Rick Poppitz
Special to The Gardner News
The Edgerton city council approved an agreement for construction of a new wastewater pump station and force main at the June 23 meeting. Council also heard a presentation on the proposed quarter cent sales tax to provide funding for a new county courthouse and coroners facility.
The pump station construction was on the agenda for the third consecutive meeting.
Burns and McDonnell/CAS Construction is the contractor. The price presented to council on May 26 was $2,787,950. Council tabled the discussion, requesting more details on contract items and options that could offer potential cost reductions
On June 9, a modified proposal was presented that offered options which could potentially reduce the cost by about $87,000. To do this, some items were eliminated, some equipment was downgraded and some items were changed to allowance items.
At that time, attorneys for both parties were also still negotiating language concerning warranty terms in the contract. Council tabled the discussion to consider the revised details and allow the attorneys to complete negotiations.
After all the discussion, the price quoted was $2,797,000.
For an additional $24,000, Burns and McDonnell offered to extend their warranty period from one year to two. Council chose this option, bringing the price to $2,821,000.
The project contains a number of ‘allowance items.’.The city will be charged actual cost for these items, which could lower or raise the total cost.
Clay Longanecker made a motion to approve, seconded, by Darius Crist and carried with a 4-0 vote. Cindy Crooks was absent.
Council also approved another item related to the pump station project. The city will hire BG Consultants for construction administrative and observation services .
Sales tax for new courthouse
Ed Eilert, Johnson County Board of Commissioners chairman, gave a presentation regarding the proposed quarter cent sales tax which will be on the November 2016 ballot. The purpose of the tax is to fund construction of a new county courthouse and coroner’s office.
The county has been studying the situation since 2001. A brochure states that studies have shown the courthouse is inadequate and fails to meetthe current space requirements for the Johnson County Courts.”
Lack of space results in problems with overcrowding, accessibility issues and security concerns, according to information supplied by the county. These issues are not easily resolved with a renovation of the existing building, which would take 13 years and cost more than the proposed new building – $216 million to renovate versus $182 million for the new building.
In addition, Johnson County has no facilities for the coroner. Currently, Johnson County coroner duties are performed in Wyandotte County in space rented from a private party.
Eilert later told Gardner News that $284,000 was spent on the rental facility in 2015. He noted that more expense is incurred because all lab testing has to be outsourced. That could be done in-house with a new facility.
The new coroner facility has a price tag of $19 million.
The county says the proposed quarter cent sales tax will fund both a new courthouse and coroner’s facility before it expires in ten years.
At the meeting, Eilert said, “That quarter cent will raise about $30 million a year. Statute also requires that we share that revenue with the cities, so about $10 million of that per year would be distributed to the cities on a formula basis.”
When asked if the cities were required to allocate their share of funds to a specific purpose, Eilert said ‘no.’ There are no statutory requirements, but the county would recommend it be invested in capitol improvements.
Skid steer undelivered
At the April 14 meeting, council considered and approved the purchase of a skid steer to replace the 20 year old machine public works has now.
The city ordered the machine from KC Bobcat and was promised a two week delivery. Now at eight weeks, the machine has not been delivered, and the vendor has become unresponsive, council was told.
Staff came to council to ask to kill that deal and go with a new vendor. This time staff selected a John Deere machine with a cost of $50,850.
Council approved the vendor change and new purchase.
Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS)
Leslie Rigney, WRAPS district manager, came to council requesting $2500 for the organization. One of their current projects is monitoring and studying the phosphorus levels draining at Hillsdale Lake. She said Hillsdale’s phosphorus levels are at about 300 percent of what they naturally should be.
Discussion brought agreement that the city could pay this from the budget, and no vote was taken.
Beekeeping in Edgerton
Council also discussed whether or not ordinance should be created to regulate beekeeping in city limits. A representative of Northeastern Kansas Beekeepers Association was there to talk about bees.
Council will take up the topic again at the next meeting.