Archive for Thursday, May 8, 2008

Council OKs sewer agreement

Basehor City Hall is home of the Basehor City Council

Basehor City Hall is home of the Basehor City Council

May 8, 2008

Another step toward eliminating the odor problems of the overloaded Glenwood sewage lagoons and worries about delayed school construction was taken Monday night.

The Basehor City Council approved, 5-0, an agreement between the city of Basehor and Sewer District No. 3 of Leavenworth County providing for the treatment of wastewater. However, concerned residents of Glenwood Estates raised questions about the decision during the meeting.

A handful of residents voiced opposition to the decision to decommission the sewage lagoons and hook the subdivision onto Basehor's wastewater treatment system because of the estimated cost per customer, which, with all the fees associated with connecting to the system, is nearly $7,000 per lot prorated over 20 years. The fees will go toward paying off the 20-year Kansas Department of Health and Environment revolving loan the city plans to obtain to pay for line improvements within the Glenwood Estates subdivision to connect to the city's system.

"We're going to get forced to have to pay for the work needed to make this connection," resident Richard Valenta said. "I have problems with the system as it is. It is just unjust for us to have to pay for the system."

City Administrator Carl Slaugh presented a letter from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment from June 2005 stating the lagoons must be decommissioned and a plan to connect to Basehor's system must be created.

The lagoons were designed to handle about 18,000 gallons of flow per day and expected to last 20 years. However, development in the now 14-year-old subdivision exceeded what was predicted and the flow is currently at 22,000 gallons per day.

While Glenwood Ridge Elementary School was added and contributed to the flow into the lagoons, the letter from KDHE stated that even without the school, the lagoons would have experienced the same problem.

City council members further explained that the city does not necessarily want to take the sewage of Glenwood Estates, but has to based on the order from the state.

"I don't want to say we're forced to accept the sewage, but that's about where it is," council president, Terry Thomas, said.

"There were no other alternatives as far as the state and county were concerned," council member Keith Sifford said. "It's not a thing where the city of Basehor has come in and said, 'we want their sewage.' It was brought down by the state to the county and thus the city has gotten involved because there is no other place for the sewage to go."

Residents said one reason they were concerned about paying the fees was because they have problems with the grinder pump system they currently use and connecting to the city's sewer system would not remedy those problems.

Dave Lutgen of McAfee, Henderson Solutions, said they looked at upgrading the grinder pump system, but estimates showed that putting in gravity lines would be too costly.

"It would have been a multimillion-dollar project to take out all the grinder pumps," Lutgen said. "We didn't think that was feasible to put upon the residents, so we looked at other options."

"We do not like grinder pumps," Thomas said. "They are a maintenance headache. We would like the gravity system, but that's not the way nature designed the area around here."

Questions about the school bond issue and connection fees were also raised.

Some residents felt the decision to connect to the city's system was brought on by the planned construction of a middle school and GRES addition in the area. Representatives from the Basehor-Linwood school district have said they cannot obtain a construction permit for the new school and addition until the lagoon situation is resolved and the schools are connected to the city's sewage system. City council members reiterated that the decision was made in 2005 because of overloading and long before the current bond issue was ever brought to vote.

While there will only be one actual connection made to the system from the subdivision, a connection fee of $4,350 is charged per lot as a way for each customer to pay their fair share of the cost of the wastewater treatment facility.

"The connection fee is your right to put sewage into the system," council member, Terry Hill, explained.

The council added that they also intend to annex the subdivision, but said residents could annex as a subdivision on a voluntary basis prior to connecting to the system and receive the in-city connection fee rate of $2,950 per lot. The connection project is expected to be complete by Dec. 1.

"We don't want to have to deal with this either to be perfectly honest with you as a council," Sifford said. "If it doesn't come to Basehor, where is it going to go? We're doing the absolute best we can because we really don't want to be in this situation either."

Discussion and Action Items:

¢ City council president Terry Thomas announced his resignation from the council because he will be moving to Bentonville, Ark., to pursue a new job. Those present at the meeting enjoyed a reception during the work session and council members expressed their support for Thomas at the end of the meeting.

¢ Jeff Keller of Burns and McDonnell, presented an update on the design of the wastewater treatment plant expansion and said 75 percent of the design is complete.

¢ Approved, 5-0, a proclamation regarding Building Safety Week, May 5-12.

¢ Approved, 5-0, Police Week Proclamation May 15, Peace Officer's Memorial Day.

¢ Tabled, 5-0, a petition for a benefit district to finance public improvements and Development Plan, as requested by Affinity Development, for Basehor Town Center.

¢ Approved, 5-0, financial support to jointly sponsor the Kansas Sampler Festival for Leavenworth County in 2010 and 2011 in the amount of $6,725.

¢ Approved, 5-0, an Erosion and Sediment Control ordinance.

¢ Approved, 5-0, a Substance Abuse Policy and Implementation of Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

¢ Tabled, 4-1, with Jim Washington opposed, city administrator contract changes in regards to vacation policy, sick leave and severance pay.

¢ Approved, 5-0, an increase of funds for an animal control vehicle not to exceed $19,500.

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