Rick Poppitz
Special to The Gardner News
The Edgerton city council meeting on Feb. 8 began with an update on county business from the District 6 county commissioner and was followed by consideration of four business agreements and contracts.

Brown on courthouse
Mike Brown, District 6 county commissioner, spoke to the council at the start of the meeting to give an update on county activity, including courthouse construction, the May opening of Big Bull Creek Park, rural road improvements, and efforts to expand the transit system serving New Century Air Center in Olathe and the Logistics Park Intermodal facility in Edgerton.
An artist’s drawing of the new courthouse was shown, and an aerial view of the area showing where parking will be in the surrounding lots.
Joking about the size of the new courthouse, Brown said tenants of the buildings to the east would enjoy lower cooling bills in summer because they’ll be in the shadow of the courthouse.
Brown on ‘Dark Store’
When Brown had concluded his presentation, Roberts asked him to share what he knows about the “dark store theory.”
The dark store theory of property valuation suggests that commercial properties should be appraised and valued the same whether they’re operating or vacant. Up to now property appraisals have value added at operating business locations.
Big box stores across the country have been challenging the appraisal method in court. Brown said Target stores had just won a case in Sedgewick County and that there was another case in Johnson County that should be concluding in the next month or so.
If this becomes standard law, Brown said it would take out 40 percent of the commercial valuation in Johnson County.
“This is a huge impact for public education, for any government that collects property tax. This is a big potential hit, and it’s going to change the way we budget,” said Brown.
Roberts said that once started, it would not end with retail but would spread to industrial property too.

Nelson Street & East 4th
The council considered an agreement between Johnson County and the City of Edgerton, for the public improvement of Nelson Street and East 4th Street (including the intersection). This is part of the five year city/county street improvement program.
The CARS 2018 Nelson Street Improvement project will remove the existing asphalt roadway and replace it with concrete, remove and replace the existing curb and gutter, reconfigure the pedestrian sidewalk system, and add new design standards as outlined by the Downtown Edgerton Plan.
Once design plans are complete, staff will seek concurrence to bid with construction completion expected by fall 2018.
Council approved with a 3-0 vote. Council members Darius Crist and Jody Brown were absent.

Briefly:
• By 3-0 vote council approved a request from Johnson County Library to install a high-speed internet antenna and mount on the roof of the Edgerton Library branch. The library covers all costs including removal and restoration when or if that is needed.
• By 3-0 vote council approved a contract in the amount of $7,350 for services and scope of work with ETC Institute for a citizen survey. The city conducts a citizen survey every two years. The survey results are used to assist in prioritizing funding and resources during the preparation of the annual budget.
• By 3-0 vote council approved a contract with Candid Marketing and Communications for marketing, graphic design and public relations services for 2018. In previous years, the contract charged a monthly fee of $3300. The 2018 contract establishes a $150 hourly rate.
• Before adjournment, council recessed into a five minute executive session to discuss contract negotiations.