeping or removing them from the curriculum in the Eudora School District?
I feel that we should have a set of standards that helps us develop the best curriculum for our schools. I feel the Common Core Standards are a step in this direction. Many educational experts have come out in support of the Common Core and it simply stands to reason that a program such as Common Core will help further prepare our students to be Career and College Ready.
What other issues do you see as important decisions the School Board will face in the near future?
In todays challenging and competitive workplace, it is critical that we, as a school district, continue to look for ways to improve and challenge our students to achieve excellence in all of their endeavors. Eudora Schools have made remarkable progress in the past 10-15 years and I feel they have done a great job in preparing their graduates for the outside world. The standard, that has now been set, must continue to be a goal that we strive to achieve. I also want to continue to see the ability of our teachers to be granted tenure and have all due processes available to them. Many of these fine professionals have devoted their entire careers to the teaching profession and we, as a school board, must do all we can to continue to support them.
Why do you want to sit on the School Board?
Having served for 12 years, it has been a real privilege to serve the patrons and students in the community of Eudora. Our schools face some unprecedented challenges with the upcoming state funding shortfalls and I feel that my experience and compassion for the students and staff of the Eudora School District will help be a valuable voice for the schools.
The City elections will be held on Tuesday, April 7. Polls will be open from 7:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. Voters can vote early by mail or by going to the Douglas County Courthouse. For more information on advance voting, you can visit the Douglas County Elections website: https://www.douglascountyks.org/depts/voting-and-elections/advance-voting
Three of the five candidates running for the City Commission will be selected. On the School Board, six candidates are vying for four seats.
We will have more in depth information about polling places as we wrap up our Pre-election Day coverage.