City council approves a gradual increase in sewer connection fees
Tonganoxie City Council members met Monday night in a special meeting to discuss further options of how to fund a nearly $2 million wastewater treatment project.
They also gave the go-ahead to sign and execute a loan agreement for the project with KDHE.
City Administrator Chris Clark, with the help of David Hamby, of the city's engineering firm, devised the plan in which the city would use a $400,000 Community Development Block Grant and a $1.565 million loan from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to fund the project.
The city has looked at two options to gain revenue to repay the revolving loan fund.
The increase in sewer rates may go into effect Jan. 1, 2002. Clark said residents will see about a $2- to- $5 monthly increase.
The city would also increase sewer connection fees. The rate of increase for those will be staggered and more gradual than was discussed at the April 23 council meeting.
The first phase of the connection fee increase will take effect July 1 of this year. The current connection fee, $1,000, would increase to $1,500, where it would stay for two years.
Then, two years later, the fee would increase to $1,750. Five years after that, the fee would increase to $2,000.
All of the money collected will go towards the debt service payment.
"This looks a lot better to me than what we had last week," council member Janet Angell.
The council also discussed whether or not connection fees in the new mobile home park would be the same as houses. At this point, they will not be.
But new council member Emmett Wetta said, "If it's a home, it's a home."
Angell said one of the problems she had with it costing the same for homeowners and those living in the mobile home park was that typically people who in mobile homes have a lower income and paying the connection fee of $1,500 might be too steep.
Fire department grant
Also Monday night, the City Council authorized Clark to submit an application for a grant to help the Tonganoxie City Fire Department in both training and life safety. The grant is known as the new Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, under the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
FEMA requires entities receiving funds to match 10 percent of the grant. The total requested amount by the Tonganoxie City Fire Department is $187,000. The city would be responsible for $22,000 and the Tonganoxie volunteer firefighters would front $11,000 of that. In the training category, the department is applying for $144,500 and $42,500 for fire fighting equipment.
"Our goal is to be the best," Fire Chief Charlie Conrad said. "We have the chance to spend a dime to get a dollar."
With the funds, the Tonganoxie Fire Department plans to acquire a training facility to be used by the city firefighters and others from surrounding townships and cities. Conrad said the department also wants to purchase a thermal imager.
Interstate 70 Interchange
City Council members unanimously agreed to submit letters to Gov. Bill Graves, concerning the construction an I-70 interchange in southern Leavenworth County.
One of the letters states "We believe that this interchange would provide an access to the traffic system in our area and allow a great opportunity for economic development ad enhancement in Southern Leavenworth County."
A second letter expresses concern with KDOT's design of the K-7 and I-70 interchange option. Council members requested that Graves listen to concerned citizens of Bonner Springs on the issue.
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