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Commission discusses potential water issue

By The Mercury

Pottawatomie County commissioners would like to preempt a possible delay in home construction in the southwest portion of the county that could occur due to lack of water availability.

With new residential subdivisions scheduled to open in the near future, commissioners said Monday they want to be able offer temporary water service from the Timber Creek Water District in the event Rural Water District 1 is unable to.

RWD 1 is preparing to expand its infrastructure to serve a larger area of Blue Township with water purchased from the city of Manhattan.

“I’ve seen how slow these things can move,” Commissioner Pat Weixelman said of the RWD project. “We might not have water out there until 2016, and I don’t want to be in that position. All I want is an insurance policy for 180 meters.”

Providing temporary water service would require the county to acquire easements for extending a water line to the new subdivisions, something homeowners have shown little interest in.

Robert Reece, county administrator, said he would contact representatives of RWD 1, homeowners’ associations and developers to begin a dialogue on how the county could provide temporary water service to the new subdivisions if needed.

“There’s a four or five-month differential in this thing,” Weixelman said of the potential water delay. “They’re not going to be knocking on rural water’s door, they’re going to be sitting right out there in those chairs asking us what’s going on. I don’t want to be in that position.”

In other business Monday:

• Lois Schlegel, county appraiser, reaffirmed the commissioners’ water concerns, reporting another record-setting month for property sales in the county.

Of the 94 property sales in June, 31 were parcels representing 59 vacant lots and all of them in the southwest portion of the county.

That’s the most vacant lots sold in a single month in at least three years, indicating continued brisk residential construction, Schlegel said.

“At least our problems are good ones,” said Commissioner Stan Hartwich. “There are a lot of counties that would give anything to have the problems we’ve got. But we’ve got to keep it (construction) going.”

• Dustin Trego said he is developing a “bus wrap” idea to make the county’s mini-buses more distinctive and identifiable.

“Right now they look pretty much like any of the mini-buses used by other organizations in the county,” Trego said.

Along with the “bus wrap” idea, Commissioner Gary Yenzer suggested soliciting advertisements for the buses to help defray the cost of operation.

• The commission presented David Cox with a certificate of appreciation for 25 years with the county. Cox oversees maintenance of the county’s asphalt roads for the road and bridge department.

Cox thanked the commission and said, “I’ve got to get to work,” as Monday was the first day of sealing asphalt roads in the county.

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