The Leavenworth City Commission has taken another step toward establishing a fee to pay for maintenance of the city's stormwater system.

The Leavenworth City Commission has taken another step toward establishing a fee to pay for maintenance of the city's stormwater system.

Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a charter ordinance exempting the city from provisions of the Kansas Water Pollution Act. The ordinance allows the city to create a stormwater management program and stormwater utility fee.

Also Tuesday, commissioners voted to approve one appointment to the Leavenworth County Port Authority Board of Directors. But another vacancy on the Port Authority board is being left unfilled for now.

Commissioners also were briefed about recommendations resulting from a transportation study of the county.

For months, commissioners have been discussing the implementation of a fee to pay for maintenance of the city's stormwater system, which carries rainwater away from buildings and roads. The water is channeled into creeks and watershed areas.

Commissioners have not yet settled on rates for the fee, but they have been presented options for charging between $75 and $270 per year for single family residences.

"This does not set the fee," City Manager Paul Kramer said of the charter ordinance that was approved Tuesday.

Commissioners had what is referred to as first consideration of the ordinance last month. Commissioners had no comment about the ordinance before taking the vote Tuesday.

The charter ordinance will be published in the newspaper once a week for two weeks. It will go into effect 61 days after the final publication unless there is a valid petition calling for a referendum on the issue.

During Tuesday's meeting, commissioners considered nominations from the Leavenworth County Commission to fill two vacancies on the Port Authority board.

Under an agreement that established the Port Authority in 1969, members of the Board of Directors are approved by the County Commission and City Commission.

County commissioners voted Feb. 6 to nominate Bob Patzwald and Vernon Fields to the Port Authority board.

When taking up the nominations Tuesday, Mayor Mark Preisinger said he wanted to review them individually. He started with Patzwald's nomination.

Patzwald, a retired deputy public works director for the city of Leavenworth, previously served on the Port Authority Board but his term recently expired.

"I think all of us know him," Preisinger said.

Commissioners voted unanimously to appoint Patzwald to a term that will expire at the beginning of 2022.

Preisinger said he has met Fields. The mayor called the nominee an upstanding gentleman.

But Preisinger suggested that commissioners interview Fields before moving forward with the nomination.

Preisinger noted that Fields currently serves on the Basehor City Council. The mayor said this could lead to possible conflicts of interest.

Preisinger also noted that Fields is a candidate for Congress.

The mayor said he would like to invite Fields to meet with the City Commission so commissioners can get to know him a little bit.

Several other commissioners agreed with Preisinger's proposal, and the City Commission took no action on Fields' nomination during Tuesday's meeting.

Kramer said he will reach out to Fields to arrange a meeting with the commission.

Representatives of the Mid-America Regional Council and the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority provided a presentation about a Leavenworth County transportation study. A representative of the Kansas Department of Transportation also was on hand for Tuesday's presentation.

Shawn Strate, planning manager for KCATA, said two public transportation alternatives, or plan recommendations, resulted from the study. One is an on-demand transportation service for the city of Leavenworth in which residents book rides a day in advance.

"We see this as a great first step," he said.

The other alternative, or recommendation, would be establishing a fixed transit route from Leavenworth to the Village West shopping area in Kansas City, Kansas. From this location, riders would be able to connect to bus routes that would take them to other areas of the Kansas City metropolitan area.

Strate provided cost estimates for these recommendations. The on-demand service in Leavenworth is estimated to cost $400,000. The service providing connection to Kansas City, Kansas, could cost between $225,000 and $450,000.

He said there may be funding available through a state program.

"In any case, there needs to be some amount of local funding involved," he said.

Commissioner Larry Dedeke suggested focusing on transit service within Leavenworth before branching out with a route to Kansas City, Kansas.

Preisinger asked if the city can work toward applying for state funding for next year.

Kramer said there needs to be collaboration between the city and county governments. He said the transportation study was a countywide study.

"It's still a county service that is starting off in the city of Leavenworth," he said.

He said a logical first step would be in the city of Leavenworth, but this would be the first spoke in a countywide system.

Dedeke suggested the city of Lansing also could be included in the initial service.

Preisinger suggested that the recommendations of the study be presented to the County Commission.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR