In the Dec. 13 print edition you will find a letter from two Newton City Commissioners which not only was submitted for publication in this paper, but circulated by hand to constituents and at city meetings.
They are shaking their heads in disbelief, advocating for the removal of a consultant paid to attract companies to the Kansas Logistics Park. Whether or not we are getting the results we want is debatable ― the KLP does not have a building in it.
Those commissioners are not the only ones shaking their heads in disbelief. We are as well ― but not for the same reasons.
We're shaking our heads that we believed we needed to consult legal counsel prior to publication the letter below - concerned about libel, by City Commissioners.
We shake our head over the apparent assertion that Newton has spent $13 million on this project.
According to city staff, the city of Newton has spent $3.7 million. Harvey County has spent $3.2 million. The remaining funding ― about $6.1 million ― has come from federal, state and private sources. All these numbers were presented during the city budget hearing, and availble through information requests at city hall.
The other head-shaker here is the assertion within the letter that the consultant "has not made any solid contacts with companies to locate to Newton."
These commissioners should know otherwise. Not only has a company purchased 229.9 acres of land for which they have paid $15,574 in property taxes in the park, the consultant has made hundreds contacts in relation to the facility. How do we know this? We asked. We were allowed to see the list, though not the names of companies on it. Plus, we sit through meetings of the Economic Development Council ― meetings city commissioners could sit through if they choose.
But this runs even deeper. The Kansan confirmed with city staff that following each of those monthly EDC meetings a printed report is shared with city commissioners. That report includes a prospect report. Prospects identified not by company names, but numbers. That report contains the status of projects and contacts throughout the county ― including those for the Kansas Logistics Park.
This begs a pair of questions. Do they ignore the reports? And if so, why?
You now have more information. We searched for ours by asking first-hand sources. If you feel the need to contact a commissioner about this consulting contract, you may now do so with accurate information and an informed opinion.
— Kansan Editorial Board