Edgerton – Construction of Nelson Street, including sidewalks and ADA ramps on all four corners of the 5th Street intersection and improvements to the railroad crossing is underway. A lot of street work has occurred in Edgerton in the past month and a number of streets have been paved for the first time. Staff photo by Rick Popptiz
Special to The Gardner News
At the Sept. 28 meeting, Edgerton city council heard from a patron displeased over a $1,200 water bill, considered changing the distance requirement between liquor sales and a church or school, whether or not to renew contracts with AT&T and Gardner Disposal, and they set a new rate for sewer services to Gardner.
Liquor business requirements
Council considered Ordinance No. 1065 which would amend Edgerton Municipal Code that pertains to separation requirements between a property with a liquor license and a school or church.
Current Edgerton code sets that distance at 300 feet. Kansas state law sets it at 200. The amendment would change Edgerton’s distance requirement to match the Kansas statute at 200 feet.
Motion to approve was made by Darius Crist, seconded by Jody Brown, and passed with a 3-1 vote. Clay Longanecker was the nay vote, Cindy Crooks was absent.
Water Rate Study
In the March 2017 settlement agreement with the city of Gardner, the cities agreed to use Raftelis Financial Consultants as an independent rate consultant to conduct a wholesale sewer rate study.
The rate of $2 per 1,000 gallons was set as the temporary rate until the study was complete.
That rate was set based on the Springstead Memorandum Report from 2012, which was prepared before the current water treatment plant was in use.
The wholesale rate study has now been completed. The report from Raftelis recommends increasing the wholesale sewer rate to $3.29 per 1,000 gallons.
The report concludes that overall billable flows are 64 percent lower than what was projected 5 years ago in the Springstead report.
Volume from the intermodal facility are 90 percent less than what was previously projected. Flow from the city of Gardner is 59 percent less than was projected.
The lower the billable flow, the less gallons there are to spread operating costs across, resulting in a higher rate.
“The original Springstead was based on all guesses. This is based off real data that we’ve collected, so this is more accurate by far,” said Don Roberts, mayor.
“All of the expenditures were a guess in 2012. These are based on actual expenditures – what is the chemical cost, what is the actual electric cost, what is the staffing cost. These are the three largest categories of costs associated with that,” added Beth Linn, city administrator.
Ron Conus, council member, asked how long this determines the rate.
Roberts said it would stay until the city did another study and that council would determine when that would be.
“I would recommend yearly, to keep the rates where they should be,” said Roberts.
Council took two actions, approving both with 4-0 votes.
First they approved the wholesale rate recommended by Raftelis, and second, they agreed upon sending Gardner notice of the rate change and effective date.
Council considered approval of two Public Infrastructure Improvement Notices, one for 181st Street and one for 183rd street.
181st St. was constructed simultaneously with ColdPoint Logistics at a cost of $432,831. The cost was borne entirely by Edgerton Land Holding Company (ELHC).
The 183rd St. improvements, from Montrose Street east to city limits, has a cost of $1,446,000, and is currently out for bid.
If approved, staff would work with Intermodal Bond Counsel and ELHC to include the projects in the next Home Rule Revenue Bond series.
The two items were considered and voted on separately, and each one passed 4-0.
Gardner Disposal contract
During the city administrator’s report, Linn advised council that the solid waste services contract with Gardner Disposal was nearing expiration of the three year term. She wanted direction from council on whether to renew or put the contract out for bids.
Linn said there would be no rate increase with renewal, however Gardner Disposal would like to discontinue the sludge removal service, which is part of the current contract.
Several members commented that GD had done a good job over the past three , and they liked the idea of staying with them, however the discontinuation of sludge removal was an issue.
After discussion, consensus was that they didn’t want to pay separately for solid waste and sludge. They believed that would likely make overall cost much higher.
Council directed Linn to ask Gardner Disposal if it would renew the contract as is, with the sludge removal services included.
If so they will renew. If not the services would go out for bid.
Water tower antennae
Staff asked for direction regarding renewal of a contract with AT&T that allows mounting of antennae on the 1st Street water tower.
AT&T is asking to renegotiate the lease contract. They propose a 15 year term, renewable in 5 year increments, and a rate reduction that amounts to roughly $5,000 a year.
Currently AT&T is paying about $2,300 a month. The renewal contract would reduce that payment for the first five years, with an increase at that point.
The city has also been approached by a third party, Blackdot, who offers to buy the lease rights from the city for 50 years, for a lump sum payment of $355,000.
Council was advised there are three options – to decline both offers, accept Blackdots offer or accept the proposed AT&T renewal contract.
Don Roberts, mayor, recommended option 1 – declining both offers.
He felt the small capacity water tower had been effectively replaced with the newer much larger ones the city has built, and didn’t see a long term future for the tower.
After lengthy discussion, council consensus was to take option 3, to renew the contract with AT&T.
$1200 water bill
A long time citizen spoke during public comments about a water leak at her residence that has resulted in a $1,200 bill.
She said she has found out the city has known there was a leak since April. She had noticed a increase in her water bill in the summer but didn’t think much of it.
She said she was told that on Sept. 11 the water flow spiked to 2.5 gallons a minute – but she was not notified.
That resulted in the $1,200 water bill. If she had known sooner, she says, she could have shut the water off until it was fixed.
She said the city had tried to contact her by an old phone number and apparently that was the extent of the effort to notify her of the leak.
She asked why a tag couldn’t have been put on her door. She mentioned that this is a small town and city employees drive by her place almost daily.
She said everybody in town knew her and her phone number could be found by typing her name in Google.
She was also displeased with the way she was treated by city staff when she began to investigate the issue.
“It’s very difficult to work with this new city staff that doesn’t live in Edgerton,” she said.
She said she was told that city policy would reduce the bill because of the leak and she could make payments on the rest.
“I don’t want to pay this. I don’t even want the adjusted. Something needs to be done about it, because I was not notified,” she said.
Roberts said there was usually no discussion or action taken in public comments, but reassured her that she does matter and offered to meet with her privately to talk.
“Let’s talk about it and see what kind of resolution we can come to,” he said.
• The city will soon be launching a new website and council was given a preview of it tonight.
• The city has bought a Mack dump truck, which was sitting outside city hall tonight. The city’s fleet of trucks was wiped out in the Aug. 21 flooding. This is the first replacement and now gives the city one snow plow capable dump truck.