Unanimous approval of a $103,500 payment to BTI Greensburg by council members on Monday evening, brought the city closer to completing a long awaited “handshake” deal to bring a sewer line to the Greensburg Industrial Park while annexing the land into city limits.
Last November, interim City Administrator Jay P. Newton urged the city council to begin taking action on the project, which had long been an unofficial agreement between city officials and BTI Greensburg (“BTI, city progress on sewer line, annexation” Nov. 2, 2011 – Kiowa County Signal).
Former City Administrator Steve Hewitt had constructed the deal, wherein city coffers would reimburse BTI an estimated $103,500 for cost to extend a north-running sewer line under U.S. 54, to their facility on the eastern edge of the city limits.
The line was also an early step in the then-proposed industrial park, which would need the sewer line to connect to city service.
In return, BTI agreed to an annexation into city limits. Land which included their John Deere dealership, a maintenance facility and surrounding land.
“I don’t think there was anything underhanded about anything BTI or the city were doing. They were trying to expedite the building process and get things done,” said Newton in the November 2011 new article. “This deal is almost four years old. I would have taken it to council four years ago.”
During a Dec.19, 2011 meeting, Newton asked council members to table the proposed annexation, noting that an inspection of the existing line revealed a significant “snag.”
Council members, at the same meeting, approved the $103,500 payment to BTI in appropriations ordinance No. 1870, though the city withheld the payment.
Newton acknowledge, before he was replaced by current city administrator Ed Truelove, that he had hoped to complete the deal before leaving but anticipated he would not.
A number of adjustments and repairs were made on the line since approval of the payment, at BTI’s expense.
“[The problems with the sewer line] put a halt to the process until that line could be inspected and shown to be satisfactory,” said Truelove on Monday. “This past week [Greensburg Utilities Superintendent] Mick [Kendall] and I met with Meyers Specialty Services out at the sewer line to run a camera through it. We were on-site to view that process as it took place. At this point I believe the sewer line…will do an effective job for the city. There were some concerns about flow volume. BTI just doesn’t have that much volume going through it. Once the business park has business out there, I think the flow will be adequate.”
Page 2 of 2 - Truelove asked the council to re-approve the payment, since so much time had passed.
“It’ll work,” said Kendall. “It just needs more water. We just need businesses down there.”
Quipped Mayor Bob Dixson, “We’re working on it.”
Kendall also said that the line would require regular “flushing” to remove solids and clear the line of possible stationary liquid, until adequate flow could be realized.
“You can see on the video some spots have water, if you go a little further there’s no water,” noted Kendall describing some imperfections.
Councilman Mark Trummel asked about the quality of the line and if it was possible to get a poured concrete line exactly perfect.
Kendall acknowledged pouring concrete lends itself to some imperfections, noting of the sewer line, “It’s a good pour.”
The city is expected to address the annexation of the land in an upcoming meeting.
“We are continuing to take steps towards annexation,” said Truelove.
The annexation of land is expected to bring a significant increase in the city’s valuation as well as additional property and sales tax.