Archive for Thursday, April 24, 2008

City Council assigns KDOT funds to roads

April 24, 2008

The city of Basehor will soon receive a sizeable "thank you" from the Kansas Department of Transportation.

Now that the U.S. Highway 24-40 Corridor Study is complete and the parties are just working on tying up loose ends, KDOT said it would allot $600,000 in non-competitive corridor management funds to go toward road projects in the city for participating in the study.

"The state said they're just giving us a little bonus here for completing the corridor study," City Administrator Carl Slaugh said.

To receive the funding, the city council had to prioritize a list of road projects to submit to the state. After several discussions and looking to the city's Capital Improvement Plan for guidance, the council voted 4-1, with Keith Sifford opposed, to submit two projects for funding - the Wolf Creek Parkway reverse frontage road from 150th Street to 153rd Street and the 150th Street road project from Craig Street north to Parallel Road. The council also split the funds up designating $500,000 to Wolf Creek Parkway and $100,000 to 150th Street.

The logic behind putting more of the funding towards Wolf Creek Parkway is three fold. First, the Wolf Creek Parkway project is ready to go, Slaugh said. Developer, Ed McIntosh with Benchmark Management has already been through the bidding process and is ready to start building the road. However, 150th Street is still a ways off from starting construction.

"We're still working on the final design and we still need to get easements and right of ways and that's going to take us most of the rest of the year," Slaugh said.

Funding the Wolf Creek Parkway project will not only be a benefit to the developer, but the city as well, because of Wolf Creek Junction's Transportation Development District (TDD), Slaugh said. With the TDD, development that improves transportation within the district, such as roads, is financed by the developer. The developer is gradually reimbursed through .75 of 1 percent sales tax as retail business grows in the area. Slaugh said if funding is provided now, the city would eventually be reimbursed and come out ahead.

Many large cities rely solely on sales tax revenue to finance road projects, Slaugh said, but Basehor does not generate enough revenue to do that yet. It is the city's hope that funding for the road will jumpstart it's construction and, in turn, speed up construction on the planned grocery store, bringing in more businesses and ultimately more sales tax revenue.

"The TDD money is not going to be available for a few years, but if we get the grant money now, we'll move ahead with it and build it, then eventually over time be reimbursed through the TDD," Slaugh said. "This is what you call leveraging your grant money."

Looking at the bigger picture was also a goal when the council made its decision. Most council members agreed that making Wolf Creek Parkway a priority would benefit a greater number of people. Slaugh said out of all the projects pending in the city, the most phone calls and questions he receives regard the development of the grocery store.

"I'm glad the council voted on that as a priority so we can get Wolf Creek Parkway built and the developer can move on with that project," he said.

McIntosh said the funding would add strength to the financing of the road project, which is expected to cost more than $1 million. He said he would also like to have construction of the road well under way before continuing with the grocery store because of access issues.

"It's the right place to put the corridor funds," he said. "Of course we're appreciative. It's good for us and it's good for the whole city. It's a good start and if everything goes as we anticipate, it will expedite the process of building the road. These are good steps in the right direction."

In other action Monday night, the council:

¢ Tabled, 5-0, a petition for creation of a benefit district, as requested by Affinity Development, for Basehor Town Center.

¢ Approved, 4-2, with Jim Washington and Iris Dysart opposed and Mayor Chris Garcia voting in zoning matters, a Future Land Use Amendment from commercial to Medium-Density Residential for the Property located at 15251 State Avenue, as requested by Benchmark Management, LLC.

¢ Approved, 4-2, with Washington and Dysart opposed and Garcia voting in zoning matters, a change of zoning from R-O, Suburban Residential to R-3, Multi-Family Residential for property located at 15251 State Avenue.

¢ Approved, 5-0, an ordinance for voluntary annexation of portions of the Cedar Falls Subdivision, less and except lots 1, 28 and 57.

¢ Approved, 6-0, with Garcia voting in zoning matters, the final plat for Fox Ridge Second Plat and Subdivision Improvement Agreement.

¢ Approved, 5-0, to continue membership in the Mid-America Regional Council and payment of annual membership dues in the amount of $509.

¢ Approved, 5-0, Park Advisory Board member resignations for Debbie Bonee and Mary Ohler.

¢ Approved, 5-0, the purchase of a 2008 Ford Ranger 4x4 animal control vehicle not to exceed $15,000.

¢ Approved, 5-0, the transfer of $244,000 from Sewer Fund to Bond and Interest Fund for Kansas Department of Health and Environment State Revolving Loan payment.

¢ Approved, 5-0, setting a public hearing for delinquent utility accounts at 7 p.m., Monday, May 19.

¢ Tabled, 5-0, the passage of an ordinance relating to Erosion and Sediment Control, Chapter IV, Building and Construction.

¢ Approved, 5-0, changes to Maintenance Laborer-Level I (part-time seasonal) job description.

¢ Met in executive session for 30 minutes to discuss non-elected personnel and attorney client privilege.

¢ Tabled, 5-0, city administrator contract changes in regards to vacation policy, sick leave and severance pay.

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