Council invests $200,000 in waterline
The De Soto City Council authorized $200,000 in short-term notes to install a waterline to address the city's summer water needs.
The city has been operating the water treatment plant at Sunflower for more than two years. However, with no line connecting that plant to the city's system, water produced there only supplies the needs within the plant and Clearview City.
Last Thursday's action provides funding for a waterline that will make Sunflower-produced water available to the city's distribution system. City engineer Mike Brungardt said the waterline would connect to a meter pit near the intersection of Lexington Avenue and Sunflower Road with the city's distribution system, which reaches the nearby Countryside Learning Center.
There are two possible routes for the waterline, Brungardt said. One is a direct route through the razed eastern section of the old Sunflower Village. A longer route would follow Lexington Avenue, he said.
The city engineer estimated it would cost $122,000 to install the longer line. The cost would include a $25,000 booster pump that would compensate for the greater water pressure within the city distribution system.
A cheaper direct route would necessitate the city negotiating an easement with Clearview City owner Jim Bush, Brungardt said. While not dismissing that possibility, Brungardt added "there are advantages to having the waterline easily accessible from Lexington Avenue."
The unanimous decision to fund the waterline came after city council members Tim Maniez and Linda Zindler expressed concern that the waterline's installation would commit the city to the eventual renovation of the half-century-old Sunflower water-treatment plant. City Administrator Gerald Cooper and Brungardt assured the two council members the waterline would be needed regardless of the city's future involvement with that facility.
Should De Soto stop operating the Sunflower water treatment plant, the city could reverse the flow in the waterline to meet its commitment to serve Clearview City, Cooper said. The booster pump wouldn't be needed if the flow were reversed, but "we would probably need that somewhere else," Cooper said.
There is concern about the condition of the long-unused water main that connects to the meter pit to the Sunflower treatment plant. One leak was discovered when it was reactivated two weeks ago, Brungardt said.
The $78,000 in additional short-term debt authorization was added to pay for possible repairs to the water main and other contingencies.
Cooper suggested the short-term notes have a two-year duration. At the end of that time, he said, the debt could be rolled into revenue bonds that could be paid off through the sale of water to Intervet Inc. The company will need 30 million gallons of water annually once it opens its campus on 91st Street.
It is also possible the fate of Sunflower will be determined in two years, Cooper said. In that case, the temporary notes could be rolled into a larger bond issue authorized for improvements to the Sunflower water treatment plant or the construction of a new plant, he said.
Brungardt said the water line should be completed about July 1. To ensure the city can meet summer demand, the city council authorized Brungardt and City Attorney Patrick Reavey's continued negotiations for the purchase of water with Johnson County Rural Water District No. 6. Cooper said the water would only be used in emergency situations.