Landowner, city closing in on purchase price
The search for a new water source for Tonganoxie city should end soon.
With the approval of the City Council Monday night, the city plans to proceed in the purchase of a 50-acre tract of land, which is close to the Kansas River, near Linwood off County Road 25. Currently the property is owned by Pamela Cooper.
The city has been negotiating with Cooper on the price. Mayor John Franiuk said that initially, the gap between what the city was willing to pay and what Cooper wanted had been substantial.
"Now, it is just down to nickels," Franiuk said.
The city plans to purchase the property but is still hashing out what the price will be. Franiuk said he hopes to have things squared away and a contract in the works by the end of the week.
The city has been seriously looking into purchasing the land since February. And, in November, it entered into a $2,000 access agreement with Cooper to drill test wells. The results came back in February. Water from the two test wells is high in iron and hardness but is treatable, Chris Eppley, former city administrator, said in February. The ideal wells to use would secure water for Tonganoxie for at least 30 years. Franiuk said these wells have that capability.
The city spent around $225,000, from the same fund that will be used to purchase the land, drilling test wells all around the Tonganoxie Sandstone Aquifer.
Franiuk said that a lot of people don't understand why the city could not just get water from the Tonganoxie area. He said that close to the river was the best way to go to ensure future water supply. The capacity is not enough for a big industry, he said. These wells have a potential capacity of up to 1200 gallons per minute.
"It is much more efficient to go to the river," Franiuk said.
The money available to purchase the land will come from a water improvement fund that was established in 1996, known as the 1996 water and sewage revenue bond, which is money borrowed from the state. The bond originally started at $1.5 million. Now, there is $588, 333 remaining. The bond helped the city in finding its new future water source.
Once an agreement is reached, the city can then look to obtain the water rights. After application, it would take between 30 and 60 days to obtain the rights.
The city then plans to also set up a water treatment plant on the property. With the water project itself and the treatment plant, Franiuk projected that the plan would take about 3 1/2 years to complete.
Also Monday night, a Certified Public Accountant for Schehrer, Bennett and Lowenthal discussed with council members the a preliminary 2000 budget draft. The recommended date for the completion of the budget is Aug. 1. However, Chris Clark, incoming city administrator, will not start working for the city until Aug. 1. So, completion of the budget was pushed back to Aug. 14. A public hearing will be held that night. Karen Daniels, deputy city clerk, said she hopes that they will not have to extend that any further.
The downtown renovation project that started in October is now finally complete.
Mayor John Franiuk signed a completion of work statement for the project. As of Monday, the city's one-year warranty is in effect. The only issue left is the total cost of the project which will hopefully be resolved when city superintendent Butch Rodgers returns from vacation in a couple of weeks.
On Monday, the final inspection of the downtown improvement project was held.
It was noted that parking space markings and spaces for handicapped parking were not part of the downtown project's contract. Council members discussed Monday night what should be done, but no consensus was reached. They also discussed signs along Fourth Street that still need to be put back up.