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