County asks Basehor to reconsider Sewer District 3 fees
The financial fates of the residents of Sewer District No. 3 south of Basehor are once again in the hands of the Basehor City Council, this time at the request of Leavenworth County Commissioners.
The county commission during its meeting Tuesday authorized, 3-0, commissioner John Flower to send the city of Basehor an amended agreement asking for a reduction on sewer connection fees for Sewer District No. 3 homes, about four months after the Basehor City Council rejected a similar measure by a split vote.
The amended interlocal agreement would also ask Basehor to lower the monthly sewer rates for Sewer District No. 3 residents, the bulk of whom live in the Glenwood Estates subdivision, to those that Basehor city residents pay. Right now, the Glenwood residents are set to pay one-and-a-half times the in-city rate.
Flower, who proposed the amended agreement, said the city of Basehor had two reasons to reduce the amount Glenwood residents would pay to connect to the city's sewer system.
“One is compassion,” Flower said. “And two is the perception that at some point, they're going to annex Glenwood.”
Charging the Glenwood residents the in-city rates might convince many of them to consent to a voluntary annexation, Flower said.
Sewer district resident Larry Van Fleet said at the county commission meeting that the monthly sewer rates paid by the residents were ultimately more important than their initial connection fees.
“That monthly fee is ongoing, from now until forever and ever and ever,” Van Fleet said. “I'd rather pay a higher one-time connection fee and a lower monthly fee.”
Flower said the new agreement would ask to reduce the initial connection fees to $2,950, the in-city connection rate when the agreement was first signed in 2008, from $4,425.
The city council has addressed the issue of the connection fees twice during the last two years. In 2010, the council offered a lower rate to Glenwood residents in return for their consent to be annexed, but not enough residents responded. And in January of this year, Mayor Terry Hill asked city council members if they would again consider offering a connection fee at the in-city rate.
The council denied the request, 3-2, less than a month after approving a 40 percent increase in Basehor residents' sewer fees to pay off debt on the city's wastewater treatment plant. But since that meeting, two of the three members who voted against the lower rate have been replaced, with Travis Miles and Fred Box taking the place of Jim Washington and Bill Moyer.
The earliest time the council would be able to make a decision about the amended agreement would be at its July meeting, city clerk Corey Swisher said.
The residents’ connection fees will be paid by the sewer district, of which the county commissioners serve as the board of directors. The sewer district will use a revolving loan from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to pay the fees, along with the costs of constructing new sewer lines and decommissioning the lagoons formerly used by Glenwood residents. To repay that loan, the sewer district will charge homeowners an assessment over a period of 20 years.
Glenwood Estates residents were forced to connect to the Basehor sewer system in 2009 after their KDHE permit to use their sewer lagoons expired, and KDHE ordered the lagoons decommissioned.