Archive for Tuesday, March 15, 2011

City council denies sewer tap waiver request from new owner of Sunset Motel

March 15, 2011

The Tonganoxie City Council denied Monday a request to waive a city fee for the new owner of the Sunset Motel.

Todd Herrington requested the council waive a $3,500 sewer connection fee for a house north of the motel that he was renovating for additional rooms.

Herrington said the house’s septic system failed, necessitating the connection to the city sewer. He said he has invested heavily in the motel and house’s renovations, working closely with the city to bring it up to code and addressing the issues stemming from the operation of a meth lab in four of its rooms that had taken place while the motel was under previous ownership.

Waiving the sewer connection fee would help, Herrington said.

Mayor Jason Ward said the request was similar to those the city received from businesses looking for incentives to relocate or expand in the city.

But Councilmen Chris Donnelly and Bill Peak were cautious about setting a precedent of waiving the fee, which funds the sewer system’s capital account. Peak was also concerned about granting a waiver that could be applied to new construction should Herrington or a future owner tear down the house.

To help avoid precedent, the council should agree to pay the fee from its economic development fund, Assistant City Administrator Kathy Bard recommended.

In the end, a motion to pay half the fee failed with Donnelly, Peak and Councilman Andy Gilner voting no.

In other council business, the council:

• Established fees for Tonganoxie Water Park that are unchanged from 2010.

• Directed staff to negotiate a contract with IKON to provide copiers and service. The contract would bring all the city’s copiers under the umbrella of one provider and would save the city $1,800 annually, Bard said. Dennis Bixby cautioned that Genesis Christian Academy had chronic communication problems with IKON when it was served by the company, but Bard there were no complaints in the last 18 months with the Better Business Bureau.

• Approved quarterly bonuses of up to $1,500 to Tonganoxie police officers providing field training to new officers. Police Chief Jeff Brandau requested the council approve the program last month.


straightup 6 years, 9 months ago

Way to go city council!!!! Todd Herrington says "Invested heavily in Motel and house renovations. WHAT this man Invested in our city? Hummmmm.... Working closely with the CITY to bring it up to code." But the city will not work closely or help this small business owner? Hummmmm.... I can not wait to see what kind of incentives the city will offer to a company that whats to come to that new industrial park. Don't want to set a precedent there either. What happened to... "we need to encourage businesses to our community"? The city is setting a precedent of keeping small business out of our city!!!


mymonkey 6 years, 9 months ago

Excellent point . I know that this may come up again as I asked a candidate who came to my door and he said he wants to reconsider issue and thinks he was wrong.


capitalistpig 6 years, 9 months ago

Well, the wise wisdom of voting against anything and everything that brings or retain jobs and tax revenue into the city. So councilman Peak was wondering what would happen if Herrington tore down the old house and built a new one or developed it into something else, Hmm lets have a little fun here, I did some research on the Leavenworth Appraisers office web site. The house on Smiley Rd is parcel # 192-04-0-30-01-006.00-0. The county taxes on the house are a few cents over $1000. So Herrington tears down the house because it is old and he doesn't want to pay for the sewer line. Hmm so in this worst case senerio, the county/city would recieve ZERO tax dollars. Plausiable but It sounds like Herringtion has a use for the house so I doubt he tears it Down and does nothing. Wait A second, he does decide to tear it down after all and builds a new $300,000 house here. My past experience tells me that the tax bill on this new house will be much more that the $1000 the county/city would have recieved had he left the old house standing. This seems like a positive not a negative. Huh, where did Mr. Peak get his School of Common Sense degree from? Oh wait he missed the test about increaseing tax base, especially when the City doesn't have to spend to do anything. Maybe Mr Harrington Decides to raze the Motel. Lost RE taxes, Lost sales tax, Lost transient tax, Lost Jobs, Lost guests spending their $$ in Town.

I am so relieved to learn that the economic down turn and job losses that have affected the rest of the country have bypassed the city of Tongie. We are so fortunate here in our little corner that we can turn away development, and how dare the peasant come to the Kings office after spending "heavily" in our community, not his and ask for assistance. I hope we have set a precedant, so that all investors will not dare come to this city council and ask for help.

Thank you Councilmen Peak , Donnelly and Gilner for saving us from this retched investor. Capitalist pig.


Michael Vestal 6 years, 9 months ago

i believe anything you can do, Within Reason, to promote new Business or and old one that wants to invest their money into a business here is a good thing. Yes, I'm Sure there will be incentives at the Industrial Park, The City Will Have to in order to compete in this economy. You can bet other Cities will do it to get a Company in their Town. Giving up a little to get a lot in the long run is a Good thing. I hope the Council can re-Visit this issue and help this gentleman who has invested a lot to make the Place something of which we can All be proud.


JerryB 6 years, 9 months ago

Wait- so when was a meth lab being run out of this motel? News to me...


Michael Vestal 6 years, 9 months ago

It was n past papers Jerry. The New Owner has done a great Job!


mymonkey 6 years, 8 months ago

I called Mr. Peak. He said anyone could call him. 845-2852 or 913-484-4825. He answered my ?. More to the story than the comments on our blog.


William Peak 6 years, 8 months ago

This is Bill Peak. Wanted to clarify position and background information. This issue was presented at open agenda with no background info from city concerning past or present procedures concerning helping with fee. I would of liked to had issue tabled to consider the matter in depth . I voted no to keep from oking something without considering complete ramifications for the city. Would like to check on developing policy to help existing business with parameters included for clarification of future requests. This is not a dead issue. My sentiment is for the man but I have obligtion to check out the situation completely. Thank you. Call me with any questions.


12345 6 years, 8 months ago

I'm torn on the issue. The house was built out in the country with no sewer service available. At some point the city annexed the house and has benefiting from the tax dollars for all these years. They really haven't given the owners of the house much in return for the additional tax dollars.

But, all houses have to pay the sewer tap fee. If they do this, every business and rental owner in town will want waived fees to get business in town. Businesses should have to pay their part of the infrastructure needed to support the utilities the city provides. New businesses are given tax abatements , but that is necessary to compete with other communities that do the same thing.

The city has an obligation to keep utility fees as low as possible; one they have not kept their end of the deal on either. Taxes and utilities are spent in a wasteful manner. If I were this gentleman I would just put a new septic in and not get stuck paying the city for the sewer. The city shouldn't have waived part of the fee for the sewer either.


rosebud 6 years, 8 months ago

Just a little note. My parent are in town for a visit while the kids are on spring break. Our place is not big enough to put them up. They had to stayed in Lawrence before because Sunset was not fit to stay in. This time they are staying at the Sunset Motel. Parents say its not the Hillton but it is very clean and ok to stay in. The new owner has done a great service to this city. I say Thank you. So should the city.


capitalistpig 6 years, 8 months ago

I hope the council will look at this matter again next Monday. I would hate to jepordize losing this business, granted we can't give everything away and still operate city services. However this is an exsiting house that needs new sewer system, forced by the city. So not like new construction and someone is asking to be waived knowing they have to connect to sewer system. Cities offer incentives for new business to locate in their city. Who pays for those incentives? Exsisting business and residents.

What is the fee for redoing the septic system, and not hooking into sewer??


capitalistpig 6 years, 8 months ago

One more thing sorry but I forgot, What if owner builds a lagoon, after all that is an ag piece of land? Lagoon is inexpesive to build?


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