Rick Poppitz
Special to The Gardner News
At the Sept. 8 meeting, Edgerton city council took action to correct errors in previous actions, issued additional funds for Amazon, and adopted uniform code written by the League of Kansas Municipalities.
$25 million to complete Amazon building
Industrial bonds in the amount of $38.5 million were previously issued to finance the construction of an 822,500 sq. ft. warehouse and distribution facility, which later gained Amazon as tenant.
An additional $25 million is now needed to complete the project.
“The building was a spec building. $38.5 million was the estimated cost of the project. Since Amazon occupied the building, the cost of the project went up $25 million,” Scott Anderson, bond counsel, told council. “The public hearing that we’re holding is the hearing on the issuance of the additional $25 million in bonds.”
This hearing was originally scheduled for the Aug. 25 meeting, but was tabled due to a cost/benefit report being incomplete. Referring to the now complete report, Anderson said, “That property is currently paying around $1,375 in property tax. After the issuance of the bonds that property will pay around $171,350 in PILOT payments.”
“We did notify the county and the school district of the continuation of the public hearing until tonight, because we always like to give them the opportunity to show up and comment,” said Anderson.
The school district continues to oppose the PILOT payment rate of 21 cents per square foot that Edgerton offers at LPKC.
The final sentence in a Sept. 8 letter from USD #231 superintendent Pam Stranathan to the city of Edgerton, reiterated the district’s position on property tax abatements at Logistics Park:
“The district, once again, only supports payments-in-lieu of tax that have a net effective percentage of abatement that is no greater than 50 percent.”
The letter said 21 cents per square foot is approximately a 90 % abatement.
Don Roberts, mayor, used figures from the cost-benefit report to compare the before and after amount the school district is expected to receive from the Amazon deal.
“The school district portion of this was $608, and now it goes to $76,438 in PILOT’s, which is an increase of $75,830, or 12,472 %”, said Roberts.
Council approved the $25 million bond issuance in Resolution No. 09-06-16B, passing it by a 5-0 vote.
Sewer system financing
An ordinance and a resolution on the business agenda were items that council approved two weeks ago at the Aug. 25 meeting, but needed to be reconsidered with minor changes.
Ordinance No. 1033  and Resolution No. 09-08-16A concern the issuance of bonds to fund the sewer system improvement project.
The action on Aug. 25 was necessary to remedy a shortfall in bond proceeds from the See
original issuance for the project.
The action on Sept. 8 was necessary due to a failure to get required public notices published.
“Our office is supposed to arrange for the publication of the notice in two different papers. It got published in one and not the other. It was our fault,” explained Gina Riekhof, bond counsel from Gilmore/Bell.
“[It’s] virtually the same ordinance and resolution that you approved on the 25th of August with a couple of minor changes,” Riekhof told council.  “We’re covering all the costs of everything related to moving the date and additional publication and such.”
Council approved Ordinance No. 1033 and Resolution No. 09-08-16A by a 5-0 vote.  The actions repeal and supercede the August 25th ordinance and resolution.
GECOC and SWJEDC
Relationships with the Gardner-Edgerton Chamber of Commerce (GECOC) and the Southwest Johnson County Economic Development Corporation (SWJEDC) were discussed during the city administrator’s report.
The city has a contract with the SWJEDC, but, although a member, there is not a contract with the GECOC.
After discussion, city staff will begin the process of gathering additional information and report more details to council in a future meeting.
Consent agenda
Two ordinances were approved in the consent agenda. Both amend current code to adopt a uniform code as published by the League of Kansas Municipalities. Both allow exceptions, deletions and modifications at the city’s discretion.
Ordinance No. 1031 adopts the Uniform Public Offense Code, save and except parts that are identified in Section 11-102 of existing city code.
Ordinance No. 1032 amends chapter XIV of Municipal Code to incorporate the 2016 Standard Traffic Ordinance for Kansas cities, except as noted in sections 14-102 through 14-105 of existing code.