Rick Poppitz
Special to The Gardner News
Edgerton city council met on August 25 and approved accepting a loan for new water meters, bonds to fund the new sewer system project, a tax abatement for a new LPKC facility, and set a date to file suit against Gardner if an old bill is not resolved before then.
Deadline set to prevent lawsuit
Two executive sessions were the last items on the agenda. The first session was for attorney-client privilege consultation with the city attorney and city administrator.
When open session resumed, the topic of discussion was a disputed water bill from Edgerton to Gardner for about $80,000.
Patrick Reavey, city attorney, indicated that negotiation of the issue has stalled. He said communications had become a “sort of silence.”
“Gardner did make a partial payment of the amount that never was in dispute, but there’s still an additional amount that, in the city’s position, is still owed. Gardner, they haven’t completely indicated that none of this is owed, but they do disagree with the amount that Edgerton is saying is owed,” Reavey told council.
“I would like to get some direction from the council on what you guys want me to do…” Reavey said, “Either move forward with legal action or…?”
Don Roberts, mayor, suggested council set a deadline date for payment.
“I am in favor of coming to resolution, and I’m in favor of setting a deadline to say that we file suit if we can’t come to a resolution in payment. Because really, this wastewater bill is water that was treated at a plant that we were both partners in, and Gardner agreed to that in the beginning, and they agreed to pay for the water that was treated, and they’ve collected the money for that wastewater that was sent from the facilities. So this has been over three years now since the plant opened. Edgerton’s sat for a long time, waiting, waiting for payment. We wouldn’t do this with any other customer that we have, and they wouldn’t either, so I’m in favor of a date circled for payment.”
Cindy Crooks, council member, agreed, “We’ve been going around this same thing for a long time, getting nowhere, no feedback necessarily in the direction of getting this resolved.”
Crooks suggested setting Nov. 1, 2016 as the deadline date.
The other council members appeared to be in consensus and Crooks made a motion: “I motion that if this has not been resolved with the city of Gardner by 11/1/16, paid in full, that on 11/2 that the city of Edgerton files suit.”
Council approved the motion by a 4-0 vote. Darius Crist was absent.
Tax abatement for Coldpoint Logistics
A public hearing was held prior to council’s consideration of Resolution No. 08-25-16C, which concerns the application for property tax abatement submitted by Coldpoint Logistics.
Coldpoint plans to construct a 161,000 sq. ft. cold storage facility at 31301 W. 181st Street.
This will be the first building on the north side of the intermodal.
Jeff White of Columbia Capitol told council there was no net loss suffered from tax abatements at LPKC. Cities may negotiate a PILOT payment to be collected during the abatement period. The standard PILOT payment at LPKC is 21 cents per square foot. A PILOT payment are monies received in lieu of taxes and paid thru the state.
“That PILOT is collected and remitted back to the taxing jurisdiction, just like any other property tax would be. The school gets some, the city gets some, the county gets some, the state gets a little bit and so on and so forth,” said White.
Scott Anderson, bond counsel, told council that a letter addressing the abatement had been received from the superintendent of the school district.
“They did state that they support generally a 50 percent PILOT payment. In this case, as you know, we require 21 cents a square foot, payment with a tax. One could argue what exactly percentage of abatement that translates to, but I think we all agree that it’s not 50 percent,” said Anderson.
“I did some rough math…, “ said Don Roberts, mayor, “…It looks to me that the school receives, in the PILOT payment, a 909 percent increase in revenues from this project.”
“That property was paying about $1,400 a year, and it will be paying in PILOTs, at almost $15,000 a year,” Roberts continued. “I just feel that the school district needs to be a little more broad in their thought and considerations of economic development and how it really truly affects us.”
Council approved Resolution No. 08-258-16C with a 4-0 vote.
Sewer system financing
Three items on the agenda were recommendations intended to remedy a shortfall of funds for de-commissioning the existing wastewater treatment plant and construction of a new sewer system.
Resolution No. 08-25-16A amends the previous resolution authorizing the project, to account for the increased costs.
To cover the increased costs, Ordinance No. 1029 authorizes issuance of $245,000 in General Obligation Bonds, and an annual tax to pay principal and interest payments on those bonds as they become due.
Resolution No. 08-25-16B approves the forms and details, covenants and agreements, and documents and actions associated with the issuance and repayment of the bonds.
The information form provided to council describes the funding source as: “Unlimited general obligation (property tax) pledge of repayment, but intended to be repaid from fees charged to the city’s sewer customers.”
All three items passed with 4-0 votes.
Council also approved Resolution No. 08-25-16D to confirm the necessity of condemnation of property needed for easements in the new sewer system.
The city is negotiating with the property owner, Mid States Materials, who operates the Edgerton Quarry. This is the only easement property yet to be acquired.
Water meter project
Ordinance No. 1030 authorizes accepting a loan from the State of Kansas, via the Kansas Public Water Supply Loan Fund, for approximately $300,000. This will pay for the replacement of every water meter in the city with new meters in an Advanced Metering Infrastructure System (AMI).
The loan has a 1.9 percent interest rate. Payments of $9,058.81 are due in February and August of each year, beginning in August 2017.
Public works has already installed fifty new meters and expects the work to be done in a couple of months.
Donation Requests
Two individuals appeared before council to request donations to community events. Both events are annual and scheduled this year for September 24.
Cops and Bobbers holds an annual kids fishing derby at Edgerton City Lake. Council approved a donation of $1000 to Cops and Bobbers and adopted the Fishing Derby as a city event.
Council agreed to contribute $1,200 to Mike and Johnnie’s Annual Adopt the Children Charity Clay Shoot in the form of a sponsorship purchase.