A judge heard arguments Thursday in a lawsuit concerning an agreement that established Leavenworth County Fire District No. 1.

A judge heard arguments Thursday in a lawsuit concerning an agreement that established Leavenworth County Fire District No. 1.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Delaware and High Prairie townships, seeks a judgment regarding a 2003 interlocal agreement.

Lansing city officials are wanting to terminate this agreement by utilizing a provision within the contract.

But attorneys for Delaware and High townships argue the termination provision of the agreement is contrary to public policy that has been set out in law by state legislators. They have asked a judge to rule this provision null and void.

District Judge David King issued no decision Thursday. King said he will issue his decision in writing.

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

Officials for the city of Lansing have notified other parties to the agreement that they intend to terminate the contract in June 2020. City officials also are seeking to divide the assets of the Fire District No. 1.

Lansing officials have indicated they plan to operate a city fire department in the future.

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

The agreement states “any party may terminate this agreement by providing to the other parties written notice of its intention to terminate the agreement.”

Timothy Orrick, an attorney for Delaware Township, argued Thursday that Lansing city officials are seeking what would be a de facto disorganization of the fire district. He argued the fire district would be stripped of its assets.

Orrick argued this would circumvent a process for disorganizing a fire district that is required by state law.

Adam Hall, an attorney for Lansing, said city officials have filed a separate petition with the Leavenworth County Commission as set out by law to request that Lansing be excluded from Leavenworth County Fire District No. 1.

He argued this was a separate matter from the termination of the agreement.

Hall argued the interlocal agreement established a joint board for appointing members to the board of trustees for Fire District No. 1. He said the agreement also provides for governance of the fire district and allows for the termination of the agreement and division of assets.

“It does all of those things,” he said.

During the hearing, King seemed to disagree with Hall’s interpretation of the contract regarding the division of assets after the termination of the agreement.

King said Lansing attorneys are arguing assets should be divided through apportionment.

“That is not how the contract is written,” King said.

He said under the language of the agreement the assets would remain under the ownership of Fire District No. 1.

“So it’s not disposed of,” he said. “It’s retained by the fire district.’’

King previously held a hearing on the matter in June. But at that time, the judge ruled the Leavenworth County Commission should have been named in the lawsuit because the county has an interest in the interlocal agreement.

Attorneys for the townships later amended their petition for a declaratory judgment, adding the county as a defendant in the case.

The County Commission was represented during Thursday’s hearing by Senior County Counselor David Van Parys.

At the conclusion of Thursday’s hearing, Lansing City Attorney Greg Robinson asked when King will issue his written ruling. Robinson said there are political entities that will be asking the attorneys that question.

“As soon as I can get it done,” King said. “I can’t tell you how long it will take.”

King said he anticipates he will complete the written decision within 30 days. The judge said the case will be a priority for him because he knows the parties need an answer.

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