Parking at the Justice Center was again a topic of conversation when Leavenworth County commissioners met Monday.
The county is paying for the construction of a new parking lot to the north of the Justice Center.
But Commission Chairman Bob Holland said he would like to see the city of Leavenworth contribute money to the project because the Leavenworth Police Department is requesting that spaces in the lot be reserved for police vehicles.
The new lot has been a frequent topic of discussion of county commissioners during the last couple of weeks.
The Justice Center is a county-owned building that houses the Leavenworth County Sheriff's Office, Leavenworth Police Department, Leavenworth County District Court and other entities.
The new lot is being constructed at the site of the old Leavenworth County Jail, which recently was demolished. The lot is designed to have 38 spaces, two of which will be for handicap parking.
Leavenworth Police Chief Pat Kitchens has asked that 16 spaces in the new lot be set aside for Police Department use. He said the police have been parking in the area of the old jail since 2000.
County commissioners have said the new parking lot was intended for public parking.
Holland said Monday that he had requested a rundown of information about parking privileges at the Justice Center.
John Forslund, the county's director of buildings and grounds, discussed parking around the Justice Center and the Leavenworth County Courthouse. County Counselor David Van Parys discussed a 1999 agreement between the city and county that addresses the operation of the Justice Center.
Monday's discussion came a day ahead of a scheduled meeting of the Justice Center's building committee. The seven-member committee is scheduled to discuss the parking issue this afternoon.
"There is a binding agreement in effect today related to these issues as well as the creation of the building committee," Van Parys told commissioners.
Holland asked who created the committee.
Van Parys said it was set up by agreement between the county and city governments.
"So the county actually decided to do this," Holland said.
Van Parys said the county owns the Justice Center property, which is located across the street from the Leavenworth County Courthouse, but the city has exclusive use of some areas of the building and shared use of others.
County Administrator Pat Hurley said District Court, the city and county each pay its respective share for things such as insurance for the building, utilities and maintenance.
Commission Clyde Graeber, who serves on the building committee, asked if there is anything in the agreement addressing the allocation of spaces in a new parking lot.
Page 2 of 2 - Van Parys said the agreement only indicates that adequate parking is supposed to be provided for the Police Department's fleet.
He said the agreement can be interpreted to require adequate parking even if the size of the Police Department's fleet doubles.
Commissioner Dennis Bixby suggested the police can park in spaces in a public lot if they're available.
He later suggested that the county won't need to provide spaces equal to the number of vehicles in the Police Department's fleet because at least some of the vehicles always will be in use.
Bixby asked if the 1999 agreement can be amended.
"It can be amended by mutual agreement," Van Parys said.
He said there is no date of expiration for the agreement.
Bixby said Leavenworth County has changed since the agreement was drawn up.
Van Parys said any written agreement needs to be looked at over time to determine if its still germane and timely.