Friday, August 13, 2010

KTEC Speaks

KTEC is not an argument about the right or wrong time. This is the only time. Reading the paper, I’ve seen articles from citizens with legitimate concerns about raising taxes. Nobody likes more taxes, myself included.

What sets KTEC apart? This is the only money we’re asked to pay that actually makes sense as an investment in our community. All other taxes are simply to keep up with services. I don’t want to pay those either.

KTEC is the only option on the table which will help recruit high paying jobs. It’s the only option that will give kids the skills to raise a family or simply not live their parent’s basement. KTEC is the only option that I’m enthusiastic about putting my hard earned money into and I don’t even have kids of my own.

If KTEC fails, we have no assurance the land will be there next time. We have no guaranty equipment will be donated in the future. Its likely construction will cost far more in the future. It took our community decades to get to this place. If KTEC fails, we will never get this deal again. Not ever.

Not every high school student has the resources to go to college. This facility gives every student the possibility to succeed with a valuable skill straight out of high school. We cannot deny our kids or ourselves the opportunity for prosperous future.

Do the right thing for our kids, your neighbor and yourself. Spend a few extra dollars for two years. Just two years and we’re done. Vote yes.

Craig Wilcox
D.A. Davidson & Co.


Anonymous said...

Craig, I was hoping that as a spokesman for the KTEC that you would present cost details on the levy for the vocational high school.

Why is this the ONLY time? You have made statements, but there is no follow through with information.

KTEC is not the only option that will help recruit jobs, but I am assuming that you mean the KTEC is the only levy we are being asked to vote on at this time, so it is the only option on the table.

If KTEC fails, where would you expect the land to be “next time”? The land has already been donated and purchased. If you are implying that this land will have another use if the levy is not approved on the August 24th vote, then it might be a consideration to look at empty and available buildings in our county. We can certainly offer our students education without a brand new building. Is it the education that is being supported or the building of a new facility?

I agree that not every high school student has the resources to go to college, but there are avenues for a student to receive financing for college. There are other vocational programs available. Why do you not mention all the resources and avenues currently available and explain that this is yet another avenue for our school students?

Please be honest, this does not give EVERY student the possibility to succeed. In order to do that we will have to have a massive expansion to this building. At maximum capacity, 400 students is clearly not every student.

If I vote yes, and we later find that there are additional costs to this project have I done the right thing for our kids, my neighbor and myself? The sales tactic, that this is the one and only time for this doesn’t sit well with me.

Just two years and we’re done, is a bold guarantee by you.

I’m disappointed that there was no substance to your letter, just a personal plea.


Craig Wilcox said...

I've sat on the KTEC Committee for the last year. We chose to build a new facility for a number of reasons. The first being the scarcity of a 50,000 sq. ft. building which had the infrastructure needed for a professional technical school. We couldn't find any, let alone one that had an owner willing to sell. Building new also proved to be a better deal than any of the few options we had.

In Lakeland you will be asked to pay 50 cents per $1000 of assessed taxable property value. Take away your exemption of $101k from your property value, and every $1k you have left over represents 50 cents. This will end after 2 years.

There are never any guarantees in life, but from the lips of Tom Luna, KTEC has a budget which will operate itself. If you're looking for a guarantee, I can't give you one. Perhaps Tom can.

The heart of KTEC is to retain kids who are at risk of dropping out of high school and give them skills which will lead to a fruitful life. Those kids don't wait for college. They drop out in high school. We want to give them a new option and KTEC has a capacity for nearly 600 with room to expand in the future.

What I meant to say was that KTEC is the only new tax you’re being asked to pay that makes sense as a business recruiting tool.

In regard to the land, it has been purchased but will be donated when the levy passes. If the levy doesn't pass, there is no guarantee the land will stay and I don't assume land will be available next time. If I owned the land and the levy fail, I'd sell it or at least make it useful to me. Wouldn't you?

How can we go to a company and ask for equipment again after we fail? Companies like CAT are putting equipment aside for us and taking an expense to do so. They won't do it again. Would you?

Construction costs are at a historic low. If we wait, where do you think those cost will be in 5 years. If you don't want to pay $9.5M, would you really feel better about paying $12M or more to purchase a new building or new land? What about new equipment?

If it doesn't pass now, do you think it will pass in the future when we will ask for A LOT more?

The decision is yours, and no, the time won't be better in the future. I am making a personal plea. If KTEC fails, our community will have done itself a huge disservice. The time is exactly right.