Council members disagree over voluntary annexation
Basehor's population might expand soon, as the Basehor City Council approved a resolution Monday night that started the wheels in motion for a voluntary annexation.
During the regular meeting, the council voted, 3-1 with Iris Dysart opposed and Dennis Mertz absent, to request the Leavenworth County Board of County Commissioners to make certain findings about seven properties in the Theno Estates subdivision.
In December, the city received a request from developers of the land, Brooke-Lynne Development and Howard Theno and Sons Builders, to annex the properties in the subdivision, which already uses the city's sewer system. The act would be an island annexation because a few remaining properties in the subdivision are not on board with the voluntary annexation.
It will now be up to the county commissioners to determine if the annexation will hinder or prevent proper growth of the area or that of any other incorporated land in Leavenworth County.
The council’s vote was in opposition to the course of action recommended by City Administrator Mark Loughry, who told council members city staff did not believe the financial benefits of annexing Theno Estates were sufficient enough to take on the added costs of the subdivision’s street maintenance, snow removal, etc. Also fueling Loughry’s hesitations in the matter was the lack of a full voluntary annexation. Several properties will receive certain city services without paying city property taxes, Loughry said.
“Not all properties will be annexed with this, which creates confusion with streets and law enforcement,” Loughry said. “It’s been referred to as free loading when properties are reaping city services and not paying property taxes. I didn’t make that expression up, I read it somewhere.”
Council President Jim Washington expressed his favor of the annexation Monday night, saying the city faltered when it chose not to annex this land when it first had the chance.
“I think it was a terrible mistake to not annex this when we first connected them up to our sewers,” Washington said. “It may not make dollar sense right now, because it wasn’t annexed three or four years ago. I think we need to annex this now. We need to create the precedent that we follow what out policy is, and our policy is that we annex if you’re connected to our sewer system.”
In agreement with Washington was council member David Breuer, who said the land in this subdivision would be a positive future investment.
“The reason I think we should look at it very strongly is because the streets, the sewers were built to our specs,” Breuer said. “I think that’s something we need to look at. I think it is a worthy piece of property, and I think it is a long-term worthy piece of property.”
Dysart opposed the resolution because she said she, like Loughry, did not see the pros outweighing the cons.
Also on Monday night, the council:
• Tabled, 4-0, ordinance 566 amending ordinance 315 regarding the cutting of weeds and vegetation, providing for notice and providing for abatement by the City of Basehor. The council tabled the item to correct some of the ordinance’s text.
• Approved, 4-0, payment to Kansas Municipal Insurance Trust in the amount of $27,986 for the city’s workers compensation insurance.
• Approved, 5-0 with Mayor Terry Hill also voting, ordinance 567 authorizing a conditional use permit for Consolidate Rural Water District No. 1 for the new water tower in the city. The ordinance included five conditions approved by the Basehor Planning Commission, and the council added a sixth condition that the land on which the water tower will be built must be platted.
• Approved, 4-0, a letter of support for Garrison Development to apply for affordable housing tax credits to construct Southside Village Apartments at 155th Street and Pinehurst Drive.