The Leavenworth County Commission approved an interlocal agreement with the city of Tonganoxie Monday, even following that city's recent move to a new classification.
The agreement had been standing before Tonganoxie sought to become a city of the second class with the state, said County Public Works Director Mike Spickelmier. But it had been allowed to expire some time ago.
The document governs the respective responsibilities of the city and the county regarding maintenance of some of the roadways within Tonganoxie's city limits.
Among those roads, the agreement stipulates that the portion of County Road 6 inside the city of Tonganoxie is maintained by the county.
Because of the change in the designation in the class of Tonganoxie, Van Parys said the respective responsibilities of the two parties will change too.
That prospect was cause for concern to Commissioner Clyde Graeber.
“The part of this memorandum that confuses me: 'public works has performed some research, but were unable to definitely determine what responsibilities in regard to county roads within the city limits, may be affected by that designation,'” he said. “Which says to me we're signing off on something we really don't know what we're signing off on.”
Spickelmier said the agreements typically work both ways, with cities assuming maintenance for some stretches of county roads. Van Parys said in this case, the change in Tonganoxie's class will mean a change to the rules that the former agreement was predicated on.
“If a county road comes into a town, a third-class city, runs through town and goes back into the county, that connecting portion you are required to maintain,” Van Parys said. “If the city becomes second-class, you are no longer required to do so, but you can do so by agreement.”
Commissioner Dennis Bixby said he would be concerned that nixing the interlocal agreement entirely would send the wrong message, the city of Tonganoxie having just gone through the trouble of revising and approving the agreement. He also said that the way he understood the proposal, the county would be entering the proposal in order to make improvements to a portion of CR-6 heavily traveled by pedestrians.
“My understanding is that we wanted to go ahead and take care of County Road 6 in regard to extending the base (making way for the city to install a sidewalk) and the culvert,” he said. “But then as soon as that work was done, give notice to Tonganoxie that County Road 6 inside the city limits would no longer be maintained by the county.”
Spickelmier confirmed that was the plan.
“My thought is this gives us five years to transition,” he said.
Page 2 of 2 - The commission approved the interlocal agreement, 2-1, with Holland opposed.
“To me, if Tonganoxie were really interested in taking care of this project, they wouldn't have waited two years to sign the interlocal agreement,” he said.
Spickelmier said he would prepare a comprehensive review of the agreements the county has with other communities for the public works department's August monthly report.