County considers funding request for Basehor road project

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times
The rendering depicts a concept for a roundabout at the intersection of 155th Street and Parallel Road. The roundabout is planned as part of a 155th Street improvement project.

The mayor of Basehor is asking the Leavenworth County government to help pay for a project that will make improvements to 155th Street.

Mayor David Breuer made the request Wednesday during a County Commission meeting. The meeting also was attended by other officials from Basehor.

Breuer said the city of Basehor has been awarded a $7.4 million grant for the project through Mid-America Regional Council.

But the total estimated cost of the project is $11.2 million, leaving a funding gap of $3.8 million.

Breuer said the money awarded by MARC is for the construction portion of the project. But there are other expenses for things such as design work and right-of-way acquisition.

Breuer did not request a specific amount from the county. But the mayor said he would appreciate anything the county could do to help with the project.

"The project is moving forward," he said.

He said construction for the project is scheduled to take place in 2024.

The project will make improvements to a section of 155th Street between State Avenue and Basehor Boulevard.

This will include the construction of a roundabout at the intersection of 155th Street and Parallel Road. Breuer said this is one of the city's major intersections.

The mayor noted that 155th Street is designated as a county road, County Road 7. But if the city makes improvements to the road, the street will become the city's responsibility.

County Administrator Mark Loughry said sales tax revenue is the county's primary source of funding for these type of road projects. And he said the sales tax funds currently are committed to other projects in the county's capital improvement plan.

He said allocating money for the Basehor project at this time will require a reprioritization of funds.

Commissioner Doug Smith asked about issuing bonds to help pay for the project.

Loughry said he does not recommend using bonds for the project.

"I prefer to pay as you go if at all possible," he said.

Commission Chairman Mike Smith said the county government has passed on opportunities in the past when it should have jumped on them.

"I really would like to help continue to grow Leavenworth County," he said.

Mike Smith said commissioners need to find a way to help Basehor with the project if at all possible.

Commissioner Mike Stieben suggested having a work session to look at alternatives for potential funding.

Doug Smith said he wished for commissioners to agree on an amount to provide to the city. He suggested providing $2 million in funding.

Loughry asked Breuer how much money the city of Basehor has allocated for the project. The county administrator assumed city officials have planned some level of funding for the project.

Breuer said Basehor officials are "basically kind of waiting to see where we stand."

"Thank you mayor for not giving us an answer to that question, but I know where you're coming from," said Mike Smith, who previously served as the mayor of Lansing.

Mike Smith suggested having the work session next week.

"We don't want to hold you up," he said to Breuer.

Loughry said a week might be a short turnaround.

"We'll shoot for next week," he said. "I'll see what we can do."

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR

In other business

• Approved a temporary special use permit for a possible Sept. 20 special event at Deer Ridge Event Center, 21325 Donahoo Road.

The event could draw 800 people.

• Reviewed a proposed job description for an economic development administrator, which will be a new position for the county government.