Archive for Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Letter: Subdivisions not required to hook up to city sewer system

June 11, 2003

To the Editor

When Briarwood and Nottingham Estates petitioned the creation of a sewer district in the early 1990s, it was to use the funding generated to create a plan not just for the subdivisions but also for southern Leavenworth County. Part of the agreement -- and written in the petition -- was the right of the homeowners to vote on the final sewer proposal by the sewer district. If the facts came out that it was not cost-effective to do such a project, then the district would be dissolved. By Kansas Law KSA 19-2738, if 51 percent of the area of the land within the lateral sewer district wish to dissolve the district, then the district may do so.

The City of Basehor keeps thinking Briarwood and Nottingham Estates subdivisions will have to connect to the Basehor sewer system. As the facts stand at this time, it would not be cost-effective for the homeowners to connect to any system. The one-acre lots with sandstone rock formations make it very costly to build a sewer system. All the subdivision homes' septic tanks are in the back of the homes, not the front. In May 1997 the construction cost per lot within the subdivision only was set at $8,700, not including any easements, main sewers to the subdivisions or connection fees. The user fee is about the same as a person's water bill plus 25 percent per month. Now that the topsoil has been replenished and most people fixed their septic systems, the septic systems are working fine with very few failures to justify a sewer system.

The connection to the Basehor sewer system for residential customers outside the City of Basehor, was set at $750 (125% of the "in city" rate of $600 on November 2, 1998). As everyone has discovered within Basehor, the City of Basehor's costs haven't been very reliable or truthful and have been manipulated to make the project cost appear to be low but in reality is very high.

Even with the sewer lines in place in the subdivisions, a homeowner doesn't have to connect to the system if their septic tank system works, which raises the end users' cost even more. Even the City of Basehor has not gotten the existing homeowners with septic tanks within the city to connect. This is a major legal issue not talked about much.

One final note. The City of Basehor would still be better off if they would shut down the new wastewater treatment plant and sell what they can of it, then use those funds to pay for the $1,330,000 (estimated by the City of Basehor's BG Consultants) sewer cost to pipe it to Kansas City, Kan.

The monthly treatment charge would be very low compared to what's being charged now. (Call Kansas City, Kan., and even add an additional 50 percent treatment cost and find out for yourself.) If you look at the life cycle cost of 20 years the City of Basehor would still be ahead. Do the math!

Walter Heimbaugh

Briarwood Subdivision

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