USD 464 should fully fund local road improvements, many on council say
The consensus among Tonganoxie City Council members, at least currently, is that USD 464 should fund road improvements needed to handle future schools on the district’s 80 acres.
The council, at a Jan. 11 meeting postponed a day because of inclement weather, discussed four options for funding.
City officials did number crunching based on estimated costs for improvements: $2 million infrastructure improvements for 14th Street, $1.5 million for the East Street extension to the new 14th Street and $1 million for the highway and 14th Street geometric improvements.
All options are based on estimates and more concrete discussion would be based on a traffic study, which the school board approved for $11,600 at its rescheduled Thursday meeting.
• Option A: City funds entire cost of roads and would assume debt of $4.5 million to fund all costs for off-site infrastructure. During 20-year period, Tonganoxie property tax payers would see an increase of 8.63 mills.
• Option B: School funds entire cost for new roads and assume debt of $4.5 million. During 20-year period, Tonganoxie city property tax payers and USD 464 property tax payers would see a 3.41 mill increase to meet debt service requirements.
• Option C: City funds costs of $2,450 linear feet of 14th Street and geometric improvements and USD funds the costs of East Street extension and the adjacent portion of the new 14th Street. Estimates come in at more than $2,242,150 for cost requirements. Local property tax for Tonganoxie property owners would be assessed with a new 4.28 mill increase. The school district would borrow $2,260,500 and would assess a property tax mill levy of 1.71 mills districtwide. A Tonganoxie property tax payer would be assessed a total of 5.99 mills of city mill levy and the school district mill levy.
• Option D: City funds all improvements except portion of 14th Street adjacent to USD 464 property. City would borrow $3,742,150 for cost-sharing commitment and local property taxes would be raised 6.96 mills. The school district would borrow $760,500 for its cost-sharing commitment and districtwide property taxes would be raised 0.57 mills.
A Tonganoxie property owner would be burdened with 7.53 additional mills of property tax paying the city and school district mill levy.
Council members each discussed their preferred option and the consensus was Option B: The school district funding the entire project.
“There’s going to be borrowing from either entity if this goes through,” Councilman Bill Peak said. “And this mill levy per household would be quite a bit lower. I’m just one who hates taking on any debt.
“(Option) B spreads the debt load wider … it’s easier on people. Everyone gets a bite of apple because all benefit.”
Councilwoman Paula Crook said B was the best option and that the school district should be treated like any developer approaching the city with a project.
Truesdell said he’d like to look at something along the lines of option D, while also looking at the possibilities of benefit districts.
“I think we’ll get reimbursements from developers on 14th Street,” Truesdell said.
For others on the council, Option B was the most viable option. City Administrator Mike Yanez noted the rates used to calculate did not factor in any community growth, which Peak praised. He appreciated inflated numbers not being used.
Mayor Jason Ward said teamwork was important between the city and school district.
“I’m an ardent supporter of schools and the children of Tonganoxie,” he said. “That’s the future, but at same time, the position the city is in with its debt load, it makes it really tough for us to step out.”
City and school district officials continue to discuss collaboratively and at their respective meetings the possibilities of funding and have pledged to keep channels of communication open on the subject.
A bond campaign committee is looking to pass what currently is an estimated $26.9 million bond issue in the April election. With a bond issue, the district cannot use bond money to fund road improvements, so funding would have to come through other means.
Law enforcement officials recognized for efforts
Tonganoxie police Chief Jeff Brandau presented certificates to local law enforcement officials for their work this past year in apprehending four individuals involved in burglarizing approximately 70 vehicles in Tonganoxie, other portions of Leavenworth County and Jefferson County.
Recognized at the meeting were: Tonganoxie police Sgt. Steve Hawkins, Jefferson County Sheriff’s office Cpl. Kevin Kufahl, Jefferson County Sheriff’s office Capt. Randy Carreno, and Tonganoxie police officers William Naff and Toby Allen.
“It couldn’t have happened if these guys wouldn’t have put in extra effort,” Brandau said.
Ward said he appreciated all the efforts of the officers.
“It warms my heart to recognize you for the job you do and service you provide to our community,” he said.
In other business, the council:
• Approved minutes of regular meeting dated Dec. 27, 2010.
• Approved final pay ordinance for 2010 A-1648 and A-1649
• Approved appropriation of Meadows Construction Pay Estimate No. 9 Final for work completed on the Fourth Street Phase III project for $7,833.29.
• Approved appropriation of $307,434.28 to Nowak Construction for work completed on the BPU waterline interconnect.
• Approved appropriation to Ed Roehr Safety Products for the purchase of four tasers as previously approved.
• Approved renewal of cereal malt beverage license for West Side Café, 416 E. Fourth St.
• Approved authorizing mayor to sign agreement for impaired driving deterrence program grant.
• Approved ordinance 1315 amending Neighborhood Revitalization Plan concerning capital investment for new family construction.
• Approved authorizing mayor to sign amendment No. 3 to the loan agreement with Kansas Public Water Supply to delay the first payment until Feb. 1, 2012.
• Approved acting appointment for utilities superintendent. The council approved Lloyd Wisdom be elevated to the position of acting utility superintendent. This will change his pay from $20.76 to $21.28 per hour equivalent to a 2.5 percent raise. The increase is retroactive to Dec. 27, 2010, when he started the duties of utilities superintendent. With Kent Heskett’s duties as the acting city superintendent until someone his hired for the position Butch Rodgers vacated upon retirement, Wisdom filled Heskett’s former position in an interim role as well.
• Met in executive session for 10 minutes to discuss personnel with City Administrator Mike Yanez, City Attorney Mike Kelly and assistant city administrator Kathy Bard.