Commentary by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow â€” Five Cueball thoughts for August 22, 2015â€¦Leonard Hernandez1. Hernandez leavingâ€¦Leonard Hernandez, CEO of Sumner Regional Medical Center, submitted his resignation Friday to take a similar position at Burlington.While there is most certainly a reason to hit the panic button, this single event should not be defined as an â€˜apocalypse is upon usâ€™ defining moment.Hernandezâ€™ fate here in Wellington came a couple weeks ago when the Sumner County Medical Center board hired the consulting firm, Community Hospital Corporation, financed through the privately funded SRMC Endowment Foundation.That firm will be doing an extensive assessment report of all operations at SRMC and bring its recommendations back to the board in a few months.While I neither agree or disagree with the decision, it essentially reduced Hernandez of all administrative duties and made him a figure head – since those decisions are supposed to be made by him. Hernandez and his 20 years of hospital experience, selflessly decided to move on instead of drawing a salary.This scenario is no different than a CEO of a corporation, or a head football coach for a struggling team. Sometimes, a change is imminent and sometimes its best for all parties involved. Thatâ€™s how business works.Sources have told me the SRMC board will wait for the official CHC report that will take a few months before taking action on a possible replacement for Hernandez. In the meantime, an interim director will be hired.2. Tax capital of the worldâ€¦Is Wellington the â€œtax capital of the world?â€ We are already the â€œteenage pregnancy capital of the world,â€ and the â€œdying of cancer at an early age capital of the world,â€ not to mention having the â€œhighest utility rates in the world.â€ So it seems appropriate to add another title to ourselves. (Sarcasm may have applied to this paragraph).Former Wellington City Manager Gus Collins provided me these two graphics of the mill levies comparing the local entities in 2012. I ran this a couple of years ago since the mill levies didnâ€™t change much in 2013 or 2014. Close Forgot password? Please put in your email: Send me my password! Close message Login This blog post All blog posts Subscribe to this blog post’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Subscribe to this blog’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Follow the discussion Comments (16) Logging you in… Close Login to IntenseDebate Or create an account Username or Email: Password: Forgot login? Cancel Login Close WordPress.com Username or Email: Password: Lost your password? Cancel Login Dashboard | Edit profile | Logout Logged in as Admin Options Disable comments for this page Save Settings Sort by: Date Rating Last Activity Loading comments… You are about to flag this comment as being inappropriate. Please explain why you are flagging this comment in the text box below and submit your report. The blog admin will be notified. Thank you for your input. +22 Vote up Vote down Charlie Jeffries · 259 weeks ago Thanks for the mill levy chart. It means nothing since the utility transfers are not included. When are people going to understand that the Wellington mill levy is lower because the general fund (which is funded by property taxes) is being subsidized by the utility fund(electric) which is why we enjoy the highest electric rates in the state. But it is a pretty bar graph. What a joke to play on us. Take out the subsidy, and Wellington should be in the 80 mil range and then we win the prize. Bend over folks, the city council is getting ready to raise the electric rates to subsidize the general fund even more. It’s all a smoke screen and magic tricks. The solution is to cut spending for a few years and be serious about the budget. I have confidence the new city manager and council will get the City back on track financially without an increase in electric rates. We can only hope. They can then become our hero’s. BTW I’m not afraid to use my name. I love where I live and will stand with our public servants whatever the outcome.. Report Reply 2 replies · active 259 weeks ago +10 Vote up Vote down anonymous · 259 weeks ago Thanks, Charlie. I havw been saying the same thing as “anonymous” for a long time and it’s no less valid. They need to treat our money and well being just as they treat their own. Period. Do not spend what you cannot afford and the toast won’t fall butter-side-down in the diaper pail. Report Reply 0 replies · active 259 weeks ago +2 Vote up Vote down numbers don’t lie · 259 weeks ago Well Mr. Jeffries I do not know for certain that we have the highest utilities in the state. I would like to see the numbers to support your statement. The fact that you think the city manager and this council is going to change things is wishful thinking. We seemed to have added an assistant manager, now need to hire a new IT person, transfered the city manager Secretary to the street department and now replacing that position. The whole idea was to not have to hire new people. No offense to the Utility Director/ assistance City Manager but what resume did he possess to fulfill this position. Did it need to be done now? Look at the city Manger dept budget and see the increases over the past two years. It is going in the wrong direction. Report Reply 1 reply · active 259 weeks ago +1 Vote up Vote down Guest · 259 weeks ago I am very interested in seeing the numbers and research behind Mr Jefferies statement. Maybe the Newscow staff could do an investigative article on those numbers to see how we ACTUALLY stack up. A pretty graph would be nice too. Report Reply 0 replies · active 259 weeks ago +11 Vote up Vote down Guest · 259 weeks ago I think I am due a refund on my taxes. I have never owned a home that was worth close to $100,000 in this town but I have paid almost double in taxes from what you have listed in this article ($689.77) since the mid 1990’s. Who do I talk to about the over-payment? Report Reply 0 replies · active 259 weeks ago +3 Vote up Vote down resident2014 85p · 259 weeks ago $145,000 home – taxes – $1,797 Report Reply 0 replies · active 259 weeks ago +6 Vote up Vote down Charlie Jeffries · 259 weeks ago I used the numbers off my personal utility bill at my home. I divided the electric portion by the usage and it comes to .1311 per kw. That is high to me. I guess I could politically reword this to one of the highest in the state. We should wait and see what kind of numbers the city puts out this week. When I checked one of my bills last summer, it was .1365 per kw, It varies because of their goofy way of putting 2 charges on your statement for electricity. All I’m saying is if they raise the basic rate and add in the variable, who knows how high our bill will be. The utility is making money now. They still want to keep transferring money to keep the mill levy low which is wrong. Its’s our money. I guess it depends on which pocket they take it out of. Report Reply 0 replies · active 259 weeks ago +3 Vote up Vote down Clete Rains · 259 weeks ago An issue to consider concerning the mill levy comparison is the City of Wellington has a larger tax base than the other cities in the comparison charts ( more taxpayers spreading fixed costs). In addition, the tax assessments for property in Wellington seem to increase at a higher rate than elsewhere. The mill levy for the City and the school district is set once the county provides the assessed property values. The City may not have to raise the mill levy if the assessed values increase enough since the city will realize an increase in tax revenue. I have seen this occur many times over the years. However, this year we are seeing an increase in assessed property values and increased mill levies from both the City and the school district. Very few if any taxpayers will see a tax increase within the range Tracy shows in his story line (few homes are valued at the hypothetical $100,000). In fact most home values will increase due to the assessed values, therefore increasing the value which to apply the mill levy. The tax break we received from the casino has been short lived and at this rate will be completely gone in a few years. Report Reply 0 replies · active 259 weeks ago +3 Vote up Vote down CueballSumnernewscow 94p · 259 weeks ago I probably should have explained it better. The $688.77 on a $100,000 home is for the city of Wellington only. That doesn’t include county, school, or other governmental entities. Using the graph above, 162.000 mills for the city of Wellington in 2012 would equate to $1,863 on a hypothetical $100,000 house. That’s a lot but it’s no different in other towns. The point I’m making is people are raising Cain with the council for a 3-mill increase when in the overall scheme of things it is not going to make a lot of difference – including your own tax bill. And you can move away, but those high tax bills will keep following you. Report Reply 2 replies · active 259 weeks ago +5 Vote up Vote down LJS · 259 weeks ago The taxes on my mother-in-law’s house in Wichita which has about 600 more square feet 200.00 less a year than ours. The taxes on my daughters car when she moved from Wellington to Lenexa ks dropped over 300.00 per year. And we would be closer to the places where we shop and eat. Not to mention the sales tax here is 9 percent and in Wichita it is 8. I own a house that is just under the 100,000.00 home and our taxes are 2000.00 a year. I can very easily own a house for over100,000.00 in Wichita and not pay as much as we pay here in taxes. And I would live around other people that own their homes and not the 70 percent or over here that rent versus owning a home. Report Reply 0 replies · active 259 weeks ago 12Next » Post a new comment Enter text right here! Comment as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Comments by IntenseDebate Enter text right here! Reply as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Cancel Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments These graphics wee made not much time after the county commissioners reduced the Sumner County levy 18.5 mills once the Kansas Star Casino went into operation. As you could see the 162.040 mill levy rate was the lowest in the 11 cities Collins compared. Keep in mind, though, this was during the time when the utility reserve fund was being depleted, which is testimony that too little taxation is not always a good thing.The graphic does put things in perspective. As bad as the taxes seem to be here, Wellington is no different than any other Kansas town out there. It is not the tax capital of the world. It is rather ordinary.And if you are going to be moving out of town for cheaper living, chances are your financial life is not going to make that much difference.Who needs roads when we have donuts!3. Budgetsâ€¦Mid-August is a busy one for local governing bodies which must submit budgets to the state. As expected, both the city of Wellington and Wellington school board raised the mill levy 3 and 4 mills. Iâ€™m sure it is no different throughout Sumner County as local governments respond to state reimbursement cutbacks.While raising taxes can bring a financial hardship, I have a hard time getting too excited about raising the taxes 3 or 4 mills.If you own a $100,000 home in Wellington, a 3-mill increase is going to cost you an extra $4.69 a month which is equal to a couple of donuts and a cup of coffee. Your overall tax bill will be $689.77 for the year. Yes, that seems a lot until you factor in the various services of road and bridge upkeep, police and fire protection and everything else you get for that money.Your water heater could go out tomorrow and thatâ€™s going to cost you somewhere between $400 to $800 depending what model you get. In the scheme of things, a 3 or 4 mill increase is not going to ruin your life.And if it means the difference of keeping the local hospital open or not, Iâ€™m willing to give up the two donuts and a cup a coffee. Heck, not consuming those two donuts might keep me out of the hospital.Washington Elementary multipurpose room as it looked on Monday.4. The construction of USD 353â€¦In my 30 years of reporting, one axiom is always true: construction projects never finish on time. If you remember when the Wellington High School was being constructed in the early 2000s, during one year school was delayed until after Labor Day.Monday, I was a little upset not because of the construction delays, but the fact that it took the school administration so long to pull the trigger when I walked through Washington Elementary looking like a war zone. The teachers there seemed helpless not knowing what to do next. I had one USD 353 employee tell me, â€œnone of us know what is going on.â€Wellington Superintendent Rick Weiss made the right call by delaying school a week. Tomorrow when school begins, this will all soon be quickly forgotten. When the security and safety project construction is completed sometime next summer, Wellington USD 353 will have some of the best and safest schools around.5. Shout out of the weekâ€¦During the chaotic news week, one thing was overlooked on Sumner Newscow â€” the erection of the new goal posts at Sellers Park. The new goal posts are 23 feet in height compared to 10 feet for the old ones. They are now set to KSHSAA standards.For being a football town, three years ago Wellington had some of the shabbiest football facilities around.But thanks to the efforts of:â€¢the Crusader Club and President Darin Goodrum, spearheading the effort;â€¢football groundskeeper Steve Gill,Â former director of the Wellington Golf Club;â€¢the Wellington school board for initiating the construction of the handicapped accessible bleachers;â€¢Security State Bank for donating the new scoreboard and 45-second clock;â€¢Impact Bank for the mural;â€¢Bryan Edwards and friends for the construction of the press box rebuild a couple years ago;â€¢Volunteers for the painting of the victory bell;â€¢And whatever things and whoever else I forgot to mention.Seller Park now rocks again.And all of this was done at no extra cost to the taxpayers.People who complain about Wellington, donâ€™t seem to realize what a jewel of a town we have here in central Kansas. When there is a need, people step up to the plate here. There is a reason why my wife and I decided to make Wellington our home and raise our family here. We could be living anywhere else.Follow us on Twitter.