City hires interim engineer following resignation
Due to the resignation of the city's engineering firm, B&G Consultants, the city of Basehor has announced the hiring of an interim engineer.
On Tuesday, city officials announced John McAffee of Leavenworth as the interim city engineer. He will assume the engineering responsibilities as soon as the June 15 resignation becomes effective.
The hiring of McAffee is not a permanent one, Hooker said.
"I don't think they are interested in making it permanent, "Basehor Mayor Bill Hooker said. "I believe they are a smaller firm. This is just a move until we can find someone permanent."
Apparently in protest over the city looking elsewhere for bids on upcoming projects, city engineer Cecil Kingsley submitted his resignation two weeks ago.
"The contract with the city does not expire until June 24, however they have informed the City Council, as of June 15 they will no longer serve as the city engineer," Hooker. "Since it was doubtful they were going to be returning anyway, we are not going to make it a big deal."
The firm is also the principal designer of the new wastewater treatment plant and will stay on as the main engineering force until completion of the plant, Hooker said.
The resignation comes after city officials decided to delay a decision to renew the firm's contract at the May Basehor City Council meeting. City Council member Chris Garcia made a motion on waiting to make a decision until the City Council had a chance to discuss the position at retreat later that month.
During that same meeting, the City Council gave approval to City Codes Administrator Mike Hooper to seek outside bids for the Kansas Highway 24-40 sewer interceptor line. The sewer interceptor line will run from the plant and underneath 24-40, allowing developments along County Road 2 to tie into the plant.
With that project on the horizon, Hooker said there was a growing concern among council members with the firm over the escalating cost of the wastewater treatment facility. The plant was originally scheduled to cost approximately $3 million, but current projections put the cost at more than $7 million.
City officials blame the cost on additional equipment needed at the plant and an increasing cost in construction since the original estimate.
"We never made a decision one way or the other," Hooker said. "Nobody ever said we are not going to renew their contract, I just don't think the City Council was ready to renew it on a yearly basis."
Once an engineering firm is selected, Hooper said the design of the sewer interceptor is expected to last 4 months. Preliminary plans by city officials have the first phase of the line completed by next March.
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