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City commissioners discuss water annexation


With water issues of primary concern for local officials, consideration of a pre-annexation agreement for water service at Thursday's work session brought discussions among commissioners that could lead to changes to future and existing pre-annexation agreements.

Commissioners questioned in October a pre-annexation agreement that would allow 3232 E. 27th, an existing property owned by Jessica Braun, to connect to city water.

The request for pre-annexation was made due to failure of the property's existing water well during recent drought conditions.

During October's discussions, city staff expressed concern whether the existing 2-inch water main adjacent to the property would be adequate to service Braun's property as well as the property it serves.

The utilities department reviewed the request and determined there is adequate service at the site to provide water for Braun's dwelling without negative effect on surrounding properties, as long as the flow is restricted to 5 gallons per minute maximum.

"The utility department has done multi-point tests to get a more accurate forecast of the water and has been in contact with both property owners to find an agreeable solution," said Bernie Kitten, city of Hays utilities director. "The owner of the property that current meter is located on has agreed by letter to allow Jessica Braun to hook her property up to that line."

Commissioner Ron Mellick said he would like to see a couple of stipulations added to all pre-annexation agreements for properties outside city limits: Limitation of water for domestic use only (prohibiting its use for livestock), and adherence to city water restrictions.

Those stipulations likely can be applied to existing agreements, said City Attorney John Bird.

"This isn't a right," he said of pre-annexation. "It's a privilege that we extend.

"As long we do it uniformly, we can impose conditions."

Commissioners will vote on the pre-annexation agreement, and the new pre-annexation stipulations at next Thursday's meeting.

In other business, commissioners:

* Discussed the extension of Rich Guffey's pro-shop management contract at Fort Hays Municipal Golf Course. They will vote on the contract at next week's meeting.

* Appointed Commissioner Henry Schwaller IV to a city housing study group.

* Discussed whether to return to membership status within the League of Kansas Municipalities and determined, by consensus, to remain a non-member. The city dropped its membership to the league last year.

* Mayor Troy Hickman was absent.