October 24, 2014

Gardner, Edgerton to break ground on new sewer plant

Mark Taylor
mtaylor@gardnernews.com
The Gardner and Edgerton city councils will hold a joint dedication for the new Big Bull Creek Wastewater Facility on July 17.
The groundbreaking will take place at 8:30 a.m.
The Edgerton City Council approved a lease agreement June 21 with Johnson County Parks and Recreation for property for the new sewer plant.
According to Beth Linn, city administrator, the city intends to acquire the property through the eminent domain process but needed to secure the lease to ensure that construction stays on time.
The sewer plant is being dedicated despite the fact that the city of Edgerton and the county have been unable unable to come to an agreement on a purchase price for the property.
“We are in the process of condemnation, but we need to start construction immediately,” Linn told The Gardner News last week. “We need the lease so that we can enter the property.”
The lease requires the city to pay the county $100 per day for use of the property, located in the Big Bull Creek Park area.
The city is also responsible for maintaining and insuring the property.
Johnson County voters approved a $6 million bond issue in 1998 to purchase the 1,400-acre Big Bull Creek regional park, but it remains undeveloped 14 years later.
The county also purchased the adjacent Mildale Farm property that is leased on the weekends for wedding receptions and other private events.
However, the Big Bull Creek property remains closed to the public that is paying taxes for it.
The Edgerton City Council earlier this year approved an agreement to partner with the city of Gardner in the construction of the new sewer treatment plant on the property.
The plant will be owned by Edgerton and provide wholesale service to Gardner.
Edgerton had been planning to build a half-size treatment plant to serve the intermodal logistics park and add capacity for future growth.
Gardner then agreed to pay for additional capacity at the plant to delay having to expand it’s Kill Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant.
The intermodal logistics park is expected to open in late 2013.
According to the agreement, Edgerton will construct a pipeline and a lift station to serve the intermodal logistics park and the city.
Gardner will construct a lift station near 191st Street and Waverly Road, as well as a gravity sewer to provide immediate flow, and a force main.
Edgerton will retain ownership and operation of the plant and it’s pipeline, although Gardner will participate as a 50 percent partner in funding the construction and land acquisition for the new plant.
Either city may propose a future expansion to the plant.
Before Gardner agreed to participate in the project, Edgerton was looking to finance the $11.9 project on its own.
The agreement with Gardner doubles the size of the plant from 250,000 gallons per day to 500,000 gallons per day and saves Edgerton about $2.4 million.
Gardner’s cost will be $8.7 to $9.7 depending upon unknown subsurface conditions and depth of sewer construction.
Gardner will be required to generate 90,000 gallons of sewage per day to maintain it’s part of the agreement.
That amount is expected to eventually reach 150,000 gallons per day.
Within 60 days of the plant being substantially complete, Edgerton and Gardner will each be required to contribute $50,000 to a major maintenance fund for future repair needs.
The Edgerton City Council in 2009 approved a public infrastructure finance agreement with BNSF and the Allen Group that specifies financing for $46 million to $53 million in road and utility infrastructure to support the development.
Various revenue sources from the development are to be placed into a public infrastructure plan that is expected to fund projects in six stages and pay off debt obligations over time.

Comments

  1. Judith Rogers says:

    Yeah, line those policticnas and bureaucrats up………Press has worked hard in the last year to get this partnership working so the thieves can get what they want and that is for the people to pay for the things they need and want…………..those public/private partnerships are not advantageous for Joe and Jill Blow but they sure help the thieves by having the people pay the costs………and good ole Press is a long time pro at building these power bases (be sure to watch 60 Minutes article on Abramoff) and exactly why those rotten politicians, like the Dictator, call him in and the citizens pay dearly to have that jerk screw them every which way but loose…….he starts right within the bureaucratic City Halls, hands out raises to key people and plays to their egos to get their loyalty and then uses them as pawns to get what he and the thieves want and boy do the people pay a high price for this type of cronyism government……….that is my opinion based on observations and experience of numerous years……….be wide awake and bushy tailed when you watch those Commissioner meetings and city council meetings and what those jaybirds are doing in Topeka and then you should be crying in your beer or your soup because then you will know what the Sam Hill is happening to you……..that is if you want to see it.

  2. Judith Rogers says:

    And in my opinion every citizen who drinks the koolaid of it being okay to hit reserves to make budget are fools. City Hall continues to spend more money that what is coming in the door and they continue to put the citizens further in debt every single year and most of it for the thieves who don’t deserve to be bankrolled by the citizens and year after year after year they get by with it because the people aren’t doing their jobs. I heard Press say: “That’s what YOU do in years like this” (just like he and others like him are the kings of knowledge and are ready to spend our savings instead of making cuts that are needed) – No, Mr. Press that is what YOU do, not what I would do. You allow the thieves to not pay their full taxes and provide handout after handout in numerous forms and you will always have money problems but most of all you will have inquitable and unfair taxation and government.

    The majority of that Council, in my opinion, do nothing but fill a chair on Monday evenings and read a script provided to them – I cannot ever recall one of them making their own motion and providing the reason they are doing so. They are not leaders, independent thinkers or protectors of the citizens. Time and time again I see questions presented to Staff on items being considered and what are the answers you get to those questions? What I normally hear is “I don’t know”………”I BELIEVE it is so and so but I’m not absolutely sure”……..”I can’t remember”……and on and on we go and then those rubber stampers go ahead and make the written motions provided for them and vote Yes……..even when they don’t have the information they need to make an intelligent decision. And every time they want to be putting the people in debt, they should be stating the amount to be borrowed, what will the interest and all other costs that will be involved – anyone who ever takes out any type of a debt such as buying a house or buying a car, I would hope they would know the TRUE TOTAL COST and not just what the damn payment is going to be. I have heard Gourley state on occasion “It depends on what the payment is”…………….I can’t hack the car salesman type of finance……..I want the good ole truth in lending information and all citizens better not be making some impulse purchases because it will be biting them in the rearend and adversely affecting them………all need to be thinking farther than the end of their noses and get their priorities in order which they sure didn’t do when they voted for that school bond – that is my opinion.

    Every government entity needs to be put on a spending and debt diet but it won’t happen until the people themselves are ready to do so and demand that it be done. You get the government you deserve and by what you enable and support.

  3. Judith Rogers says:

    Here is an article all citizens should read and consider. Be aware of what caused the problems in Bell, California and be cognizant of the recent bankruptcy of Stockton, Ca. and all of what caused that and all of the adverse affects. Think it can’t happen here on the prairie? Think again……..it will happen here if you allow it by not doing your jobs. You already have an $8 BILLION debt with KPERS and a city manager who tells you to hit your savings rather than make the cuts that are called for in this depression (worthless politicians will pretty that fact up by calling it a recession) we are going thru. And every time City Hall and your school district or any government entity stonewall by not giving you the information that you need and deserve, you better be getting up on your back legs and be ready to protect your families. That millionaire KPERs program is just one thing that will be buckling the knees of average citizens. Cronyism government continues.

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    Miami Hides Stunning Government Pension Payments from Taxpayers

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    July 9, 2012
    Contact: Rae Ann McNeilly (440) 478-3858 or (312) 427-5128

    MIAMI—Taxpayers United of America (TUA) released estimated pension payouts for Miami and Dade County government employees as well as Miami-Dade government teachers. Florida refuses to release actual government pensions, ignoring citizens’ right to review all payments funded by taxes. TUA calculated estimated pensions for government employees based on actual salaries of current government employees to shed light on the largess of the tightly guarded secret payouts.

    “Florida lawmakers have been trying to undo the damage of administrations past, that have made crushing deals with union bosses whose only concern is their own job security,” stated Rae Ann McNeilly, Director of Outreach for TUA.

    “But despite efforts to reform the pension system, it seems that government officials are still willing to protect the system by keeping it hidden from review. The costs of shielding the system from review, and ultimately, reform, are devastatingly high as cities around the country are buckling under the weight of their unfunded liabilities. Pension funds are the number one budgetary problem in the country and Florida is no different.”

    “While residents across Florida face crushing taxes, falling home values, high unemployment, and, at least according to some, another recession, government employees continue to receive stunning pensions funded by taxpayers who will never collect more than about $22,000 a year from Social Security.”

    “As long as Florida shields its pension payments from taxpayer review and uses grossly overstated actuarial calculations, the Florida pension system remains a ticking time bomb. The purpose of our study is to put some perspective around individual pensions, to put them in terms to which the average taxpayer can relate.”

    McNeilly continued, “For example, Robert Cuevas, Jr., county attorney, stands to collect an estimated annual pension of $198,472* based on his actual annual gross of $354,415. His estimated lifetime pension payout could be a staggering $6,440,421.*”

    “Stephen Hunt, a fire lieutenant, has an estimated annual pension of $202,989*, based on his actual annual gross of $202,989, with an estimated lifetime payout of $6,586,984.* ”

    “Miami-Dade County government teacher, Sergio Cartas, has a lifetime estimated payout of $5,474,290* with an estimated annual pension of $168,699*, based on his actual annual gross of $301,249.”

    View pension amounts below:
    Miami Municipal and Dade County Gov. Employees Top 100
    Miami Dade County Gov. Teachers Top 100
    Florida State Gov. Employees Top 100
    “Florida’s government pension systems are crushing middle class Floridians. Replacing defined benefit pensions for all new government hires with social security and 401(k)s would eventually eliminate unfunded government pensions. Current government employees must consider a voluntary pension contribution of up to 10% to preserve their pension benefits. Additionally, all members should pay for 50% of their healthcare premiums. We need a stable system that is fair to both taxpayers and beneficiaries or pension checks will stop coming,” added McNeilly.

    *TUA submits FOIA requests for current employee salaries and estimates pensions based on the current pension laws. COLA average of 3% per year worked, uses 23 years of pension payments based on IRS form 590 LE of 85. Assumes employee worked 35 years and retired at age 62. No personal information is provided so calculations are accurate based on the necessary assumptions.

  4. Judith Rogers says:

    You better be ready to pay for all of this because you are going to be living (if that is what you want to call it) right smack in the middle of the mess. Think you are going to have the big dollars to pay for all of the road maintenance, highways and byways, interchanges, bridges, overpasses and underpasses, pollution, sewer and water plants, medical and disability costs, etc., etc.????? Be very cognizant of who brought it to you and who will actually be picking up the astronomical tab (I have never heard of a citizen getting a tax incentive, revenue bonds with an accompanying pay-in-lieu agreement, Star Bond or any other big boy handout) I don’t think you will be able to afford to go to and enjoy the crystal mountain air in Switzerland like the Garmin, banking thieves and others do.

    http://www.bizjournals.com/kansascity/news/2012/07/09/us-freight-levels-will-jump-during.html?ana=e_du_pub&s=article_du&ed=2012-07-09

  5. Judith Rogers says:

    Some citizens hopefully will remember me talking about Victorville, Ca. where BNSF was supposed to put an intermodal and the city spent several Million on that one. Well, this article tells you what inept, cronyism government can do for you. Stockton, Ca., Scranton, Penn. and many other cities and their citizens are paying dearly for their irresponsible management, spending and taking on debt (note the money that Inland Energy plans to make by letting them in the door). I hope all remember how Gardner Energy was wanting to increase the franchise fees it paid to the city of Gardner so they would have money to give all city employees a raise – you better be paying attention to what is happening at City Hall and beyond. All citizens need to be gettng their heads on straight as to what the city of Gardner and USD 231 School Dist. are doing. Myself I don’t think it is a good idea to be hitting your savings to make budget when you won’t change your spending and debt habits and keeping up with the shuffling of money from one account to another calls for much oversight in my opinion. Right now you have those thieves not paying their assessments and/or their assessments on those benefit districts here in Gardner along with getting their thieving “farm appraisals” and getting their values reduced tremendously by going through the appeal process and all of that crap has huge affect on the tax revenue that you should have and need to meet the needs of the community. As I have said time and time again, take me, the citizen, OUT of the development business – those jaybirds shouldn’t be looking to me to pay their bills or pick up the slack for the taxes they don’t want to pay and which lousy politicians and bureaucrats allow them to not pay. And citizens better realize things haven’t worked out too well in having sales tax funds to pay for that Worlds of Fun Pool and Celebration Park – you better think long and hard about what sounds good and nice to have – basically learning to live within your means and knowing what is affordable and realizing the economy goes up, down and sideways and the great plans of sales tax revenue always being there and increasing are not a sure bet.

    Fotovich may give City Hall diarhea, however, I think many of them need to be cleaned out real well.

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    Grand jury report tells story of Victorville’s plunging fortunes
    To stay afloat, the city resorted to extreme — and possibly illegal — measures, according to the report. The mayor says things are looking better now.

    The city of Victorville paid $375,000 for this property in 2007, with plans to build a 500-megawatt power plant in the area. The home sits abandoned and the power plant is unbuilt, another failed project that has contributed to Victorville’s financial disaster, according to a grand jury report. (Irfan Khan, Los Angeles Times / June 5, 2012)

    July 8, 2012
    Victorville hoped to strike it rich with a new hybrid gas and solar power plant near the old George Air Force Base, buying up homesteads for the site amid the High Desert’s real estate boom.

    The city shelled out $375,000 alone to Chris Massey and his family in 2007 to buy a tiny house plopped on five desolate acres of scrub and Joshua trees — 10 times the property’s assessed value.

    Today, the old Massey home sits abandoned, half-demolished by vandals, thieves and the merciless desert sun. The 500-megawatt power plant? It has yet to be built, even after a city agency spent $76 million.

    The failed project was just one of many financial disasters that had the city teetering on the brink of ruin after the collapse of the housing market in this patch of Mojave, when unemployment shot skyward and city tax revenues fell into the basement, an audit by a San Bernardino County grand jury found.

    “We were just lucky to get out when we did, and to get such a good deal,” said Massey, who took his money and moved his family to Oregon to start anew.

    There was no windfall to bankroll a fresh start for Victorville.

    The grand jury report revealed the disparate, possibly illegal, measures the recession-flattened city relied on to stave off insolvency: dipping into sanitation funds to help keep the city’s treasury afloat, loaning water agency funds to bail out the city’s electric utility, and siphoning $2 million in airport bond funds to buy land for a city library.

    The interagency borrowing was so questionable — with $69 million sloshing around City Hall as of June 2011 — that the Securities and Exchange Commission launched an investigation, which is ongoing.

    The city’s financial problems were exacerbated by the multimillion-dollar loss on the power plant and $103 million the city spent on aircraft hangars that were supposed to be paid for by a private aviation company, the report found. An estimated $13 million of the funding for the hangars remains unaccounted for.

    Even the city’s public golf courses were losing money, an average of $1.3 million each of the last four years. The city already closed one, and the grand jury said it should considering selling the only one left: Green Tree Golf Course.

    “The city’s solvency, capacity to provide current services, and ability to repay large debt obligations is a growing concern,” the grand jury report, made public last week, stated.

    Mayor Ryan McEachron insists that Victorville won’t join Stockton or Mammoth Lakes on the list of California’s bankrupt municipalities. Many of the problems highlighted in the grand jury report already have been addressed and, last week, the City Council passed a balanced budget for the first time in three years, he said.

    “We’re doing well. It’s not perfect. It’s not great. But we’re not in a position like Stockton,” McEachron said.

    Though unemployment hovers around 14%, two Super Walmarts are coming to town, he said. The parent company of Arm & Hammer in April also announced plans for a new Victorville plant that will bring 100 new jobs.

    When he became mayor in 2010, McEachron asked both the grand jury and San Bernardino County district attorney’s office to conduct intensive reviews of Victorville’s finances and the money dedicated to past projects. An investigation was necessary, he said, to restore public confidence.

    The gravest concerns expressed in the grand jury audit, which was conducted by Harvey M. Rose Associates based in San Francisco, focused on the fiscal management at the Southern California Logistics Airport Authority, a city-affiliated agency that transformed George Air Force Base into a civilian logistics and commercial center.

    The Victorville City Council serves as the board of the authority, which continues to operate in the red, according to the grand jury report.

    The city’s defunct 500-megawatt power plant, which was slated to be built north of the airport, was initiated and funded by the airport authority’s board.

    The grand jury criticized the authority for failure to “conduct proper due diligence” before hiring Newport Beach-based Inland Energy Inc. to oversee the development of the site — the company that developed the city’s first power plant. Under the agreement, Inland Energy was to receive 5% of the proposed plant’s operating profits, which could amount to $135 million over 30 years, the grand jury report stated.

    Inland Energy also recommended that the city enter into a $182-million contract in 2007 with General Electric for the purchase of turbines for the plant. When Victorville failed to secure financing for the rest of the project in 2008, after the collapse of the stock market, the city was forced to pay a $50-million settlement to G.E.

    “This was not a knee-jerk, unsophisticated process. When we started out, the economy was booming, and we had all these major companies relocating to [the airport] creating jobs,” said former Mayor Terry Caldwell. “Then the market crash and the housing industry went into the toilet. I don’t know how we could have predicted that would happen.”

    Caldwell said the city was making $6 million a year on a gas-fired power plant built a decade ago, and had expected the same return on the second plant.

    “But for the collapse on Wall Street, everyone in Victorville would be a hero today,” Caldwell said.

    Tom Barnett, vice president of Inland Energy, said his company only stood to make a profit if the project was completed — which hasn’t happened. He remains confident that the plant will be built, however. It already has secured all the state permits necessary to begin construction.

    “This project is not by any means dead,” Barnett said.

    Councilwoman Angela Valles blames the rush to build the power plant, and many of Victorville’s other disastrous financial decisions, on the cozy relationships between council members and people doing business with the city, including Inland Energy.

    “It will be a long time before the city is able to recover from the massive waste of public funds that has occurred in the last seven years,” Valles said.

  6. Judith you said it not me….. “Fotovich may give City Hall diarhea,…..

  7. Judith Rogers says:

    Citizens need to give them at City Hall a boot in the rearend in my opinion, especially those like you, Beasley, who certainly know how to connive and manipulate as a member of the Gardner Energy Board………….

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