A hearing in a lawsuit involving Leavenworth County Fire District No. 1 ended Wednesday without a resolution in the case.

A hearing in a lawsuit involving Leavenworth County Fire District No. 1 ended Wednesday without a resolution in the case.

District Judge David King ruled that the Leavenworth County Commission should have been named in a petition filed by attorneys for the Delaware and High Prairie townships. King granted a motion to allow the attorneys to amend their petition to include the County Commission.

Attorneys for the two townships filed a petition for a declaratory judgment after Lansing city officials announced their intent to terminate an interlocal agreement that was used to establish Fire District No. 1.

The townships are named as the plaintiffs in the case, and the city of Lansing is the defendant.

Fire District District No. 1 provides fire department services to the city of Lansing and Delaware and High Prairie Townships.

Lansing officials are seeking to terminate the interlocal agreement in June 2020 using a termination provision in the contract.

Representatives of Lansing and the two townships signed the interlocal agreement in 2003. The document also was signed by a representative of the Leavenworth County Commission and an assistant attorney general for the state of Kansas.

Attorneys for the townships are asking the judge to rule that the termination provision of the interlocal agreement is null and void. They argue the provision is inconsistent with a state law that outlines the process for disorganizing a fire district.

Attorneys for the city of Lansing argue they are seeking a termination of the contract but not the disorganization of the fire district.

Wednesday’s hearing had been scheduled as a trial in the case.

King said attorneys for the two townships are in effect asking him to give an interpretation of the contract.

King said the law requires that all parties that have an interest be joined in the lawsuit. He questioned how he can go forward with the case when this requirement has not been met.

“You don’t think the county has an interest in the interlocal agreement?” King said.

Timothy Orrick, an attorney for Delaware Township, argued the County Commission is a passive party when it comes to the termination provision of the agreement.

Orrick suggested he could make an oral motion to allow the attorneys for the townships to include the County Commission in the lawsuit.

“We’re happy and willing to do that,” he said.

Adam Hall, an attorney representing the city of Lansing, argued it would be possible for the judge to enter a judgment without the County Commission being included as a party in the lawsuit.

He argued that the county would not receive any of the fire district’s assets if the assets were to be apportioned under the terms of the interlocal agreement.

Hall said the County Commission would have a say in putting a new structure in place if the contract is terminated.

Orrick suggested the judge defer any ruling until the County Commission can be included in the lawsuit. The attorney said he was making a motion to allow the attorneys for the townships to include the County Commission.

“We have no objection to that judge,” Hall said.

Orrick requested to have two weeks to file an amended petition.

Hall said timeliness is important in the case.

“I’m not going to delay the matter,” King said.

But he said county officials will need time to file a response in the case.

County Commissioner Vicky Kaaz and Senior County Counselor David Van Parys attended Wednesday’s hearing.

Following the hearing, Van Parys briefed other county commissioners on what happened in court.

“Depending on the activity of the parties, the county will respond accordingly,” he said.

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