Archive for Monday, October 10, 2011

County proposal would stick sewer district with bill of $1.93 million

The Glenwood Estates subdivision is south of Basehor, off of 158th St.

The Glenwood Estates subdivision is south of Basehor, off of 158th St.

October 10, 2011

Coming up

7 p.m., Oct. 17, Basehor City Hall: Basehor City Council meeting; council to consider reduced Sewer District 3 connection fees

6:30 p.m., Oct. 20, Glenwood Ridge Elementary School: Leavenworth County informational meeting for sewer district residents; public comment welcomed

10 a.m., Oct. 24, Leavenworth County Courthouse: Final public hearing to consider assessments for sewer district residents

Residents of Leavenworth County Sewer District No. 3 got a glimpse Monday of just how much they may have to pay during the next 20 years for their connection to the city of Basehor's sewer system.

According to a proposal that county commissioners approved to publish Monday, each property owner in the sewer district south of Basehor would pay about $19,700 over 20 years, via assessments on their property taxes: roughly $1,460 each of the next two years and $930 each year afterward.

Those numbers add up to a total bill of about $1.93 million for the project. But those figures could also change considerably over the next two weeks before Oct. 24, when the county must set a final apportionment formula after a public hearing.

County Attorney David Van Parys told the commissioners that date would be their ultimate deadline to determine how to divide up the cost of the project in time to place assessments on residents' 2012 taxes, which is necessary for the county to begin repaying a state loan. The commissioners’ vote Monday was just to publish a proposal before the public hearing to be held later, an action required by state statute, Van Parys said.

Commissioner John Flower said Monday that until that drop-dead date, he would continue to push for help for the sewer district residents from the three local governmental bodies involved: the county, the city of Basehor and the Basehor-Linwood School District.

“I'm not giving up yet,” Flower said.

The Basehor-Linwood school board still supports a plan to contribute $200,000 to the project, superintendent David Howard said Monday, though it has not yet made a legal agreement to do so. Basehor City Council members have discussed a plan to reduce residents' connection fees by about $1,000 each, which would reduce the total cost by about $95,600; the council meets again Monday, Oct. 17.

And the county, Flower said, is investigating the possibility of establishing a revitalization district to lay over the sewer district, a move that would allow the county to use general funds to forgive a $94,000 debt currently owed by the sewer district.

If each of those bodies agrees to contribute, they could reduce the cost of the project by nearly 30 percent. Factoring in interest on the county's debt to KDHE, the cost could decrease to about $1.37 million, or about $14,000 per property owner, resulting in an assessment of about $700 per year.

The commissioners could also decide on a different “fair and equitable” method of dividing the cost burden among property owners by the Oct. 24 deadline, Van Parys said.

The proposal approved by the commissioners Monday, 3-0, would divide the cost equally among the 98 pieces of property in the sewer district, including the two Basehor-Linwood schools in the district, Basehor-Linwood Middle School and Glenwood Ridge Elementary School.

Larry Van Fleet, a resident of the Glenwood Estates subdivision that comprises most of the sewer district, said at Monday's meeting that the proposed apportionment would put too much of the burden on the residents.

“I've told you repeatedly, over and over and over again: We don't have the money to pay for this thing, this monstrosity you guys have created,” Van Fleet said.

Making the matter worse, he said, was that the residents were paying for a new sewer line that is built to support future growth in the area, shouldering a burden he said should fall on the future additional homes that connect to the system.

“That's just not my cross to bear,” Van Fleet said.

Van Parys said the commissioners could alter the assessment structure in future years to add any homes that connect to the system later on.

Before making a final decision on the assessments in a public hearing to be held 10 a.m. Oct. 24 in the Leavenworth County Courthouse, the county will have an informational meeting next week where sewer district residents can provide input. The meeting will be 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20, at Glenwood Ridge Elementary School.

Comments

sunflowersue 2 years, 6 months ago

Too bad no one thought to apply for stimulus money for this project . . .

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kbrown 2 years, 6 months ago

sunflowersue:

Grants? Doubtful.

http://www.kdheks.gov/nps/ww_options_manual/

Chapter 11.

An addtional link: https://www.cfda.gov/?s=main&mode=list&tab=list&tabmode=list

click the "Programs" Tab and scroll to 10.781

Deadline: Sep 28, 2009 to Sep 30, 2010

However, only 1/2 the money was used of the allotted amount.

Information Contacts (150)

Regional or Local Office (151) : See Regional Agency Offices. Consult your local telephone directory for Rural Development local number. If no listing, get in touch with the appropriate Rural Development State Office listed in Appendix IV of the Catalog.

Headquarters Office (152): Assistant Administrator, Water and Environmental Programs, Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service, Water and Environmental Programs, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Stop 1548, Washington, District of Columbia 20250 Phone: (202) 690-2670.

Website Address (153): http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/UWEP_HomePage.html

Related Programs (160): 11.300 Investments for Public Works and Economic Development Facilities; 14.218 Community Development Block Grants/Entitlement Grants

(The above additional links are for distressed neighborhoods)

The bottom line is: it is KDHE.

This document lists the amount RF borrowed: http://www.kdheks.gov/muni/download/KWPCRF_2009_Annual_Report.pdf

So. sunflowersue, go back to the cfda site and take a look at 10.760

Water and Waste Disposal Systems for Rural Communities Number: 10.760

Applicant Eligibility (081): Municipalities, counties, other political subdivisions of a State such as districts and authorities, associations, cooperatives, corporations operated on a not-for-profit basis, Indian tribes on Federal and State reservations and other Federally recognized Indian tribes. The applicant must: (1) be unable to finance the proposed project from its own resources or through commercial credit at reasonable rates and terms; and (2) have the legal authority necessary for constructing, operating, and maintaining the proposed facility or service, and for obtaining, giving security for, and repaying the proposed loan.

This seems to be the issue define REASONABLE RATES.

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kbrown 2 years, 6 months ago

Last link I see is dead so, type all this into your browser window (or copy paste each line at a time into the browser window )

http://www.kdheks.gov /muni/download/ KWPCRF_2009_Annual_Report.pdf

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kbrown 2 years, 6 months ago

This looks promising!

Current Legislation from KDHE: K.A.R. 28-66-1 to 28-66-4 http://www.kdheks.gov/nps/lepp/download/28-66.pdf

Of particular note, the Local Environment Protection Plan (LEPP) is geared toward the counties of Kansas. Looks like Leavenworth County will receive about 27k in a grant, http://www.kdheks.gov/nps/lepp/download/LEPP12_Guidance.pdf

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osur351 2 years, 6 months ago

Why should I have to subsidize the folks in this sewer district with dollars I paid for county taxes? I don't want to subsidize these sewers! Who is subsidizing me when I pay to have my septic tank flushed. Grow up and belly up and pay your own bill. Quit asking for welfare. By the way I believe Commisioner Flowers lives in this district, Is this a huge conflict of interest saving yourself thousands of $$$$$ JOHN!

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basehorman 2 years, 6 months ago

Commissioner Flower lives in Cedar Lakes not in Glenwood Estates. Different Sewer District. Make sure you have your facts right before you make accusations.

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kbrown 2 years, 6 months ago

I am confident that the residents of Glenwood Estates and Basehor are the very people PAYING for the subsidies throughout Kansas. Why is it unreasonable to address KDHE to allocate those funds, that we pay, towards our project?

The whole sewer issue is a State of Kansas Mandate. It's not an off the wall decision made by Basehor, Linwood, Glenwood, Cedar Lakes, or Leavenworth County.

To suggest they belly up and pay your own bill--is like saying to any consumer that purchased a new car outright 5 years ago, they now must pay that amount on that very same car again ($19,000 over 20 years plus $4200 connection fee plus monthly bill. That is a good chunk of tuition for a furture college student --or a new car. That money will no longer be available for either of those choices because of the KDHE mandate).

It is IMO reasonable to ask for assistance. BTW, osur351, you too may be forced by KDHE mandate to connect to the sewer in the future and my thought is you may want to start thinking how to fund it before that becomes reality.

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merickson 2 years, 6 months ago

A quick note, kbrown, which will hopefully be good news if you live in the sewer district: The Basehor connection fee is actually included in the assessment. If this proposal were to pass, you would not have to pay the $19,700 PLUS the $4425 connection fee; the connection fee makes up part of that assessment amount. If Basehor decreases the fee, it will result in a lower assessment over 20 years.

Matt Erickson Sentinel staff writer

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kbrown 2 years, 6 months ago

Thank you merickson for writing that out. Below, IamTHATguy writes the plant increased to hook up 6000 connections.

I have not seen a 10 million dollar figure he writes about. However, I have seen a 6.7ish million dollar figure in the links above that I posted.

98 connections x 19700 =1.9 mil. Add to that, the past connections and current user rates of all--it looks like there is enough funds to manage this.

My concern is when it's all said in done, that privitization of the sewer district might be explored. That idea never works to the advantage of an user within the sewer district.

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osur351 2 years, 6 months ago

As i stated my county tax funds are going to this boondoggle and I believe my tax money should go to the good of the whole county and not the benefit of a few who need welfare. The sewer benefit district was established to benefit the patrons of the district and they also knew they would have to shut down their lagoons and hook-up to a system to handle their needs. To ask (demand?) the rest of the county to pay for their screw-up or at least their developers screw-up is wrong. I noticed you didnot address anything related to the personal gain by Commisioner Flower if he gets his way on the county commission.

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IamTHATguy 2 years, 6 months ago

The county commissioners chose to "upgrade" the line and routing for the benefit of future development, costing SD#3 several $100,000 additional. Those additional costs should be borne by the county at large, not just by the residents of Glenwood. Also, the schools account for roughly 20% of the "need", and should pay their fair share of the cost, not the same cost as a single connection. Nobody is asking for welfare - just fairness. The way this whole boondoggle was done is ridiculous - Build it, and THEN figure out what it costs????? Sounds like something Congress would do....

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kbrown 2 years, 6 months ago

The below comment is directed toward osur351

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kbrown 2 years, 6 months ago

There isn't a screw up. Many districts across the entire nation are in this same situation. You obviously have Internet--do a search.

It started in the mid 90's and it has come home to roost. The state had no choice but to adhere to federal EPA guidelines. In fact, the sewer district was forced fed this mandate. It is built. Your choices are now, Commisioner Flower informs you what is going to happen or KDHE can tells you what is going to happen. Pick.

This sewer debate is beyond asking for or demanding funds and the rest of the county W I L L pay for this as a result of decisions made in the 90's.

What concerns me is your repeated attempt at defining welfare as paying for a federally imposed state mandate. This project is now the County and City of Basehor's challenge just like funding the school system or the police force or the city employees or the fire station; are those entities getting welfare from you osur351? They are, after all, connected to the sewer system.

...And then you add I didn't address anything about Commisioner Flower's personal "gain" out of this. He inherited this mess like we did. I see no gain for anybody in this--with exception to KDHE's 2.5% annual interest.

However, would you share with the viewing audience what Commission Flower's gain is? What in the world are you talking about?

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IamTHATguy 2 years, 6 months ago

Look for KDHE to continue expanding connection mandates in the area. Here's why:

In 2000, Basehor built a treatment plant ($3 million & change) for 1500 connections, that was expandable in 4 phases of 1500 connections each. In 2008, it was time for the phase 2 expansion (~$2 million). Instead of doubling the plant to support 3000 connections (per the plan), Basehor made a HORRIBLE decision to build ALL remaining phases at once, giving them a plant to support 6000 connections (~22,000 people). That expansion cost ~$7 million dollars instead of the $2 million needed. They now have a HUGE plant that is running at 1/3 capacity, along with $10 MILLION dollars in loans - to KDHE. Those loans are set up on an escalating payment schedule - smaller payments at the beginning, stepping up in amount every 5 years. We're just seeing the tip of the iceberg here.

New construction is dead. If they had only done the phase 2 expansion, payments would be tight, but do-able with a few new connections each year. However, since they WAY overbuilt, the upcoming payments are huge, getting bigger, and will require at least 100 new connections per year, along with large rate increases. Basehor should be happy to have the $10,000 per month in new user fees and the $300,000 connection windfall that KDHE is giving them with Glenwood. Instead of accepting and encouraging new connections, SOME councilmembers have decided to wring every last dollar from anyone who comes along. Well, guess what - when potential future customers see how you treat your forced connections, your potential new connections will just build elsewhere. You are killing the future business you need to stay cost-effective.

Where osur351 and others should be concerned, is that Basehor owes all this money to KDHE, mostly due to THEIR (including several current members) BAD expansion decision in 2008 (which KDHE reviewed and approved). KDHE won't let Basehor default - they WILL force others to connect, and they WILL force Basehor to continue raising rates to support this oversize elephant they've all built. You people in Basehor (Elaine Bundy et al) who want to see SD #3 pay the maximum, just wait, because your rates will continue to go thru the roof without a LOT of new connections. Sewers operate on economy of scale - the more you treat, the lower the cost per unit. Since you are effectively discouraging more voluntary units, look for the operating costs to increase, along with ever-escalating debt payments.

There's no incentive for KDHE to help SD#3 with funding. They will get paid one way or the other, so why give away grant money to repay themself? With KDHE you have the worst combination possible - bureaucrats and engineers who are completely in control of the own destiny, at taxpayer expense. When they need more work/money, they get to decide who is or isn't compliant, and then define the projects required.

It's an ugly situation, and it's going to get even uglier.

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