Petition refiled

The Leavenworth City Commission has officially approved a lawsuit that was filed on behalf of the city against the county government.

The petition seeking a declaratory judgment concerning a proposed roundabout was filed Friday in Leavenworth County District Court by an attorney for the city.

City commissioners never voted to approve the petition before it was filed last week. But they voted Wednesday afternoon to refile the same petition in court. The vote came during a special meeting of the commission.

The vote was 4-0. Commissioner Nancy Bauder was absent.

The City Commission is challenging the County Commission's plan to construct a roundabout at the intersection of 20th Street and Eisenhower Road.

The roundabout has been included in the design for a county-funded Eisenhower Road improvement project. The project will widen the road from west of 13th Street to County Road 5.

The petition filed on behalf of the city argues a contract between the county and cities of Leavenworth and Lansing will be breached if a roundabout is constructed at the intersection of 20th Street and Eisenhower Road.

The petition argues that the memorandum of understanding between the county and two cities calls for left turn lanes and traffic signals at the intersection.

During Wednesday's special meeting, Leavenworth Mayor Mark Preisinger argued that the County Commission cannot unilaterally change a condition of the agreement. He said the change must be agreed to by all parties.

During a meeting of the County Commission on Tuesday, County Counselor David Van Parys questioned whether the city commissioners had approved the petition in open session.

Preisinger said Wednesday that an earlier Kansas Supreme Court decision gives the city manager the authority to file a legal action without the commission's approval.

“We're doing this just to ensure that it is cleaned up,” Preisinger said of Wednesday's vote.

City Attorney Tom Dawson said he will refile the same petition following the commission's vote.

City commissioners had a regular meeting Tuesday.

City Manager Paul Kramer said commissioners did not vote on the petition during Tuesday's meeting because he needed to consult with Dawson about the matter, and Kramer was out of the office that day.

Preisinger said the lawsuit against the county is not something city commissioners relish.

“I think it's best that we all work together, but we felt that this was necessary,” he said.

County commissioners have not yet decided how to respond to the lawsuit. They plan to discuss the matter next week.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR