A Letter From The Operator Of Proposed Towanda Crematory

Mr. White,
Thank you for taking the time and doing your own research into the issues at hand. We very much appreciate someone who is willing to be impartial and present the facts to the communities we serve. My name is Shawn Snyder and I am one half of the partnership that owns Heritage Funeral Home in Andover and El Dorado. I have been a licensed funeral director and embalmer for 14 years and was working in the industry for 4 years prior to that as I finished my schooling. I was also a manufacturer licensed crematory operator before the state of Kansas began requiring crematory operators to  be licensed through the state. My business partners are Corey and Sherry Hagemeister who have been in the communities of Butler county for 40 years. We are all very supportive donors of many of the non profit groups and churches in our communities. We opened Heritage Funeral Home because we all had a vision of caring for families better than the corporate funeral homes were back then so we founded Heritage and opened our doors in Andover in 2005. Around 2010 there were many members of the El Dorado community that were hoping for other options for services in town; as the local funeral homes were owned jointly by a corporation in Houston, TX; so we opened a small office and have since expanded to our own building and chapel that is renovated from the original machine shop in town. Our proposed expansion into Towanda will be a crematory of which we are planning to purchase brand new state of the art, top of the line equipment.
We have scheduled an informational meeting for Thursday, June 22 at the United Methodist Church as you well know. We are hoping to introduce ourselves to the community and visit with them about who we are, why we’re here and why we’ve chosen Towanda.
In addition I want to give you some of the information that we will have available to the citizens and the city officials on thursday night and at the hearing in July. We will also have a book that shows the location of every crematory licensed by the state of Kansas.(all of which are in towns and located adjacent to residential neighborhoods, schools and shopping areas)
CANA (Cremation Association of North America) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) jointly funded a 1999 study — the most recent one they’ve conducted — that tested crematory emissions over a seven-day period at the Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, New York. The tests showed evidence that crematories are capable of low emissions without the addition of pollution equipment and that higher temperatures can increase pollutants, according to the CANA study.
This document is from Pima County, Arizona. Page 3, paragraph 2 speaks to Mercury Emissions
This is a study done by Ensafe for Spring Hill, TN., page 24 gives their conclusions.

Mercury Spring Hill Modeling Report | Air Pollution | Cremation

EnSafe was engaged by the City of Spring Hill, Tennessee to review and document relevant scientific, engineering…
This is from the State of Georgia Department of Public Health, Page 1, paragraph 5 speaks to the EPA’s stance on cremations.
Thank you again for taking your time, being impartial and presenting the facts as they are.
Shawn N. Snyder
Heritage Funeral Home

The Reality Of The Brownback Veto Override

By Lee White

I received some messages this morning from a friend who lives in El Dorado. She and her husband work for a business that requires them to travel to distant states for heavy construction projects. My friend asked why everyone seemed happy that the Kansas Legislature overrode Gov. Sam Brownback’s veto of the tax bill — a bill that is sure to increase income taxes for most Kansans, especially those whose limited liability companies (LLCs) have enjoyed a tax exemption since 2012.

To understand why so many people are happy about a tax increase, I told her, one need only look at the number of folks in El Dorado who depend on government for their livelihood, to wit:

  • USD 490 has 350 employees.
  • Butler County has 488 employees, according to 2016 data from KansasOpenGov.org.
  • Butler Community College, in this annual report, claims its staff and students created 8,558 “job equivalents.” Other sources list the academic staff alone at 1,200. Any way you cut it, BCC is a large employer.
  • The City of El Dorado has 140 full-time staff and 200 temporary or seasonal employees.
  • The El Dorado Correctional Facility had 446 full-time employees in 2010 (and that probably doesn’t include contractors such as nurses and psychologists).

Then you have others who depend on government indirectly. Consider all those who work in health care. How many of them do you think there would be if Medicare and Medicaid didn’t exist? Just ask the folks in Sumner County, who are at risk of losing their hospital, what the Legislature’s failure to expand Medicaid is about to cost them.

You see, folks, even in a “Red State,” the economy is positively and irrevocably addicted to government cheese. When Gov. Brownback and his supporters in the Legislature slashed and burned taxes and spending, they sent the state’s economy into a tailspin. The sad reality is, the overall economy of Kansas will probably benefit from the tax increases and higher (or at least stable) state spending.

This is not to say that reinstating taxes on LLCs and boosting income taxes won’t hurt some people. It definitely will and some of the hardest hit will be farmers. At least some Kansas farmers organized their businesses as LLCs to take advantage of the tax break, which is soon to be gone. Crop prices are low and President Trump wants to cut farm subsidies. There will likely be even harder times in the agricultural sector and energy is likely to feel the pinch, as well, because oil and gas prices are low. Maybe these folks can get government jobs.

Kansas was just a bit late to the party in restructuring its tax system. The Brownback reforms might have worked had he implemented them three decades ago when the overall Kansas and U.S. private sectors were stronger. They clearly didn’t work this time — or at least voters believed they didn’t and elected or frightened enough legislators in 2016 to force a change.

Those who don’t like the new taxes will vote with their feet. My El Dorado friend and her husband are moving to Texas later this year. Texas has no state income tax. Most Texas corporations are taxed at only one percent. The move is really a no-brainer — keep more of their money, prepare for retirement, and still be close enough to visit the grandkids. It will remain to be seen how many others follow suit and what effect their outmigration will have on Kansas’ already-weakened private sector.