Last week the city council approved the annexation of the BTI John Deere dealership property. The unanimous vote was the final step in a multi-year process that passed the "handshake deal" across the desk of five city administrators.
The city has annexed the BTI Dealership and some surrounding land legally described as "the east half if [sic] the southeast quarter of section 15, township 28 south, range 18 west of the sixth principal meridian, Kiowa County, Kansas."
The annexation follows the recent re-approval by city officials of a $103,500 payment to BTI for costs associated with construction of a south running sewer line connecting BTI and the Greensburg Industrial Park to city services along the north side of U.S. 54.
"This is not the appropriate way to conduct business," said Interim City Administrator Jay Newton during an October 2011 city council meeting (see 'City leaders address BTI sewer line and annexation' Kiowa County Signal – Oct.19, 2011).
During that meeting, which would begin a process leading to last week's completion of the deal, Newton expressed frustration that an unofficial agreement had been made, off the record, with BTI wherein the city would pay $103,500 to BTI for the cost of the sewer line and the BTI property, in turn, would be annexed by the city.
Newton later said that he felt neither former city administrator Steve Hewitt — who had agreed to the proposal without seeking approval from the city council — nor BTI had acted "underhanded" and expressed a desire to complete the agreement before leaving, though he was unable to do so (see 'BTI, city progress on sewer line, annexation' Kiowa County Signal – Nov. 2, 2011).
An inspection of the sewer line revealed significant sagging, which would delay the completion of the agreement until proper repairs were made (see 'Sewer snag is sag, city says' Kiowa County Signal – Dec. 21, 2011).
"There are issues we still need to resolve," said Estes in the article. "The functioning ability of the line is the only hang-up. That's what we are trying to resolve with the city and we're trying to determine that if [what we have done] is not fixing it, what is the next step. We'll continue to work on it."
Current City Administrator Ed Truelove, flanked by Greensburg Utilities Superintendent Mick Kendall, reported to the city council on Aug. 20 that after a recent inspection he felt the sewer line "…will do an effective job for the city." The council unanimously approved the $103,500 payment to BTI at the meeting.
Attempts to reach BTI Vice President Michael Estes for comment were unsuccessful.