The Unified Government Commission voted Thursday night to postpone approval of a stormwater rate hike.
A third option was presented at the Jan. 30 meeting. The UG staff developed the compromise third option after hearing public and commission comments at the Jan. 9 meeting.
Commissioners earlier had discussed two options that increased fees of properties according to the amount of hard or impervious surfaces, such as driveways and pavement on the property.
Commissioners and UG staff have said in the past they did not think the current fee structure of $4.50 per month per parcel, regardless of the size of the parcel, was fair. The stormwater fees are on customers’ Board of Public Utilities bills, and any increase would show up on the BPU bill.
Under some of the earlier proposals, those with larger properties and parking lots such as a college campus might be paying tens of thousands of dollars a month for the stormwater fee. Most of the residents in single-family homes, however, would remain at or around the $4.50 fee for the first year of the new proposals, with increases scheduled in future years, according to UG staff.
The first option had a minimum charge of $4.50 a month, on a calculation for 500 square feet of impervious space, according to UG staff. It would increase according to the amount of impervious space on the property, and in future years.
The second option had 13 tiers of rates for the amount of impervious areas of the parcels. In the second option, the higher end had a lower monthly charge than the first option, and the lower end of the second option paid a higher monthly charge than in the first option, according to UG staff.
The third option also was based on the amount of impervious surface of the property. It had three tiers and it would mitigate larger parcels even more, according to UG staff.
The UG staff said property owners would be able to have a chance to lower their monthly fee if they put certain stormwater measures into effect on their property. For example, a rain garden that would reduce runoff would count toward the credit program. There also would be a discharge credit and ratio credit. The ratio credit would see a reduction if the amount of green space in the parcel is at least 30 square feet to 1 square foot of hard space.
Jeff Fisher, UG director of public works, told the commissioners that there were $141 million of stormwater needs in eight basins in the community. If no action is taken, there would be increased costs, increased emergencies, a decline in the level of service and more safety concerns, he said.
Commissioner Brian McKiernan said Jan. 30 that the new third option appears to be the most palatable. More than 94 percent of the parcels in Wyandotte County would experience only a small increase in their stormwater fee under this proposal.
Because the third option’s first public airing was at the Jan. 30 meeting, and because commissioners still had many questions, Commissioner McKiernan led an effort to table the stormwater rate issue until the Feb. 27 meeting. The commission voted unanimously to table it.
Commissioner McKiernan said the commission is taking the right course in listening to staff, the public, and trying to make the best decision that is fair and equitable and benefits the most people. He was confident the UG would ultimately make a decision and move forward on the issue.
Commissioner Mike Kane said there was a need for an outside person or group to act as an appeals board for stormwater rates. The current idea was for UG staff members to hear the appeals.
Also, before the UG Commission votes, the public should be able to go to the internet, and find out exactly how much their individual stormwater fees would be under these proposals, he said.
“I don’t think our work is done yet,” he said.
Commissioner Harold Johnson said he had not yet made a decision on the three options, and the UG needed to take more time considering it.
Commissioner Jane Philbrook also was not ready to move this issue forward yet. She agreed that an appeals board would be better if it were more balanced.
Commissioner Gayle Townsend also supported taking more time with the issue. So many persons in a recent meeting of a group of churches were unaware of the stormwater fee proposals and didn’t understand them earlier this week, she said. More time would help.
Commissioner Jim Walters said the third option was attractive in a lot of ways. He also said he hoped they didn’t end up with a system that had a lot of appeals. A simple system that is straightforward, easy to understand, would be best, he said.
Commissioner Tom Burroughs asked the commission if the issue could be postponed until the March meeting because there were still questions to be answered. He asked if the UG is raising enough money to address the community needs, and it would not be good if the UG implemented a program that was not enough to meet the needs.
Commissioner McKiernan, however, said they could look at the issue at the February meeting, and postpone it then until later if necessary.
Commissioner Christian Ramirez asked for a neighborhood stormwater meeting with staff and all groups and neighborhood business revitalization organizations in the 3rd District.
Mayor David Alvey said the stormwater needs have been years in the making. Years of delay and inattention have added to the load, he said. If the decisions are not made now, the community won’t be where it needs to be.
Commissioner McKiernan mentioned there was a need for more people in the community to understand the stormwater rate changes.
IRBs approved for Armourdale development
In other action, the UG Commission approved a resolution of intent to issue industrial revenue bonds not to exceed $5.5 million for Premier Investments, which is developing an industrial facility at 1101 S. 5th St.
The property was the former Midwest Cold Storage building that was falling down and owed back taxes for a number of years, according to Katherine Carttar, UG economic development director. The old building was a haven for transients.
Premier Investments acquired it through the Land Bank and tore the building down. The proposed building is about 80,000 square feet, and will create an estimated 100 new jobs, according to Carttar. It will receive an 80 percent tax abatement for 10 years.
The current property tax from this land is about $16,000 a year. During the abatement period, it will pay about $51,000 a year in property taxes, and after 10 years, it will pay about $250,000 a year in property taxes, UG officials said. The UG estimated the development would give a 23 percent return on investment for all tax jurisdictions.
Greg Kindle, president of Wyandotte County Economic Development Council, supported the project.
He said there was an immediate change when Premier Investments bought the property. The project will create significant property tax revenue even in the incentive period, along with job opportunities, he said.
A local family owns the investment company, and has a reputation for quality developments in the community, he said. It means a lot to have long-term local ownership of quality developments, he said.
Zoning for Turner Logistics Park near Turner Diagonal moves forward
Zoning for the Turner Logistics Park project, near the Turner Diagonal at 747 N. 69th St., also moved forward on Jan. 30. It is a warehouse, distribution and light industrial manufacturing project.
Brent Miles with NorthPoint Development said funding for the project was approved previously. The developer has been in the process of acquiring property for the project, he said.
Miles said when the Turner Diagonal and I-70 interchange was approved, that provided access to these new developments. The groundbreaking for the highway interchange is scheduled on Friday.
Miles said the new development will look very similar to the redevelopment of the levee in the Fairfax industrial district of Kansas City, Kansas.
He said there are plans to complete the first building in this project this year, and it’s possible they may start two buildings at the same time.
A resident who appeared in opposition to the project mentioned screening for the project. He also asked why zoning would be “MP2” instead of “MP1.”
He said the project was totally speculative, without any tenants yet. He believed the project did not satisfy the 12 criteria necessary for a master plan amendment for industrial use.
Rob Richardson, UG planning director, said the project had met all the criteria necessary. The screening would serve to protect the residential area.
Commissioner Philbrook said she had been involved with this development since almost 2014, when they discussed the need to expand into other areas because the community was running out of space for light industry. When federal and state money was approved, that allowed the UG to move forward with this, she said.
To see a previous story on the stormwater fees, visit http://wyandottedaily.com/ug-scheduled-to-vote-on-stormwater-rate-increase-at-jan-30-meeting/.
The UG agenda for Jan. 30, which contains information about the stormwater rate schedules, is online at https://wycokck.civicclerk.com/web/UserControls/DocPreview.aspx?p=1&aoid=1586.
Past information about the stormwater rate discussion is online at https://www.wycokck.org/Stormwater/Rate.aspx.
Stormwater rate proposal details from the UG Commission agenda for Jan. 30. The first two options were previously proposed, and the third option, in Table 3, was first publicly discussed at the Jan. 30 meeting. The UG Commission decided to wait and to take the issue up again in late February. (Graphic from Jan. 30 UG agenda) National Weather Service graphic
After tonight, when temperatures dip into the mid-20s, the weather will warm through the weekend, the National Weather Service said.
Temperatures will rise to about 49 on Saturday and about 68 on Sunday, according to the weather service. The weather will be good for outdoor activities on Super Bowl Sunday in the Kansas City area.
Monday continues near 57 degrees, before a cold front moves in Monday night, dropping temperatures to a high of 35 on Tuesday.
The next chance for snow will be Tuesday, the weather service said.
Today, it will be cloudy with a high near 40 and a south wind of 5 to 9 mph becoming west in the afternoon, the weather service said.
Tonight, it will be cloudy with a low of 26 and a west northwest wind around 6 mph, according to the weather service.
Saturday, it will be mostly sunny, with a high near 49 and a southwest wind of 5 to 9 mph, the weather service said.
Saturday night, it will be mostly clear, with a low of 38 and a southwest wind of 6 mph, according to the weather service.
Sunday, it will be sunny with a high near 64 and a southwest wind of 6 mph, the weather service said.
Sunday night, it will be partly cloudy, with a low of 45, according to the weather service.
Monday, it will be partly sunny, with a high near 57, the weather service said.
Monday night, it will be mostly cloudy, with a low of 31, according to the weather service.
Tuesday, there is a 30 percent chance of snow with a high near 35, the weather service said.
Tuesday night, there is a 30 percent chance of snow before midnight, with a low of 22, according to the weather service.
Wednesday, it will be partly sunny, with a high near 32, the weather service said.
Wednesday night, it will be partly cloudy, with a low of 24, according to the weather service.
Thursday, it will be mostly sunny, with a high near 39, the weather service said.
For more information, visit www.weather.gov.
Tiaira Earnest (KCKCC photo)
by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC
Playing a second game within 24 hours didn’t slow Kansas City Kansas Community College’s women a single bit Wednesday.
Racing to a 16-2 lead in the opening minutes, the No. 8 ranked Lady Blue Devils (21-2) cruised to an 87-50 win at Fort Scott heading into a pivotal Jayhawk Conference game at unbeaten and No. 3 ranked Highland (17-0) Saturday. Both the women’s and men’s games will be streamed Saturday starting at 1 p.m.
A pair of 5-6 guards led KCKCC at Fort Scott. Sophomore Brodi Byrd matched her career scoring high with 23 points while freshman Tiaira Earnest recorded her first double-double with 14 points and a game and career-high 13 rebounds.
Earnest was 6-for-9 from the field including 2-of-3 three-pointers while Byrd knocked down 4-of-8 treys in a 9-of-17 shooting night.
“Tiaira Earnest was great off the bench,” KCKCC coach Joe McKinstry said. “She’s one of the smallest people on the floor but she’s also exceptionally quick and tough and her stat line tonight shows that.”
Kamryn Estell added 17 points and seven rebounds, Diamond Williams six points and a team leading four assists and Mercer Roberts five points and seven rebounds.
Ahead 23-10 after one quarter, KCKCC led 46-21 at the half.
“Overall, I was very pleased with our first half effort other than being 8-of-16 from the free throw line,” McKinstry said. “But our energy was good and we were 6-of-13 from three so we were stepping up and making shots.
“We dropped off a bit in the second half but overall I was happy,” he said. “It was our second game in 24 hours and I felt like we wanted heading into the game. We came out with great energy to start the game and led 16-2. We made some substitutions and I didn’t feel like all of them were ready to do the things the first group was doing. We need everyone in uniform to be ready and able to help us at any point in a game. We have full confidence in our roster from one to eleven.”
In other Jayhawk Conference play Wednesday, Highland stayed unbeaten with a 91-46 win at Hesston but No. 5 Johnson County was upset at home by Labette 65-63.