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City moves towards water system improvements
new deh more gb city council water line main st pic web
The City of Great Bend is proceeding with plans to issue bonds to improve water lines in the downtown area, as well as elsewhere in the city, and replace some water well improvements. - photo by Tribune file photo

In other business Monday night, the Great Bend City Council:

• Authorized City Attorney Bob Suelter to negotiate terms to renew the Great Bend Boom Facility Use Agreement. The Pecos League has indicated that it wishes to return the Great Bend Boom baseball team to Al Burns Field next summer for the 2017 season. No lease agreement has been finalized at this time but they have requested an indication of the city’s desire to have the team return.

Final approval is subject to the parties being able to agree to a finalized agreement. 

• Authorized Mayor Allison to appoint Charlie Suchy as the next Public Works director. His appointment came at the recommendation of a search committee consisting of Allison, City Councilwoman Vicki Berryman, City Administrator Howard Partington and City Attorney Bob Suelter. Allison said he had the best application.

• Adopted a motion to hold the next regular city council meeting at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 6. This is due to the fact that Monday, when the council would have met, is Labor Day.

• Authorized Mayor Mike Allison to sign the video service agreement with Nex-Tech. Nex-Tech is planning to offer cable service Great Bend. The city will receive a 5 percent utility fee from the company over the course of the 10-year, renewable contract.

• Heard a report from Community Coordinator Christina Hayes. She outlined the success of Party in the Park and told how Uber is going to be operating a taxi-like service in Great Bend.

• Approved a request from P&S Electric to bore across Lischesky Ditch to install an electric service line for Nels Lindberg.

• Adopted a resolution waiving the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. Each year the city adopts a resolution requesting a waiver of GAAP requirements, and this allows the city to operate on a cash basis.  

Recommendation: Motion to adopt resolution requesting a waiver of GAAP requirements.

• Approved abatements at: 2523 6th St., accumulation of refuse, owned by Retha Delgadillo; and 53 3rd St., motor vehicle nuisance, owned by Antonio Lazaro.

 The Great Bend City Council Monday night took the next step towards issuing bonds to fund about $6 million in water line and water well improvements.

“This is not the final step the council needs to take,” said David Arteberry of George K. Baum and Company, the city bond agent. “But, it is a big step.”

In a series of motions and ordinances, the council authorized the sale of bonds to fund the project, refinance a 2007 water system improvement bond (cutting the interest rate from 3.9 to 1.55 percent), and call a 2009 sewer improvement loan through the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and refinancing it with a general obligation bond (reducing interest from 3.1 to 2.23 percent). 

In all, the city will be issuing bonds totalling about $7.8 million. But, the lion’s share will go to the improvement effort, with the balance going to service the refinancing.

Now, Baum and company, along with the city’s bond counsel Gilmore and Bell, will do all the necessary prep work. The final action will come Sept. 19 when the council votes to adopt the bond ordinances.

The city was initially looking at a $3.1 million effort to improve water lines in the downtown area. But, with interest rates at historic lows and an aging water network, the council instructed city officials to look at expanding the scope of the project to include more lines.

This action is independent of the other and does not play into the rate increases or project expansion.

The original pieces to the plan totaling $3.1 million were:

• l0th Street from Washington to Main

• Main Street from 1Oth to 19th

• Lakin from Baker to Stone

• Forest from Main to Stone

• 16th from Main to Stone

• 12th from Main to Baker

• 18th from Main to Williams

Now that the scope of the project has been widened, it includes at an estimated cost of an additional $3 million:

Water lines

• Williams from 16th to 18th

• Stone from Between Fith and Sixth to Broadway

• Eighth from Main to Holland

• Holland from Eighth to 10th

• Second from Main to Frey

• Broadway from Main to Morton

• Seventh from Main to Hubbard

Water wells at a cost of $350,000

• Number 12 at Seventh and Coolidge

• Number 11 at 5th and Evergreen

• Number nine at 11th and McKinley

• Number eight at Patton and Eisenhower

• Number five at Sheridan and K-96

• Number two at Lakin and Main

The plan also calls for what could be a 15 percent water rate increase, however, this could be lower. It is anticipated that it will take 20 years to pay off these bonds.

In 1999 when the city purchased the water system, City Administrator Howard Partington said. “We inherited a lot of problems.”

At that time, there was a $2.5 million bond issue to improve lines on 10th Street from Washington to McKinley and Grant Street to what was then Central Kansas Medical Center.

Last October, the council authorized Partington to proceed with preparations for a bond issue for around 9,000 feet of water line improvements. The main priority was replacing the current 10-inch cast iron line along 10th Street and in the downtown area with a 12-inch plastic line.

There are other streets, such as Broadway and Stone, and many in residential areas that need lines replaced as well.

It is estimated that about one third of Great Bend is served by old, cast iron water lines that date back as far as 80 years. These all could need to be replaced eventually.