Archive for Thursday, May 20, 2004

City braces for population boom

May 20, 2004

It's no secret the city of Basehor is poised to receive an avalanche of new residential growth in coming years. It remains to be seen whether the city will ride that wave of development or be buried underneath it.

"You'd have to look long and hard for another town that's going to grow like we're going to grow," Basehor city administrator David Fuqua said.

This week, Fuqua said that Basehor's population could pass 10,000 within 10 years. The 2000 Census lists the city's population at 2,234 residents; however, city officials said the actual figure today is closer to 2,500.

"I'd say by 2014 we could be knocking on the door of 13,000 to 14,000," Fuqua said.

Within approximately five years, the city's population could see a 200 percent increase. There are currently 943 homes in Basehor; 1,400 homes are in some stage of development right now, Fuqua said.

Using an average of 3.2 people per home, that's another 4,480 residents into the city, bringing the total population close to 7,000 people.

The numbers don't end there.

City officials said 11 developers are currently researching possibly building in Basehor. With those developments and the approval of annexations of developments south of U.S. Highway 24/40, it's conceivable Basehor's population could blossom into a five-digit number.

"Those are the developments we know about," Fuqua said. "That doesn't take into account who might build here."

Just how does the city accommodate that growth? Fuqua said it all starts with infrastructure, particularly roads and sewers.

"I'm worried about the streets and the sewers right now," he said. With that kind of boom in development, a new wastewater treatment plant would be necessary and the city's streets, "small, thin roads," Fuqua called them, would need upgrades.

In theory, adding another treatment facility and upgrading roads sounds simple. In practice, paying for another multi-million dollar facility and new roads is another story altogether.

The debate as to how the city's future will be funded -- the arguments are between raising the mill levy and holding the line on taxes -- continued for members of the Basehor City Council this week. The City Council hosted a work session Monday night to discuss the 2005 budget (see related story, this page).

The wild card in the debate is how much money from commercial development -- including such items as franchise fees, sales tax and property tax among others -- the city can count on in coming years. It's a prediction, how much new business will come the city's way, no one can make with any certainty.

Fuqua said businesses would follow if Basehor receives the kind of population surge the city is expecting.

"With that kind of growth, the businesses will come," he said. "It opens the door. They're in the business of following numbers, naturally, and we're going to have the numbers."

Commenting has been disabled for this item.