Archive for Thursday, May 4, 2006

City wins suit over tax district

Judge rules Basehor can create district to fund interceptor

May 4, 2006

The funding of Basehor's $1.7 million U.S. Highway 24-40 sewer-interceptor project again has taken center stage.

On Monday, the city won a lawsuit brought against it by Miles Excavating regarding a benefit district to pay for the project.

City Attorney John Thompson told the City Council Monday that Leavenworth County District Court Judge David King ruled earlier Monday that the city had the right to operate a benefit district. Miles Excavating officials maintained that the city made procedural errors in creating the benefit district, but King ruled it to be legal.

The benefit district would put much of the costs associated with paying for the project on property owners

According to city figures, assessments will be levied on 448 properties, which will pay for about $1.3 million, or 80 percent, of the project.

Basehor resident Jim Washington, who lives on 160th Street and would be affected by the benefit district, spoke at Monday's meeting. He said citizens needed more information about the issue.

"I know the general public, at least in my little corner of this benefit district, will be miffed if they don't have information before this is voted on," Washington said.

In January, the council held a meeting at the high school to accommodate the large number of people voicing concerns about the benefit district.

Council Member Terry Thomas on Monday said citizens have had opportunities to discuss the issue at council meetings since that meeting.

"I think we're about that close to making a decision," Thomas said, gesturing with his thumb and index finger.

The council plans to vote whether to initiate proceedings at its next regular meeting, Monday, May 15, in council chambers.

The interceptor project is complete and was funded through a Kansas Department of Health and Environment loan.

In other business, the council:

  • Scheduled a public hearing regarding the Wolf Creek Junction commercial development becoming a transportation development taxing district. The meeting will be at 6 p.m. Monday, May 8, in council chambers.
  • Approved the sale of weather radios at City Hall. The Midland weather radios will be purchased through Leavenworth County Emergency Preparedness. The radios must be purchased in bulks of 25, so the total cost will be $662.50, $26.50 each. The radios will then be resold to the public at cost, plus tax, for $28.43.

The measure passed, 3-1, with Hooker voting against the purchase.

"I don't think we should purchase them until we have orders for them," Hooker said.

  • Agreed to pay membership dues to the Mid-America Regional Council. The dues for 2006 membership are $770. After much discussion about whether the membership was necessary, the council approved the membership, 3-1, with Hooker voting against it.

"The argument was, what have you done for us?" Hooker said.

Other members shared Hooker's concern, as Mayor Chris Garcia said it was difficult for him to attend functions at the MARC offices in Kansas City, Mo.

Council Member Iris Dysart said she didn't know her way around that area of the metro to attend meetings.

"I couldn't drive over to Kansas City, Mo.," Dysart said. "I would end up in Hawaii."

Council member John Bonee responded to Dysart's last comment.

"I'll go with you then," Bonee said, causing a roar of laughter in the council chambers.

City Administrator Carl Waugh said that, if utilized, MARC does provide training for staff and other support.

"That's where we get the benefit of their fees," Waugh said.

  • Named John Flower as planning commission member. Flower replaces Rick Hogue, whom the council voted to replace. Hogue had missed five meetings in a 12-month period. City bylaws state that if a member misses three meetings in a year or four consecutive, the council votes on whether to remove the person from office, city clerk Mary Model said Tuesday.

Flower will finish the term, which ends next May.

  • Approved GIS software for the planning department. The council unanimously approved spending $2,800, with the possibility of $1,000 more for additional expenses related to the software.

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