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The Rundown – City Commission settles annexation issue

Post Date:05/13/2020 10:30 AM

The Rundown is prepared by the City of Newton Public Information Office to summarize the City Commission meeting and does not represent official Commission minutes.

6:30 p.m. May 12, 2020, Newton City Commission meeting

At Tuesday night’s meeting, the City Commission concluded an annexation hearing regarding three parcels of land near Southeast 12th and Hillside, opting to annex a small parcel owned by the City but not the two other properties under consideration.

The annexation was proposed because the City is extending water line along the east side of Hillside from East First to Southeast Ninth to serve the Newton City/County Airport and an expansion underway at Park Aerospace Corp. The owners of the two other properties, Manuel Weber and Dwight Claassen, opposed the annexation because of concerns about increased taxes and the agricultural uses of the land.

The plans were developed with extensive input from the Harvey County Rural Water District No. 1, and the resulting agreement with the district stated the City would take on the Weber tract as a customer. The City would annex the property and tie it onto the existing City water main east of the Webers’ house. The Rural Water District did not have other customers along this road and did not care to continue to maintain a line there if the City was expanding in this area.

After the agreement was negotiated, another property owner in the area requested water service from the Rural Water District, which requires extension of the district’s main 1,100 feet north. At the first annexation hearing on April 28, Manuel Weber said he would petition the Rural Water District for extension of their main rather than being tied onto the City’s main and being annexed.

The Rural Water District contacted the City and stated that if the City did not annex and serve the Weber tract, the City would need to cover the cost to extend the district’s line along Hillside, about $6,700. Dwight Claassen owns the property where the line would be placed, but he said at the hearing that he would provide the easement at no cost.

The Commission on Tuesday voted to annex only the City-owned parcel of land and to pay the cost to the Rural Water District to extend their line to serve the Weber tract. Weber and Claassen said they would be willing to pay half that cost, so the Commission directed City staff to negotiate a cost-sharing agreement with the property owners.

In other action, the City Commission:

  1. Proclaimed May 17-23, 2020 as National Public Works Week.
  2. Proclaimed May 15, 2020 as Arbor Day in Newton.
  3. Appointed Deb Kinsley and Amanda Buffalo to the Newton Housing Authority, and Bob Myers to the Public Wholesale Water Supply District Board.

For more information, please contact Director of Communications Erin McDaniel at 284-6055 or emcdaniel@newtonkansas.com.

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