Archive for Thursday, February 3, 2011

Mayor Terry Hill addresses rate increases in State of City speech

Basehor Mayor Terry Hill gives an update on city government developments during his State of the City address at the Basehor Chamber of Commerce meeting Jan. 27 at Community National Bank in Basehor.

Basehor Mayor Terry Hill gives an update on city government developments during his State of the City address at the Basehor Chamber of Commerce meeting Jan. 27 at Community National Bank in Basehor.

February 3, 2011

Basehor Mayor Terry Hill addresses a room full of Basehor Chamber of Commerce members during his State of the City speech Jan. 27 at Community National Bank in Basehor.

Basehor Mayor Terry Hill addresses a room full of Basehor Chamber of Commerce members during his State of the City speech Jan. 27 at Community National Bank in Basehor.

2011 State of the City: sewer rates

Mayor Terry Hill explains the City Council's decision to raise Basehor sewer rates by 40 percent for 2011 rather than making a more gradual increase. Hill made his 2011 State of the City address at Thursday's Basehor Chamber of Commerce meeting at Community National Bank. Enlarge video

State of the City: curbside recycling

Mayor Terry Hill discusses the city's new contract with Deffenbaugh Industries to provide curbside recycling for Basehor residents. Hill made his 2011 State of the City address at Thursday's Basehor Chamber of Commerce meeting at Community National Bank. Enlarge video

State of the City: Architectural design standards

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Mayor Terry Hill on the new architectural design standards developed by the Planning Commission. Enlarge video

State of the City: Code enforcement

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Mayor Terry Hill on the city's efforts to enforce code violations. Enlarge video

State of the City: Corridor expansion

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Mayor Terry Hill on the city's efforts to cooperate with the county in expanding design standards beyond the city limits. Enlarge video

State of the City: Business sign standards

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Mayor Terry Hill on the Planning Commission's efforts to create stricter standards for businesses' signs. Enlarge video

State of the City: City donation committee

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Mayor Terry Hill on the formation of a committee to assign donations from the city of Basehor to nonprofit organizations. Enlarge video

State of the City: Basehor City Park improvements

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Mayor Terry Hill on the city's response to residents' complaints about Basehor City Park. Enlarge video

State of the City: Online city ordinances

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Mayor Terry Hill on the city's effort to move city ordinances online for public viewing and searching. Enlarge video

Mayor Terry Hill took an opportunity in his 2011 State of the City address Thursday to give the city’s side of the story about two issues on Basehor residents’ minds lately: the 40-percent sewer rate increase and the new solid waste contract that adds curbside recycling.

During his address, which he gave at a Basehor Chamber of Commerce meeting at Community National Bank, Hill gave an update on city government developments during the past year, starting with an explanation of the Basehor City Council’s decision-making process in electing to bump residents’ sewer rates by 40 percent for 2011.

“I know when people read in the paper, ‘40 percent increase in sewer rates,’ it’s hard to understand,” Hill said.

He gave a bit of history on the issue, explaining that the city decided to expand its sewer plant before the economic downturn hit, when the city’s sewer fund was flush with connection fees from new houses.

During a few years late in the last decade when the city received more than 100 sewer connections each year, Hill said, council members opted not to increase sewer rates at all, despite a recommendation from an accounting study that the city increase fees by 2.5 percent each year in order to pay off the state loan that paid for the plant expansion. Now that connections have fallen to less than 10 per year after the housing market fell, the city was forced to make some steep increases in fees in order to pay off the $11 million debt to the state.

This time, he said, council members decided to tackle the problem immediately, giving the city an immediate cash reserve in case repairs are needed and saving residents some money in the long run.

“No one can tell us what the connection fees and the growth in Basehor is going to be,” Hill said. “If the economy turns around and we have a lot of housing starts, great. It’ll be great. But we can’t count on that.”

As for another recent fee increase, on solid waste service, Hill said the council decided to add curbside recycling at the cost of $2 more per month for residents because most residents would be willing to make that change.

“Over my course as mayor, I’ve had a lot of people come to me and ask me, ‘When are we going to recycle?’” Hill said.

He said a 2008 scientific survey by Kansas City Community College students also provided evidence that Basehor residents were willing to pay a bit more to be able to bring recycling to the curb. About two-thirds of residents in that survey said they’d be willing to pay about $3 per month for the service.

Residents will now pay about $14 per month for solid waste service. Deffenbaugh Industries, the city’s trash contractor, would have charged $12 per month this year for service without recycling.

Hill opened his speech by remembering his shy nature as a child, and then telling the Chamber members and Basehor citizens not to be shy about promoting Basehor’s strengths.

“When you go to your dentist, tell him, ‘Hey, we have office space available in Basehor.’” Hill said. “Tell your friends and relatives, if they’re looking to relocate, ‘Basehor is a good home base for you to live and move.’”

Hill also updated the audience on the city’s Pavement Management Program, the Planning Commission’s efforts to establish new architectural design standards and the city’s new committee tasked with awarding city donations to nonprofit organizations.

Comments

Jason Bailey 3 years, 10 months ago

Basehor is certainly not a "good home base" for business nor residents. How can you justify relocating here when there is a guaranteed 40% increase in sewer fees each month? If a decrease by 90% in the total number of new sewer connections is at fault, raising the fees isn't going to help increase new connections. It's a vicious cycle that city council has instituted. The problem is lack of connections, we need more connections. Let's jack up fees which will deter potential residents when they evaluate Basehor to other cities with lower monthly city charges.

And the recycling thing...give me a break. Why would I be willing to pay extra each month when Deffenbaugh is going to turn around and sell my recyclables for a profit. That is ridiculous. Recycling pick-up should be free as a part of the trash service; Deffenbaugh can make their money by selling on the back. Wake up people!

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