Archive for Wednesday, October 31, 2001

Letter: Nettleton doesn’t need underground powerlines

October 31, 2001

To the Editor:

Property tax payers in Bonner Springs should attend the Nov. 5 council meeting, when the expenditure of $491,000 of their money will be considered.

Some 2,700 taxpayers foot the bill for the many projects dreamed up by the city. Taxpayers can go to the library on Nov. 3 and read the council packets before attending the Nov. 5 meeting. There must come a time, especially since the recession following Sept. 11, when taxpayers stand up and say, "We don't want anymore fancy projects that cost half-million dollars that aren't actually needed."

On Oct. 15, the city manager reported on a meeting with four KPL representatives. The cost of burying the lines underground on Nettleton was given at $263,000. In addition, an average of $2,000 for 50 homes - $100,000 would be needed. (There will be 60 property owners who have electric service from behind or from the side of their homes that will remain overhead, not buried regardless of what the council decides.) New steel poles will have to be installed for streetlights, costing $128,000. The total cost of getting 50 homes on Nettleton to have buried electrical lines would be $491,000. Divided by 2,700 property tax payers, and it means each property tax payer would have to pay $181 which is an oversimplification, since all taxpayers do not pay exactly the same amount of taxes. However, I am wondering, just how many taxpayers really have $181 to just throw away for beautifying 50 homes on Nettleton?

On Oct. 15, the city manager also presented an option where KPL agreed to leave electrical power overhead, reduce the number of poles and street crossings, place other utilities underground and upgrade street lights at no additional cost to our city or property tax payers.

Nettleton is never going to look like a brand new Johnson County housing development. It was pointed out by KPL representatives that pedestal mounted electric transformer metal boxes will be required in the front yards of Nettleton homes. A wise Archie Sanders said, "After a pole weathers, it becomes almost unnoticeable, and I would rather have a pole in my front yard than one of those metal transformer boxes." Four councilmen wisely voted for this option, which would save the taxpayers of Bonner Springs $491,000.

At the same council meeting, a KPL representative was asked, "Why not put the power underground while the trench was dug to bury telephone and cable wires?" It was explained at that time that it involved a lot more than just a backhoe-dug trench with a telephone wire, a cable TV wire, and the power lines all thrown in together in one trench, which is what Bob Bradbury seemed to be suggesting. Contrary to his letter, Nettleton is not a brand new housing development, and only 50 of the homes will have their wires underground, according to the KPL representatives.

Just because the council spent $320,800 benefiting a large corporation, Wal-Mart, at a cost of $118 from each taxpayer, doesn't mean that we should encourage our council to dream up every possible project and just charge it to the taxpayers. I don't know who these taxpayers are who can afford to pay $118, or $181. This has to stop.

Incidentally, Scott Summers attends nearly every council session and I have found his reporting to be very accurate. He can't report every item that happens at a council meeting, but in this case his figures were accurate and not misleading. The option that Scott reported remains a possibility, KPL representatives made the offer, and Scott quoted the city manager's report exactly. We are fortunate to have a reporter who gives our City Council such good coverage. Let's thank Scott, and not criticize his reporting.

Doris Elliott-Watson

Bonner Springs

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