Hays Daily News, June 24, 1999

Hays Daily News

June 24, 1999

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Issue date: Thursday, June 24, 1999

Pages available: 14

Previous edition: Wednesday, June 23, 1999

Next edition: Friday, June 25, 1999

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Publication name: Hays Daily News

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Hays Daily News, The (Newspaper) - June 24, 1999, Hays, Kansas Local forecast increasing 40 percent chance for Low partly High South wind 30 page Inside today 1 14 pages 507 Kansas 785 6281081 On the Internet at The Hays Daily News f Rural sewer charge at center of controversy City of Hays is suing two districts for backpayments Commissioner works for one By SCOTT AUST HAYS DAILY NEWS A long running dispute between the city of Hays and two rural subdivi sions concerning sewage treatment rates has taken an odd twist due to the potential of a conflict of interest of a city Larry elected in April to the Hays City and his are employees of Big Creek Improvement District 1 along with Prairie Acres Improvement is being sued by the city for underpayment of near ly for sewage treatment over the past six The city says Big Creek owes about while Prairie Acres owes The districts claim they are being charged too but the city con tends their rates are higher because the districts are not inside the city At the end of the June 10 Hays City Commission Schmidt read a prepared statement calling for the city to rewrite its user charge system to be in line with Environmental Protection Agency rules and He also asked the commission to direct city staff to find a way to resolve the dis pute with the But City Manager Hannes Zacharias said that all correspon dence the city has received from the EPA and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment supported the citys We think the EPA has sided with the city as far as the rates are con There are hundreds of cities in Kansas that charge premiums for he KDHE approved our rate structure in and theyve approved it ever since that Zacharias in the director of the EPAs wastewater management Michael wrote a memo stating the citys user fees for the cost of maintenance and equip ment replacement OMR were not proportional for all users of the waste water system as required by the Clean Water But on June Zacharias received a letter from the EPA stating that fur ther information provided by the KDHE concerning the formula used to determine the rate showed that the city is in Cook states in the letter that the law doesnt cover or authorize the EPA to determine what the distribution of local debt service should He wrote that the distribution of those costs is left for the city and wastewater users to resolve The EPA did indicate that the city needs to fine tune its ordinances reflect the difference between OMR and debt service but those were unrelated to the issue of the charge to the sewer CITY SEE PAGE 6 City says districts should be billed more because they are not paying property tax By SCOTT AUST HAYS DAILY NEWS The ongoing saga between the city and two rural improvement districts began in the early when residents of Big Creek and Prairie Acres subdivi sions signed a contract with the city for sewage treatment to avoid the cost of constructing their own sewage According to the the amount charged to residents in the two districts would be times the rate of residential customers within the city limits with payments due on a quarterly The original sewage rate in 1983 for users inside the city limits was 43 cents per 100 cubic feet of the average use of city water during the winter Users outside the city limits paid 65 cents per 100 cubic feet of sewage metered at the wastewater treatment plant which is times the city resident Currently the rate for residential users within the city limits is per 100 cubic feet for the first 200 cubic That rate increases according to the volume Residential users outside the city limit now pay times that or per 100 cubic feet up to 200 cubic Hays City Manager Hannes Zacharias said customers outside the city limits are charged a higher rate than users within the city because they dont pay property taxes and would not see a tax increase in the case of a loan its helpful to charge a otherwise theres no incentive for he Zacharias said without a people could locate outside the city limits and connect to city services without paying the same taxes that city residents have to The contract with the two districts also stated that the city would have to give a threemonth notice if rates were to be and another three months to begin collecting the increased After the city expanded the water plant in sewage treatment rates increased for all Zacharias said the reason the rate was increased at that time was because commission ers were anticipating paying mil lion for and they felt those outside the city should have to pay more than those inside the Zacharias said the city tried to reach a compromise with the districts by putting them in a nonprofit cate gory for four years beginning in Several residents of the districts decided they were paying more than they so the districts began withholding part of their quarterly payments in The city discontinued the nonprofit category in mid1995 and began charg ing the districts at times the resi dential rate according to the which sent sewage bills much SEWER SEE PAGE 6 Into the night CHARLIE RIEDEL Hays Dally Rick Werth cuts wheat in his field south of Schoenchen as the setting sun paints the sky in the background Wednesday With a full day of Werth was able to begin cutting Wednesday but was still battling muddy conditions from recent Senate confirms 8 regents appointees By LEW FERGUSON ASSOCIATED PRESS TOPEKA Senators are hailing the quality of Bill Graves appointments to a reconstituted Kansas Board of endorsing eight of the nine for confirmation so they can begin serving when the new board starts work on July I personally couldnt have asked for a better group to serve on the new said Tim R chairman of the Senate Confirmations Oversight Committee and a coauthor of the higher education restructuring law that created the new If this is going to Emert these are the people who will make it They are committed to making it seven of the new boards mem bers told the committee during their confirmation hearings on The other two were not but Sylvia Robinson of Kansas was recommended for confirmation anyway because she is serving on the current board and has been before the committee I hope we have a willingness to said former state Fred of one of the I hope we consider really profound if All seven board members who appeared were endorsed on unani mous voice plus who has served on the board for more than two The seven who testified included carryover board members Bill the chairman from Arkansas City Clay of Mission and Harry of Four of the newly appointed members also were approved Janice of Emporia Floris Jean of Dodge City for mer state Jack of Little and Under Senate the appointees had to be recommended for confir Hays man has a new incentive for cancer walk ASSOCIATED PRESS Kansas Lana and Tim R talk during a meeting of the Senate Confirmations Oversight Committee Wednesday in The committee met to endorse eight appointments to the Kansas Board of mation by the full Senate in the 2000 or they could not serve One Wichita real estate broker Stephen was not endorsed because his appointment has yet to be submitted to the Graves appointments Judy said a Kansas Bureau of Investigation background check has not been completed on and his appointment may not be sent to the Senate for another two who also is Senate major ity said the confirmations committee likely will meet again on July 13 to consider Clarks appoint State to study organization of school districts By CAROL CRUPPER HARRIS NEWS SERVICE TOPEKA A study of how the states school districts are organized could open a can of a window of or By legislative the Department of Education will seek proposals for a comprehen sive study of school district organization in Lawmakers want to know if the system could operate more efficiently and effectively under a different A committee of lawmak ers and state school board members agreed on details of what the study should include during a conference call The school board probably will consider the plan in Legislators allocated for the project and expect a report by January Factors to be reviewed include School district enrollment and projected Pupil transportation includ ing distances students must travel to attend dis trict schools and the proximity of schools in adjoining Capacity and condition of existing Community interest in matters such as commerce and Property tax bases of Project bidders could include universities or consulting firms that specialize in government Its not a consolidation said Bill RE1 Mason thinks Kansas has neglected its fis cal responsibility in this matter since the last reorganization of school boundaries in the DISTRICTS SEE PAGE 3 Last year Tom Bohm took part in memory of his churchs secretary this year his daughter has cancer By DIANE GASPEROBRIEN HAYS DAILY NEWS Last Tom Bohm agreed to be on a Relay for Life team for a 12hour fundrais ing walk in Hays in honor of victims and survivors of It was in memory of his churchs secre Theresa who had died from cancer a few years And he knew it was for a good After cancer strikes one out of every three Bohm was the top money raiser for his team Team Theresa gathering more than in donations in And he was nt even able to fully participate in the relay due to his own health This he had more In Bohm learned that his 29year old who now lives in was diagnosed with bone cancer in her The fifth annual Relay for Life walk in Hays will begin at 7 Friday at the Felten Middle School The relay has grown from half a dozen teams the first year to 42 this year because of people like who this year has raised more than that will go to the treatment and research of wants no individual He would just as soon stick to the relays motto A team event to fight can Last Hays Relay for Life netted more than for the American Cancer This years goal is There are a lot of good causes out and I like to help a lot of Bohm But Im not There are a lot of people who help a lot of different One of those for Bohm is the American Heart He wasnt able to fully participate in last years Relay for Life because he was recovering from triple bypass heart surgery a few months earli This he hopes to be there for much of the 12hour which for participating teams begins earlier than Teams set up camp sites starting at 3 followed by registration and team At 7 there will be an introduction of cancer followed by a sur vivors victory After an introduction of teams and spon the relay gets under way at 8 The object of the relay is for each usually consisting of eight to 12 to have someone on the track for the entire 12 individuals can walk on their There will be activities all includ ing childrens a character show and a karaoke There will be a concession snow cone popcorn and cotton and raffles for items such as Beanie a a picnic afghan and There even will be a breakfast for walk ers at But for anyone who has been including the highlight of the event is the lighting of luminaries honoring vic tims and Relay for Life organizers begin lighting the which have been purchased in the name of loved at about The thousands of candles around the track literally light up the At 10 the Circle of Life ceremony which includes speakers and followed by the recitation of names on the The whole thing is a lot of the the the atmosphere Bohm And even if you arent interested in its worth it just to come up to the track just to watch the Its real ly ;