Melvern short funds for complete water line replacement

MELVERN—The Melvern City Council briefly discussed replacement of water lines within the city. Nancy Alley, mayor, recently discussed the possibility of a Kansas Department of Health and Environment loan at a meeting in Ottawa.

“They wanted us to combine them and make a big old project,” Alley said. “Then they said, ‘Good lord, you can’t afford it.’”

“They recommend we not only raise the water rates, and also the mill levy,” Alley said. “We’re going to shrink back the project where we did not combine the two.”

Alley also expressed concern that the water budget was based on a year when the city spent an atypical amount on the replacement of the water line in the alley between Emporia and Hollman streets behind city hall.

“This deal back there totally whipped out our reserve funds,” Alley said. “We bled money in 2015. We’re going to talk to this man again and downsize our project.”

Alley recommended focusing on areas around Maple and Lincoln streets, which have been more prone to problems. She also noted that the city’s bond payments would be decreasing next year from 81,000 to 45,000, annually.

“It stays at 45 the next five or six years until it’s paid off,” said Nancy Miller, city clerk. “We’re in a little better position."

The project still may require additional funds. Gary Kitt, city superintendent, also noted the water cost from Public Wholesale Water Supply District No. 12 would be going up on Jan. 1, 2017.

“I do not want to raise the mill levy,” Alley said. “I don’t want to.”

City Hall

Miller discussed an update on the possible relocation of city hall to a new building, noting a poor response from firms.

“We sent out letters to all the engineers on the list,” Miller said. “We got three thanks but no thanks from three on the list, and no response from the rest. The only response we got was from BG Consultants.”

Miller said the city has met twice with a representative from the firm.

“He came down earlier this month and looked at the site,” Miller said. “He came back week before last. He was talking about the new City Hall in Dwight, built well under $100,000. We would like to keep our project as simple and inexpensive as possible.”

“I think we ought to just have them come to the next meeting,” said Brian DeCavelle, council member.

The council discussed hosting a special meeting with BG Consultants.

In other business, the council:

• continued discussion of possible de-annexation of a property. The property has been the source of non-compliance with several code violations.

“He’s got two options,” said Kitt. “He either complies, or he comes to the city council and petitions to be de-annexed.”

Council members agreed the issue needed resolved.

“What’s going to happen, is we’re going to have people in town not complying,” said DeCavelle. “You’re opening a can of worms.”

Kitt and Alley agreed to continue attempts to bring the property into compliance with the owner.

• discussed expanding the Mid-America Nutrition Program with Martha Hagedorn-Krass, program director (see related story).

• discussed budget planning and presentation of a preliminary budget at the August meeting.

The Osage County Herald-Chronicle

The official newspaper of Osage County; the cities of Burlingame, Carbondale, Lyndon, Melvern, Olivet, Osage City, Overbrook, Quenemo and Scranton; Burlingame USD 454, Lyndon USD 421, Marais des Cygnes Valley USD 456, Osage City USD 420 and Santa Fe Trail USD 434.

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