City seeking peaceful resolution to water suit
At a Eudora City Council meeting Tuesday, council members chose to table until the next meeting discussions of whether or not to employ the services of lobbyist Kevin Barone in an effort to resolve a lawsuit with Douglas County Rural Water District No. 4.
Barone works for Topeka-based legislative consultants Joseph & Hollander as a contract lobbyist. Barone has lobbied on behalf of bail bondsmen, Sumner County and the city of Park City. He said that he would lobby on behalf of Eudora at this year's state legislative session in order cause RWD No. 4 to work with the city.
Council members Bill Whitten and Jeff Peterson said they would like to try once more to come to an agreement with RWD No. 4 before hiring Barone.
RWD No. 4 filed a lawsuit in September in U.S. District Court of Kansas City, Kan. to prevent the city of Eudora from providing service to properties annexed into the city in recent years south of Kansas Highway 10 along Douglas County Road 1061.
The two sides met Oct. 24 but failed to come to an agreement, as Eudora City officials offered approximately $235,000 to pay off the water district's federal loan to settle the suit. RWD No. 4 found this offer to be too low, saying they would make upwards to $6 million by serving present and future customers within the roughly 153 acres in the Fairfield district over a 40-year period.
The suit has put a kink in future developments in the area, including Lawrence Memorial Hospital's planned Eudora healthcare campus and Meadowlark No. 3 developments.
"We've talked with all of the developers and made them aware that the the lawsuit could delay their plans," City Administrator Cheryl Beatty said. "LMH believes that the parcel they're developing will not be effected, but the Meadowlark three development would be effected."
In other business, the council:
- Received a statue project report as well as a report from the Eudora 150th Committee. Tom Tucker, who said that fundraising efforts for the Paschal and Eudora Fish statue exceeded expectations by nearly $10,000, also said that $5,000 would go to the city's park funds and $5,000 to sculptor Jim Brothers. The city council then presented him with a plaque for all of his work.
LaDonna Russell then told the council the Sesquicentennial Committee had come in $1,000 under budget. Council members will present the members of the committee with certificates of appreciation at a later date.
- Approved the purchase of a wastewater chopper pump, which will prevent trash that is in liquid waste and sludge from damaging the waste filtration system. The cost of the pump will be $16,670, though the cost of having it installed is unknown.
- Approved the purchase of electrical equipment including power poles, transformers and meters totaling $26,928.30.