Anderson sets agenda for first year
In what was billed as a state of the city address, Mayor Dave Anderson focused on the immediate future by listing his goals for the first year of his administration.
In an address to the De Soto Chamber of Commerce last Thursday, the newly-installed mayor summed up the state of some of the city's key infrastructure components as aged.
The city has a water treatment plant built in the 1950s that must run above capacity to meet current summer demands, he said. As a consequence, the system sometimes operates with less than desirable water pressure and quality, he said.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment is monitoring the city's sewer plant for compliance with state discharge standards, Anderson said. That yearlong review ends in August. If De Soto fails to meet standards, it will be given another year to demonstrate improvement before the state demands action.
On the plus side, the city has a hard-working qualified staff, Anderson said. He pointed to the four-man crew that cleared the streets within the 13.7square-mile city this winter. Joe Gibbs is the only municipal employee in Kansas to earn a Class-4 operating license, the state's highest, for both sewer and water plants, Anderson said.
During a recent meeting with city supervisors, Anderson challenged them to open their imaginations to what De Soto can become in the next 20 years. It is his job to provide the leadership to direct their efforts, he said.
"In the next four years, we can leave an imprint on the city for the next 20 years," he told the city workers. "An entire generation of De Soto citizens will look back and know who did that."
Anderson indicated he was anxious to start the process and laid out an agenda for his first year in office. His goals are to:
Develop a water-supply strategy to provide a fourfold increase in "affordable" water to De Soto's residents.
Complete an updated comprehensive land-use plan that identifies areas of future industrial, commercial and residential and the infrastructure needed to serve them.
Expand the De Soto/Johnson County K-10 planning area to include the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant.
Develop a plan to address the replacement of the city's swimming pool.
Put in place a comprehensive schedule of impact fees that ensures new development pays for the increased water, sewer, fire, drainage and street demands it brings.
Extending the joint overlay agreement to include Sunflower would give De Soto a voice its future, Anderson said.
"I do think De Soto needs to be included in what goes on out there," he said.
Anderson released a position paper on the swimming pool last week and said a paper on the city's future water supply needs would soon follow.
Any added capacity above the fourfold increase he is advocating would put De Soto in the position of selling water to consumers outside the city limits, the mayor said. The city needs to fully debate and understand the consequences of that decision, Anderson said.
As for sewers, he agreed with City Administrator Gerald Cooper who has publicly stated De Soto should get out of the sewer business. But, he noted it would be several years before Johnson County Wasterwater ready to expand into the city.