Dream Humboldt Accredited Community

Community Contact

Larry Tucker (620) 473-3253 – City Manager

Vision Statement

A Community of faith, Built on family values, Where opportunities flourish. “Come live well and love it!”

Success Stories

Iola Register
Susan Lynn, Editor
Friday, March 28, 2008
Reprinted with permission from the Iola Register

I voted. Yea. It doesn’t matter so much for whom my vote was cast, but the fact that I participated in a public discussion. It’s by voting, writing in letters to the Forum, and attending public meetings that we all can express our opinions. A connected community talks – and listens. To our south, the town of Humboldt has embarked on a community conversation. Humboldt’s involvement in Kansas Communities (now Public Square Communities) has participants meeting on a regular basis to talk. Organizer Terry Woodbury believes that conversations lead to vision, which fuels action, which builds leadership. Citizens who care about their community help generate civic spirit. Pride helps move a town in a positive direction.

It’s funny to think that a city has self-esteem. Humboldt citizens felt theirs was flagging. It wasn’t exactly tangible. Seemed like everyone was still around. Some new businesses would set up shop, while others folded. That’s normal. But, in fact, gravity was taking its toll. Like all the towns in Allen County, Humboldt’s population was declining. In less than 20 years, Humboldt has lost 272 people, or almost 100 families. Today it’s population hovers at 1,900. A scandal in City Hall a few years ago pretty much divided the city much like a Hatfield / McCoy feud. That was the low point, citizens say.

Then several bold moves helped the town pull back the covers. One happened in 2003 when voters approved a half-cent increase in its sales tax. That put Humboldt in line with Iola’s 7.3 percent and doubled its revenues to be used for its streets and various capital improvements. Just two years later, citizens approved a property tax increase of 7.358 mills to build its Community Fieldhouse and renovate its high school and elementary school. Since last fall Humboldt citizens, along with some from Iola and other neighbors, have been enjoying its indoor walking track and well-equipped weight room.

In 2007, Humboldt’s mayor kept things moving by appointing a growth committee. From there came the idea to invest a total of $3,500 to hire Woodbury and his concept of Rebuilding the Public Square. It required a buy-in by four segments of the community representing business, education, human services, and government. They raised $4,500.

In 2008, Humboldt leaders are asking citizens to approve a quarter-cent sales tax increase that will fund renovating and expanding its current swimming pool and adjoining grounds. The mail-in ballots will be distributed in May and will be due by June 3. The tax increase should bring in an additional $35,000 a year to city coffers. And no, it doesn’t make Humboldt an expensive place to shop. Yates Center’s sales tax is 8.05 percent as are those in Caney and Cherryvale.

A May 4 town hall meeting will be held to answer people’s questions about the issue.

Progress in Humboldt has come in fits and starts and anyone there would tell you “we’re not there yet.” A “Community Talks” forum on April 17 hopes to bring 200 people to the table.
The purpose of the forum is not about agreeing. It’s about agreeing that it is necessary to communicate because you care.

Thanks, Humboldt, for giving us a lesson in civic responsibility.