Archive for Thursday, January 20, 2011

Glenwood Estates residents must pay full connection fee

Basehor City Hall is home of the Basehor City Council

Basehor City Hall is home of the Basehor City Council

January 20, 2011

The Basehor City Council on Monday opted not to give residents of Sewer District No. 3 a break on their sewer connection fees, on a split vote.

The council voted, 3-2, against an addendum that would have allowed Sewer District No. 3 residents — the bulk of whom live in the Glenwood Estates subdivision — to connect to the city's sewer line at the amount charged within the city limits, $3,450. Instead, the residents will pay the out-of-city rate of $4,425.

Members Iris Dysart, Jim Washington and Bill Moyer voted against the addendum.

The vote came after two Basehor residents earlier in the meeting criticized the possible reduction of the connection fees at a time when the city’s monthly sewer fees are about to jump by 40 percent, largely to help pay debt on the city's wastewater treatment plant.

Dysart said it should have been the responsibility of Leavenworth County, not the city, to alleviate the financial stress on the Glenwood Estates residents. The county, as the authority overseeing the sewer district, should have planned for the expiration of the subdivision’s permit to use its sewer lagoon and helped the residents connect to another sewer line, Dysart said.

“It's making us look like we are the bad people in this situation, and we are not,” Dysart said. “It's Leavenworth County.”

Mayor Terry Hill said the city would probably annex Glenwood Estates during the next several years, and the idea behind the addendum was to allow residents to connect at an in-city rate because they would be in the city soon.

Washington, though, said that the issue had already been settled in 2010 when the council offered annexation to Glenwood Estates residents in return for a lower fee, but few residents responded.

Council member Dennis Mertz, who met with Sewer District No. 3 residents to discuss how to mitigate the cost of the sewer connection, asked the other members to consider that the residents were placed in a tough situation through no fault of their own.

“Put yourself in their place,” Mertz said. “They’re not trying to connect to us. They didn't want to connect to us. They were told by the state they had to connect to us.”

Member David Breuer noted that the residents would have to pay 1.5 times the city’s monthly sewer rate in addition to the initial connection fee. The connection of the roughly 100 lots in the sewer district would already net hundreds of thousands of dollars for the city's sewer fund, he said, and a reduction in the connection fee would not change that.

“There's a hundred new connections, and they’re on forever,” Breuer said.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, Basehor resident Elaine Bundy said that if the city’s sewer funds were so low that it was increasing monthly rates by 40 percent, it should not give up roughly $100,000 to reduce connection fees for Sewer District No. 3. She said the city should consider its current residents' needs first.

“Did you even think about the impact on the people of Basehor?” Bundy said. “People are losing their jobs. Companies are cutting back on hours. My job got cut back to 30 hours a week.”

Glenwood Estates residents were forced to connect to the Basehor sewer system in 2009 after their Kansas Department of Health and Environment permit to use their sewer lagoons expired, and KDHE ordered the lagoons decommissioned.

Comments

IamTHATguy 3 years, 3 months ago

"“It's making us look like we are the bad people in this situation, and we are not,” Dysart said. “It's Leavenworth County.”" - Yes, Ms. Dysart, Leavenworth County has bungled this. YOU, however, are in a position to do something positive about it, and chose to continue the path of abusing the homeowners, who have done nothing wrong. A quick search of the Sentinel's archives found at least 6 different times where the city committed to help contain the costs to the homeowners. Now, you've let 3 people decide to make liars of the city. So much for "goodwill".

"Mayor Terry Hill said the city would probably annex Glenwood Estates during the next several years, and the idea behind the addendum was to allow residents to connect at an in-city rate because they would be in the city soon." - So, can the residents expect a refund of all overcharges and premiums paid when this annexation occurs? You're writing a big check here. You guys have been talking about annexation for 10+ years. Why not just do it - Kansas law provides 2 easy paths for this - between Basehor & the county commission, it could easily happen.

"Washington, though, said that the issue had already been settled in 2010 when the council offered annexation to Glenwood Estates residents in return for a lower fee, but few residents responded. " - Really, Jim, you want to continue to stick with that? An "annexation offer" that was prepared, but NEVER sent to the homeowners, with no terms specified... Would YOU sign a blank check for ME? And, please, don't try to blame the Glenwood HOA, as they have NO authority to act in anyone's behalf in matters regarding annexation or sewer districts. Besides, many of the SD3 homeowners are not even members of the HOA.

Councilmen Breuer & Mertz - thank you for YOUR efforts. You guys actually worked with the homeowners as much as you could. If I DO get annexed, you'll be the 2 that I vote to keep.

Finally, citizen Bundy. The city is not "giving away" $100k. They are charging us $100k EXTRA, on top of the $350,000 that they are already receiving. PLUS, they are gaining an extra $6000 per month, every month, on top of existing revenue for treatment. Sewer systems operate on economy of scale - the more you treat, the LOWER the cost per unit becomes, especially since you are charging the "new connections" a 50% premium. That extra $72,000 in income will probably cost less than $20k additional to treat.

“Did you even think about the impact on the people of Basehor?” Bundy said. “People are losing their jobs. Companies are cutting back on hours. My job got cut back to 30 hours a week.” - As are the residents of Glenwood. We're people too, living in the same economy as you. We are now looking at OUR per household budgets being strained by an ADDITIONAL $200.00 per month, by the time we pay monthly fees with a 50% surcharge, construction costs, and an inflated connection fee. Thanks for adding a little more straw to THIS camel's back....

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IamTHATguy 3 years, 3 months ago

Almost forgot Mr. Moyer... I would have expected a little more sympathy from you, as we're practically neighbors. You've been thru this with Cedar Lakes. How much was the connection fee YOU paid? Why is my connection any different than yours?

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KSGUY 3 years, 3 months ago

"Washington, though, said that the issue had already been settled in 2010 when the council offered annexation to Glenwood Estates residents in return for a lower fee, but few residents responded."

And the reason few responded was because the city failed appropriately notify Glenwood Estates residents of the offered annexation. Instead of mailing notification of the issue, your city staff relied on a Homeowners group, which not everyone is a member of, to distribute the information. Just another example of the good old boy system this city seems to run on.

And you failed to mention the city was required to allow the hook ups as part of the deal to get your sewer plant. I would suggest if the area is annexed in the next 5-10 years a refund of the difference between in city and out of city connect fees be given. That would seem fair to all.

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Jason Bailey 3 years, 3 months ago

I will forgo paying the tax and, instead, build an outhouse. When the pit needs to be emptied, I will take the waste to the homes of Iris Dysart, Jim Washington and Bill Moyer and simply fertilize their yards.

What a joke. Once again, this just goes to prove that the hammer and sickle should be flying on our flagpoles instead of the stars and stripes. We live under the ruse of democracy, behind which is a dictatorship.

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Anonymous13 3 years, 2 months ago

The city of Basehor has nothing to offer. No parks, no pools, no community center and no city council members with even a modicum of intelligence. Glenwood Estates/Sewer District #3 residents should work to get annexed by a real city - Bonner Springs.

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Dennis Mertz 3 years, 2 months ago

I made several attempts to mitigate the cost to the homeowners.

It is very difficult to reason with other council members, who made a valid point as to where are the sewer district #3 residents? We had several meeting and of which I don't recall anyone making an argument to reduce the rates. These meeting and agenda items are listed on the very same website you are using to complain on. I encourage you to also visit the City web page to keep up with current events. www.cityofbasehor.org

>

Nothing can substitute hearing citizen comments at City Hall.

I will continue to do what I think is the right thing for the future of the City of Basehor.

Sincerely,

Dennis Mertz Council Member City of Basehor mertz@cityofbasehor.org

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IamTHATguy 3 years, 2 months ago

Dennis - can you point out on this website where the announcement was that Glenwood sewer rates would be discussed at the Jan 17 meeting? Maybe I'm just missing it, but I'm usually pretty good with searches...

The only January article I could locate was good news. http://www.basehorinfo.com/news/2010/... - see bottom of article.

Are we non-residents expected to show up in force at EVERY meeting, even when NOT on the agenda?

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IamTHATguy 3 years, 2 months ago

BTW, I did review the meeting agenda for Feb 17th on the City of Basehor website. Since the council took action at the Jan 20th meeting (article linked above), rate approval was listed on the consent agenda. Link: http://www.cityofbasehor.org/elecofficials/Agenda%20Packet%201-17-11.pdf

Apparently THIS council does not know how a consent agenda is used - if there was to be discussion on the agenda item, it should have been listed as a regular agenda item, not a consent item. You could have then solicited some input from all parties involved instead of leading people to believe that you were taking routine action on a "settled" item..

Here's some light reading for the city council on use of consent agendas: http://bloch.umkc.edu/mwcnl/board%20resources/Consent%20Agendas.pdf

Please note the sentence: " Consent agendas are not to be used to hide actions that will be controversial -- to do so breaches the trust of the board and undermines the value of this practice"

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IamTHATguy 3 years, 2 months ago

Sorry - messed up the dates. First paragraph should read: I did review the meeting agenda for JANUARY 17th on the City of Basehor website. Since the council took action at the DECEMBER 20th meeting (article linked above), rate approval was listed on the consent agenda.

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