Special to The Gardner News
Approval for management of the front nine holes of Gardner Golf course by GreatLIFE management was approved at the April 16 city council meeting, but council returned the Utility Advisory Committee’s recommendation for a water/wastewater increase for more information to be discussed at a future meeting.
Water and wastewater study
Gonzalo Garcia, utilities director, and team members from consultant Larkin Lamp Rynearson, combined to present results and recommendations from a Water and Wastewater Rate Study. This was a repeat of the presentation given to the Utility Advisory Commission on April 5, with some changes.
The April 5 presentation recommended a 3 percent annual rate increase for water rates and a 6.5 percent annual increase for wastewater. A rate subcommitte was formed after the UAC meeting and requested a 4 percent increase on both sewer and water to have a more even increase between the two.
The study projects that demand will exceed capacity with the current water treatment plant by 2022, but not by much at first.
A new 6MGD (six million gallon a day) water treatment plant will become a necessity in the future. An option would be to build that facility 2021.
To put that major expenditure off until 2027, the city could connect to Water One and annually purchase $450-600k of water to meet excess demand, or it could do a 2MGD expansion of Hillsdale Water Treatment Plant.
In discussion, Randy Gregorcyk, council member, asked Steve Shute, mayor, about moving that timetable up.
“I don’t know if we have the time or the bonding capacity to be able to manage a six million gallon a day plant now,” said Shute.
Gregorcyk wanted to explore options to move ahead in case growth estimates were too conservative.
“I don’t want to have to run into a budget deficit and then have to turn to the taxpayers for that, while we have dollars and cents elsewhere, that might need to be looked at again and judged from a need not a want,” Gregorcyk said.
This was a reference to the electric utility reserve fund surplus, which, with a large surplus, has been mentioned as a possible funding source for fiber optic cable; suggested as a way to offset a water/wastewater increase; or as a way to roll back electric rates for customers.
Rich Melton, council member, brought up New Century’s water usage and contract.
“Are we making enough on that contract to offset the extra that we’re paying out? I’d like to look at that,” Melton said.
Colin Stalter, Larkin Lamp Rynearson, answered that the contract says an increase could only be the same rate as residential customers. The city attorney was asked to review the contract.
There was no action taken on a rate increase.
The rate subcommittee will study the numbers and bring recommendations for action to council at a future date.
Gardner Golf Course
The council authorized the city administrator to enter into an agreement with JPM Enterprises, LLC, dba GreatLIFE Golf and Fitness to operate the Gardner Golf Course.
The 10 year agreement will begin April 17, 2018, and will expire on Dec. 31, 2028.
Under the terms of this agreement, the operator (GreatLIFE) is to manage, operate, and staff the Gardner Golf Course.
This agreement is for the front nine holes of the Gardner Golf Course only. The operator will not operate or benefit from the back nine holes of the golf course.
The full lease agreement is on the city website within the council agenda packet.
Following approval of the operating agreement, the city’s first and biggest obligation was met by council approval of a $867,240 contract with Midwest Irrigation, LLC, to replace the irrigation system at the Gardner Golf Course.
More action items
• Laura Gourley, finance director, gave a presentation on results from the Citizens Online Budget Survey and a presentation of Biennial Economic Development Reserve Fund Budget.
• Council adopted Ordinance No. 2573, approving a rezoning from CP-2 (Planned General Business) District to R-3 (Garden Apartment) District for approximately 9.41 acres located at the northwest corner of University
•Drive and Moonlight Road.
• Council adopted Ordinance No. 2574, approving amendments to the Gardner Comprehensive Plan, and adopting the Gardner Main Street Corridor Plan and Gardner Main Street Corridor Market Analysis.
• With a 5-0 vote that included a mayoral vote, council adopted Ordinance No. 2575, approving a rezoning R-5 (Planned Apartment) District and C-1 (Central Business) District to CP-1 (Planned Central Business) District and preliminary development plan for the Warren Place located at 122, 103, and 136 E Warren Street.
• Council adopted Ordinance No. 2576, annexing land adjacent to Gardner Lake and Lake Lot 15421 at request of the property owner.
• Passed in the consent agenda – sale of electrical capacity to Dogwood Energy Facility; appointment of Dustin “Duck” Martin to the Parks and Recreation Citizens Advisory Committee; appointments of City of Gardner representatives for the Kansas Municipal Energy Agency Board of Directors; PD purchase of 11 portable radios and related equipment from Ka-Comm, Inc. for $35,349.46; and PD purchase of 26 body cameras, 5 in-car
cameras and associated hardware/software from WatchGuard Video for $38,413.25.