Local/Kansas The Salina Journal Saturday, January 18,1986 Page 3 Legislators introduce measure to repeal reappraisal bill TOPEKA (AP) — A 1985 law calling for the reappraisal of all taxable property in the state would be repealed under a bill that a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced Friday in the Kansas House. The primary sponsor of the measure, Rep. Sam Roper, D-Girard, said he and nine other House members want to repeal the statewide reappraisal law, which he called "a drastic measure that must be corrected." Three Democrats and six Republicans joined Roper. A number of county officials have criticized the plan to reassess the fair-market value of all real estate for tax purposes before January 1989. They say it places too great of a financial burden on local governments. In addition, Roper said he doubts the state currently can afford to help counties pay some of the costs. Gov. John Carlin has included $8 million a year in his "investment budget," to help counties pay for reappraisal over the next three years. However, that money depends on the Legislature approving a 1-cent increase in the statewide sales tax. "It's going to cost the counties millions of dollars," Roper said. "There is no way reappraisal will keep taxes from increasing and I don't think the state can afford higher taxes. I know Crawford County can't." Another sponsor of the measure, Rep. Larry Ernie, D-Coffeyville, echoed Roper's sentiments. He believes the outlook is dim for a proposed constitutional amendment to classify property for tax purposes. Property classification is designed to prevent huge shifts in the tax burden. That issue is scheduled to appear on the statewide ballot in November. "The classification amendment is getting to be a very sketchy issue as to whether it's even going to pass,!' said Ernie. He said that the $2.25 million the Legislature approved to begin the reappraisal process could be recouped later, when the economy "It's going to cost the counties millions of dollars. There is no way reappraisal will keep taxes from increasing and I don't think the state can afford higher taxes. I know Crawford County can't." — Rep. Sam Roper improves. "Looking at Montgomery County and the district I represent, the economy is extremely poor," Ernie said. "I just think the money could be spent elsewhere right now." Ernie said he is not worried that the courts might order a statewide reappraisal because valuations may not reflect the "uniform and equal" assessment doctrine in the Kansas Constitution. The last statewide reappraisal was more than 20 years ago. "Even if they order it, we're still going to have some time in which to get this accomplished and by then, the economy may be better and we may be able to afford the cost of reappraisal," Ernie said. Vic Miller, a former state representative and currently the state director of property valuation, said he does not believe the measure has much chance of passing. In addition, Miller said the director of property valuation already has the legal power to order a statewide reappraisal if differences in assessments become too great. He said those conditions already exist and have for several years. Miller said money the Kansas Legislature approved for reappraisal might be wasted if the measure is approved. "I think it's interesting to note that the principal sponsor said in his local newspaper that he hoped to have 40 sponsors when he introduced this," Miller said. "So, the fact that he has 10 is consistent with my analysis, which is that there's no real support to repeal what it took the Legislature a great deal of courage to do last year." Other bills introduced in the House Friday would: • Authorize the chief engineer of the Kansas Water Office to require that large water users prepare and implement conservation plans for "threatened" water supplies. Clark Duffy, assistant director of the Water Office, said the measure would enforce a portion of the Kansas Water Plan developed last year. • Allow the state to gain more control of water in federal reservoirs. "In other words, to operate the reservoirs as a system instead of individual reservoirs," said Duffy, who added that the change would be especially valuable in times of drought. A companion measure would authorize the Water Office to start a "Water Assurance Program," which would benefit users of water located downstream from large reservoirs during droughts, Duffy said. • Require "one-man one-vote" representation of school districts in the Kansas Association of School Boards. The measure would prohibit school boards from using tax money to pay association dues if the group has not complied with a plan that would allow large school districts to have more voting power in the organization. Under the measure, the smallest districts would be allowed one voting KASB delegate and the largest districts would be allowed four delegates. • Increase funding for Washburn University of Topeka. The bill would add $660,000 in new income. Rape conviction won't bring end to victim's nightmare Debra Meyer Bettencourt, Manhattan, demonstrates drama as a therapeutic activity for handicapped people Friday. Program SPARKs lives in rural communities By BRENT BATES Staff Writer Jody Dodds used to feel as if she was an outcast in Sharon Springs. 1 She used to hear people in the community . gossiping and talking about events and school : activities they had read about in the local paper. But those were foreign to her. She's visually impaired and can't read. Now, with help from a program called Special Populations Activities for Rural Kansans, the local paper is read aloud and taped, with the ; tapes distributed to several visually impaired people in the town. In Clay Center, gardens were made in elevated boxes so people confined to wheelchairs could plant vegetables and flowers while sitting. The boxes were SPARK projects. In Courtiand, a fishing dock was made accessible to the handicapped, and in Beloit, the '. disabled were taken on camping trips — both with SPARK funding. SPARK is a program directed toward "special populations" — the handicapped, disabled or elderly — in rural communities. It provides them with opportunities for leisure-time activities, according to Julie Coates, Manhattan, who is project director and founder of the program. A workshop providing communities with ideas for special population programs was conducted Friday in Salina. Topics included pet therapy, theater, the arts, fitness and horticulture therapy. Coates came up with the idea for the program in 1980 while working with the University of Man in Manhattan, which develops community programs and offers classes on issues or activities. She found that many programs or activities were not accessible to the handicapped or disabled. In many cases, she said, vocational education is available to these people. But other than work, there were few opportunities. "I began feeling that the handicapped were just stuck in front of the TV set," Coates said. "So I decided to develop a program to include the handicapped in regular programs offered in the community; and for those who were not able to participate, to develop special programs." So Coates applied for government funds and set her idea in motion. That original effort .in Manhattan was so successful that Coates applied for and received more government money to start the SPARK program for people in rural communities. Coates said rural communities often are not able to qualify for government grants or to set up programs to help the disabled, even though they have a larger percentage of disabled persons than urban areas. So the SPARK program provides those communities with money and ideas to get the disabled involved in community and leisure activities. Five communities — Beloit, Clay Center, Courtiand, Ottawa and Sharon Springs — initially were involved in SPARK. The program is being expanded this year to 10 other communities — Abilene, Formoso, Greensburg, Newton, Onaga, Osage City, Roxbury, Stafford, Valley Falls and Wamego. The program received about $60,000 in grant money this year, according to Karen Barron, SPARK coordinator. Barron said the activities in the rural communities are usually inexpensive to carry out, with much of the work done by volunteers. Each community will get $500 for its program. "It doesn't sound like much. But in a rural community, they can make it go a long way," she said. ByCAROLLICHTI Staff Writer A woman who begrudgingly cooperated with the man convicted Friday of crawling through her window and raping her said she was relieved with the verdict, but that her nightmare continues. A Saline County jury convicted Nathan L. Haggard, 25, 1227 N. Ninth, of aggravated burglary, rape, aggravated sodomy and theft. The jury found him guilty of breaking into the apartment where the woman and her young daughter were, raping her and stealing $12, a letter and her driver's license. The woman said in an interview Friday afternoon that she was pleased the jury had confirmed she did the right thing by cooperating with her intruder and not resisting. If she had not, she said, "He either would have killed us or beaten us real bad." She testified Wednesday, the day the trial began in Saline County District Court, that because Haggard had threatened her and her daughter she tried to use "reverse psychology" on Haggard and win him over. "If I had tried to hurt him or escape and did not succeed, I don't know what he would have done," she said Friday. Haggard testified that the woman called him off the street and invited him into the apartment. He said he took the woman's money and other items to prove he would come back to see her. Haggard is scheduled to be sentenced March 3. He was charged with robbery, but the jury convicted him of the lesser theft offense because they did not believe force was involved in taking the items. The jury reached the verdict after deliberating a total of seven hours Thursday and Friday. The victim said a difficult part of the trial was listening to Haggard's testimony. "I hadn't heard his voice at all since that night," she said. "It was like reliving it over again." If the verdict had been different, she said she would have been almost devastated. "It would have been something I would have had to live with, but I knew that he was up on other charges," she said. Haggard is accused along with Loren K. Pierce, 26, 915 N. Ninth, of breaking into another Salina woman's home Jan. 1, 1984, raping her and severly beating her. A preliminary hearing on charges of aggravated burglary, rape, aggravated sodomy and aggravated battery in that case is scheduled for Jan. 31. After the verdict, District Judge David Knudson increased Haggard's bond from $20,000 to $100,000. Haggard's bond in connection with the other case is $60,000. The victim previously had lived in Salina while attending school. However, she had returned only a few week before the rape. She said she is anxious to return to a city in the Southwest with her daughter. She said that because of her experience, she feels safer in a metropolitan area. She said she would advise women who find themselves in a rape situation to try to figure out the kind of person the assailant is and cooperate, but also to maintain protection and think about preserving criminal evidence. Haggard, who showed no emotion at the reading of the verdict, requested to have the jury polled. His attorney, Public Defender George Robertson, said he and his client were disappointed with the verdict and would consider then- legal options, including an appeal. Saline County Attorney Mickey Mosier said he was pleased with the trial's outcome. Judge dismisses home school suit ATWOOD — A suit against an Atwood couple to stop them from teaching their child at home was dismissed Friday by a judge in Raw- llns County District Court. District Judge Keith Willoughby ruled that Dr. Glen and Peggy Hardon's home school was registered with.the Kansas State Board of .Education, and that Peggy Harden was a competent instructor. The court also ruled, after two days of testimony, that the Hardon's 9-year- ;<fld daughter was not a child in need of care. The suit against the couple was brought by the county through officials of the Kansas- Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services, Hardon said. "We're pleased with the ruling," he said. He said he and his wife decided to educate the first of their five children in the home because they thought it would be impossible to receive elsewhere the type of education — with the theological values they hold — they desire. Hardon said he and his wife also believe their child would excel academically in a home school environment and would receive more individual attention. The home school was started in August, he said. Although the case is resolved, Hardon said the constitutional questions of the right to educate children in a home enviroment and the right to teach religious beliefs were not answered. Hardon said he hopes the Kansas Legislature will enact legislation this session to answer those issues. Three projects qualify for funding Three of four Salina applications for Project Hometown America funding have been advanced to American Express for further evaluation. Project Hometown America was created by the financial services company to encourage grass roots problem solving. A project review board looked at the applications and sent them back to be evaluated in their communities. The board is expected to make a final decision by Feb. 17. The Salina proposals include an emergency assistance clearinghouse, whereby a part-time worker would be hired to oversee all local services for the needy; an area volunteer exchange center to match volunteers with service organizations; and a preschool arts program by the Salina Arts Center. American Express pledged to donate 1 cent each time an Ameri- can Express cardholder used the card during a specified time. The company also pledged $1 each time American Express travelers' checks were purchased or a new credit card was issued. The board will review the final applications and give preference to those that will involve new people, create coalitions of previously unrelated groups, use new ideas and approaches to problems. County to bring basement exemption news to meetings By GORDON D. FIEDLER Jr. •;• Stafi Writer J The Saline County Planning De- ipartment will meet the public in two j^eeks to try to explain the effects of ilije federal Flood Insurance Program in rural areas of the county. ; -Meetings are scheduled for 7 p.m. Jan. 28 at Southeast of Saline High jSchool, and Jan. 29 at New Cambria -ahdBrookville. '-' The meeting in New Cambria will 4* at 6:30 p.m. in the Peace Lutheran JCJmrch. The Brookville meeting will itart at 8 p.m. in the city hall. ; • "We'll try to explain what all this means to everybody," said Dana Morse, director of general services and county planner. Saline County commissioners have until Feb. 5 to adopt the provisions of the federal flood insurance program or risk losing federal flood insurance and other federal financial ties to the county. Morse will bring some relatively good news to the public hearings. He learned Friday that the county's basement exemption has been granted. This means that houses built in flood plains will be allowed to have basements, although tighter construction requirements will apply. Had the exemption not been granted, housing construction below the base flood elevation for the site would have been prohibited. The flood insurance program was mandated by the Federal Flood Insurance Act of 1968 to reduce annual flood losses through planning. It also was to provide property owners with affordable flood protection, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which administers the program. In the agency's view, the program will result in more careful flood plain management by making new construction more flood resistant. That will reduce claims on the federal insurance program and ultimately save taxpayers and flood victims money. The agency calculates the savings at $1.7 billion by the year 2000. New basement construction must meet construction standards for flood resistance, according to the agency's letter. The guidelines will require: • Water-tight walls with the capacity to resist pressure generated by a flood reaching the base flood elevation for that particular building site. • Placing the bottom of basement windows and other openings at least one foot above the base flood elevation. • The basement floor not be lower than five feet below the base flood elevation. • No basement in a flood plain can be used for bedrooms. Certification by a professional engineer or architect that the flood- proofing measures meet federal standards. Morse said he was relieved to receive the basement exemption before the public hearings. "I wasn't looking forward to going out and saying, 'Sorry guys, no basements,' "hesaid. Nevertheless, the more stringent building requirements and the need to have the foundation certified that it meets federal flood-proofing guidelines likely will increase construction costs, Morse said. The flood insurance program won't affect many subdivisions in rural areas. Most are at higher elevations and aren't subject to the rules governing structures located in the flood plain. "There's not much development in the flood plain," he said. The exception is New Cambria, a third-class city that lies entirely in the flood plain. The city recently passed its flood insurance ordinance but didn't file a request for a basement exemption. Morse said it's possible to file an exemption after the regulations are imposed Feb. 5. Salina has applied for an exemption, but so far has not heard from Federal Emergency Management Agency. Morse said the county filed its exemption last February.
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