With disagreement about how much the city of Leavenworth should pay for its share of a new parking lot, the matter is being referred to a Justice Center Building Committee.

With disagreement about how much the city of Leavenworth should pay for its share of a new parking lot, the matter is being referred to a Justice Center Building Committee.

Leavenworth city commissioners discussed the city's cost share for the new parking lot being constructed at the Justice Center when they met Tuesday night and voted unanimously to send the matter to the Building Committee.

The Justice Center is used by both county and city governments, and costs for the building generally are split between the two government entities.

The county is having the new parking lot constructed on the north side of the building and is asking the city to pay a portion of the cost in exchange for 15 parking spaces being designated for the Leavenworth Police Department.

Last month, the county submitted a cost allocation breakdown to Leavenworth City Manager Scott Miller showing that the city's portion totals $50,432. This amount is based on the city paying 23.28 percent for the project, a formula that traditionally has been used for costs associated with the Justice Center.

The cost allocation was approved by the Leavenworth County Commission on Dec. 19.

Miller said the $50,532 figure includes a portion of the cost of the demolition of the old Leavenworth County Jail.

The parking lot is being constructed on the site of the old jail.

Miller questioned whether the city should be responsible for any of the old jail's demolition cost. He said the jail had been under the sole ownership and operation of Leavenworth County. And, county government had been the aggressor in getting the building demolished.

Miller said his office was never brought to the table regarding a plan of action or cost sharing for the parking lot until last month. By that time, the project was about 50 percent completed.

The county had been in communication with Leavenworth Police Chief Pat Kitchens about the parking lot before that time.

Excluding the cost of demolition of the old jail, the city's portion for the new parking lot would be $39,257.

Also factored into the $50,432 is the city's portion of the cost of an earlier asphalt project at the Justice Center. This work was performed in October 2011.

"And we're just now being told about it?" Mayor Pro-Tem Mark Preisinger said.

Preisinger said he didn't have a problem paying the city's share for this earlier project, but he questioned whether there are "any other surprises coming up."

Miller said District Judge David King, who serves as chairman of the Justice Center Building Committee, indicated the county has the right to charge for anything that has occurred during the last five years.

Preisinger said he believes the Building Committee rather than the County Commission should determine the bill to the city for the parking lot.

"This is an action of the Building Committee," he said.

A 1999 agreement between the city and county established the Justice Center Building Committee. 

Leavenworth City Attorney Tom Dawson said he doesn't believe the agreement has been followed very closely.

Preisinger said he disagrees with including the demolition of the old jail in the cost allocation for the city.

"That was a county-owned piece of property," he said.

Commissioner Lisa Weakley also recommended not paying for the demolition costs.

Mayor Laura Janas Gasbarre said the matter still needs to be presented to the Building Committee.

Weakley agreed the matter needs to go back to the Building Committee.

Commissioners approved a motion to refer the matter to the Building Committee to review the itemized cost allocation and come up with a total.

Bob Holland, chairman of the Leavenworth County Commission, was in the audience during Tuesday's meeting but did not ask to address the city commissioners.