County resident concerned over codes court
When it comes to budgeting for a new codes court in Leavenworth County, at least one resident is saying thanks, but no thanks.
County resident David Jons said he just sees this new court snowballing into more bureaucracy, more government interference and more taxes.
“To me it looks like nothing more than the foundation for the oncoming of building permits, a doggy-and-kitty tax, and anything else you can put in there to generate revenue,” Jons said. “I think we have enough government interference and intervention now, and I think that is the view of a lot of folks in the county.”
On Thursday, Jons, a dairy farmer near Basehor, was one of five county residents to attend the Leavenworth County commissioners’ quarterly evening meeting at Community National Bank in Basehor.
Commissioners JC Tellefson and John Flower were present at the meeting. Commissioner Clyde Graeber was absent.
To answer Jons’ concerns, Tellefson explained the commission’s decision to add $150,000 to the 2011 budget for the codes court came out of the county’s inability to enforce certain county codes. He cited two cases in which properties were blighted or had safety issues that needed to be addressed, but with the current system, it took the county three or more years to clean up the properties.
“The only thing that we can do is really just say, ‘Fine, we’ll just hire someone to do this,’” Tellefson said.
Flower agreed with Tellefson’s comments and added that Leavenworth County District Court doesn’t make code violations a priority when there are major-crime cases that need to be tried.
Flower said there were examples of homes in the county bringing down the value of the neighboring homes or have other safety concerns.
“We daily have people who come… where they move to wherever it may be and somebody moves in next door to them… or a builder started a house and they’ve abandoned it for whatever reason,” Flower said. “The process that we have to go through today to get that building torn down or corrected is pretty arcane, time-consuming and expensive.”
Jons’ mind was not changed, but he said he would look to see if the money assigned to the codes court would make it into the county’s final budget.
Tony Turner, operations supervisor at the Leavenworth County solid waste transfer station, expressed his concerns to commissioners about the transfer station.
His main concern involved fixing the station’s scales. He said if the scales didn’t work properly, the county’s Solid Waste Department could be subject to a surcharge at the Hamm Landfill or get fined for its trucks being overweight when transporting loads to the landfill.
Commissioners agreed the scales needed to be fixed and said they would speak with the solid waste director about the issue.
The commission meets in the evening once a quarter in the northern and southern parts of the county to speak with the constituents who are unable to make it to their regularly scheduled morning meetings in Leavenworth.
The next meeting on the northern part of the county will be at 6 p.m. Oct. 14, at the Leavenworth County Courthouse, 300 Walnut St., Leavenworth. The next meeting in the southern part of the county will be at 6 p.m. Oct. 21 at Tonganoxie VFW Hall, 910 E. First St., Tonganoxie.