Archive for Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Council Briefs

November 20, 2007

Planning service prices increase

Bucher Willis and Ratcliff will be responsible for the city's planning services for another year.

The council on Tuesday unanimously voted to approve a new contract with Bucher Willis and Ratcliff that reflects an increase in the hourly cost for their services.

For example, the hourly rate for Kevin Kokes, the Bucher Willis and Ratcliff planner for the city, went from $105 an hour to $110 an hour.

Kathy Bard, the assistant city administrator, said the city previously had its own full-time planner, but those planners would never stay long.

"The amount we offered to pay for a full-time planner was just enough to be a training ground," Bard said. "We would get them in and then they would go."

Bard also said Bucher Willis and Ratcliff provided additional services beyond what a full-time planner could provide.

So far this year the city has spent $22,000 for planning services from Bucher Willis and Ratcliff, Bard said.

Council updated on interceptor sewer

Brian Kingsley, of BG consultants, the city's engineering firm, updated the council on the progress of installing a new interceptor from Eighth Street to 12th Street that could service as far south as the Eagle Valley 4 development.

Bard said the initial estimate for the new interceptor sewer was $600,000.

The new sewer would be able to handle service for the Eagle Valley 4 development and beyond. It also will make the Raintree lift station obsolete, Kingsley said.

Kingsley had asked City Administrator Mike Yanez to contact the Eagle Valley 4 developers to ask about contributing to the project instead of the developer constructing a temporary lift station and the city upgrading the Raintree lift station to accommodate the new load.

"Any money that you put toward lift stations is money that you could have put toward your ultimate interceptor service that needs to be built to service these areas," Kingsley said.

Kingsley said if the easement acquisitions move forward easily, the project would be complete by the spring of 2008.

The council approved BG Consultant's plans for the sewer and directed Kingsley and the city staff to get together and plan for a public meeting to discuss alignment and easement acquisition.

Council member Steve Gumm abstained from the vote.

Curb and guttering OK'd for 2nd Street

It's been on the city's capital improvement plan for 15 years. Now Tonganoxie residents living on Second Street will finally be getting the street on their block curbed and guttered.

"It's well overdue," Tonganoxie mayor Mike Vestal said.

Brian Kingsley, of BG consultants, the city's engineering firm, presented his plan for the road improvements to the council.

The project is estimated to cost $599,417, which includes the design and engineering cost, but does not include right of way or any easement acquisitions. Kingsley said he doesn't believe there will be a need to acquire more land for the project beyond temporary easements for construction.

Yanez said that the city would apply for a KDOT revolving loan to pay for the project.

The street improvements will add curb and guttering, storm sewers and a sidewalk. The street improvements will be on Second Street from U.S. Highway 24-40 to the Leavenworth County Fairgrounds and Cox Street between First and Second streets.

The council voted unanimously to move forward with the plans.

Utilities delay Pleasant progress

Brian Kingsley updated the council on the progress on upgrading Pleasant Street.

Kingsley told the council that he and Butch Rodgers, the city superintendent, have been planning some work on the storm sewers, but existing utility poles have stopped the work from progressing.

Kingsley said he and Rogers are contacting utility companies about moving the poles and expect the project to begin at the beginning of March.

Engineer to work for rec commission

Brian Kingsley approached the council to see if his work with the Tonganoxie Recreation Commission would be a conflict of interest with his work with the city.

The Rec Commission has asked BG Consultants to prepare a site/grading plan for a five-acre plot of land the Rec Commission hopes to buy from the Leavenworth County Fair Board. The acreage will be used for additional baseball fields and parking.

"I see no conflict of interest," Council member Steve Gumm said. "It's going to benefit the city in the long run as well as the Rec Commission."

Mike Kelly, city attorney, also said he didn't see any conflict as long as the project didn't interfere with any city project.

City settles with water district

The council unanimously approved $6,000 to be given to Rural Water District 9 as compensation for lost revenue for a parcel of land that was annexed into the city in 2003. The parcel had a water meter on it.

In 2005, RWD 9 had requested $11,000 for lost revenue, but recently the city attorney and the attorney for the district came to the $6,000 figure.

"Both sides are getting a reasonable deal," Mike Kelly, city attorney, said. "I think it's the best we can do under the circumstances."

The mayor and other council members expressed a need for the city to develop a better system to come to an agreement with water districts when land is to be annexed.

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