August 23, 2014

Edgerton city officials clarifies intermodal agreement details

Corbin H. Crable
chcrable@gardnernews.com

One of the chief concerns of critics of the controversial BNSF intermodal facility centers around cost and funding of the project. Edgerton City Administrator David Dillner last week clarified for The Gardner News some of the main points of the intermodal project agreement.
Council members learned this month that water and wastewater improvements are not eligible for funding through the state’s Intermodal Revolving Fund. Dillner said that in the six-stage public infrastructure improvement period outlined in the agreement, only water and wastewater system improvements are not covered by the fund; all other improvements, such as those to roads, will receive IRF funding. In all, the infrastructure improvements will cost more than $42 million.

A BNSF train motors through Gardner. File photo

Stage 3 of the improvements calls for the construction of a water tower; however, current boundary limits prohibit the city’s extension in that area.
“We’re working with Water District 7, and (the water tower) would be owned by them,” Dillner said. “There would be an agreement between the two parties.”
Another section of the project agreement reads, “The city will only be responsible for repaying any debt issued through the Kansas Intermodal Revolving Fund to the extent that funds are available from these sources in the Public Infrastructure Fund,” In essence, Dillner said, if the city does not have funds available to repay this debt, it does not have to do so within a given timeline.
“The revenue will come in over time,” he said. “In the event that development (at the intermodal and logistics park site) does not occur, the city will not be responsible for the debt.”
Finally, according to the project agreement, “BNSF shall receive a reimbursement (from the city) of the BNSF excise taxes less any funds spent on the 199th Street Quiet Zone.” When asked by The Gardner News whether the city of Edgerton even has the money to refund excise taxes if they deny abatements, Dillner said the reimbursements would be taken out of the balance of the revenue the city has at that time. He added that the city may deny an abatement at any time.
For more information on the history of the intermodal and logistics park project, including a timeline of events related to the project, visit The Gardner News online at www.gardnernews.com

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