Archive for Thursday, June 12, 2008

Residents satisfied with council action

June 12, 2008

During public comments Monday at the Eudora City Council Meeting, residents who were displeased with the timeframe and manner in which they were notified of a change in their electricity provider addressed the council.

In what city officials said was a series of miscommunication, owners of 15 meters in the area of North 1300 Road where mistakenly notified just two days before a changeover between Westar Energy and the City of Eudora was to occur.

Some were notified in person, while others received notices that were left on their front doors.

Westar did not give any notification to the homeowners.

They also were going to be subject to 50 percent surcharges as a result of receiving city utilities, but not living within the city.

In the context of electricity, cities have a right to serve homes within their city limits. Because Eudora had intended on annexing the area in question, Westar released the line to the city.

Eudora planned to annex the area in November as Kansas state statute allows when lots are surrounded on at least three sides by city property. However, the council decided against annexation in January because it could appear as though the city was going to try to provide water to an area already embroiled in a lawsuit with Rural Water District No. 4.

The city still intends to annex the area within the next year.

Merritt Musick, who spoke on behalf of the group of homeowners, said they all had received apologies from both Westar and the city of Eudora.

City Administrator Cheryl Beatty said the city now is in talks to lease the line back to Westar and will find out the timeline for when that will occur within the next week.

The city would regain rights to provide residents in the area with electricity once the area is annexed into the city.

Mayor Tom Pyle told Musick the council most likely would waive the 50 percent surcharge in a vote that will take place at a meeting on June 23.

Janice McKenzie, who is a lifelong resident of Eudora, said she was satisfied with the city's action to correct the mistake.

But the impending annexation of her property by the city makes her feel she and her husband, Terry, have no rights regarding their property.

"You work your whole life to buy something, but they can control it," she said.

Beatty said the reason the city wants to annex the area is to maintain jurisdictional continuity and avoid confusion between public services such as fire and law enforcement departments.

In other actions, the council:

¢ Approved the purchase by the police department of one digital camera, at a cost of $4,125, and a radar unit, at a cost of $2,324.

Both items will be used for the department's new cruiser.

¢ Approved proclamation for Eudora Veteran's Recognition Day as well as the closing of the 1400 block of Maple Street, both of which as a result of the community street dance and potluck dinner on Saturday that has been organized by Medicalodges, Eudora.

¢ Approved the adoption of Ordinance No. 896, which will establish a donative fund for the Ministerial Alliance Food Pantry.

Beginning in July, residents can agree in advance to round up on their utility bills and the rounded-up funds will be deposited in an account for the food pantry.

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