The Leavenworth County Commission Monday voted to support the transfer of property to the city of Easton, paving the way for a future expansion of the city's water treatment plant.
Representatives of the small city north of Leavenworth asked the county to transfer a 5.4-acre piece of land on the north of its limits that are under the county's jurisdiction, having been the subject of a Federal Emergency Management Agency buyout in 1995.
“The property is basically being held held as vacant ground for flood control purposes, so there are very restrictive covenants with respect to what structures, if any, you can place on that property,” said County Counselor David Van Parys.
Easton City Attorney Carol Hall said the piece of land is adjacent to the city's existing water treatment plant.
“The city of Easton would like to expand the treatment plant,” she said.
According to Jack Kramer, the city's engineer, Easton officials are hoping to undertake a roughly $668,000 upgrade to the current facility that exists near the parcel. The last time the facility underwent improvements was in the early 1970s, Kramer said. Since then, parts of the plant have aged.
“The Easton Water Plant does not produce a good quality water,” he said, because of the conditions at the plant.
The state of Kansas has offered a 20-year loan to pay for the work, he said.
Commissioner Clyde Graeber asked about the site itself.
“If this is in the floodplain, is that a wise place to put a water treatment plant?” he asked.
Kramer confirmed that while the site is technically in the floodplain, but not in a high-risk area. In addition, he said the new facility would be built above flood elevation.
Graeber asked another question.
“You have 100 and some users,” he said. “How much is the monthly charge going to be?”
To that, Kramer said the city's current rate structure is adequate to cover the costs to service the debt, which will be approximately $3,500 a month for the life of the loan.
“They have sufficient funds to pay for this,” he said.
The commission approved a resolution supporting Easton's intention to take ownership of the property, the first of several steps in the ultimate transfer of the property.