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Manhattan, Pott County at odds over sewer

By The Mercury

Pottawatomie County and the city of Manhattan are at odds over whose regulations should be enforced — and who should be the enforcing agency — for residential users in the county-owned Blue Township Sewer District.

The city and county have, in recent months, exchanged draft resolutions regarding the issue, but still remain at impasse. In a February 18 letter to the county, City Attorney Bill Raymond indicated the city would have to “seek appropriate legal recourse” if the county didn’t adopt the city’s draft resolution by March 21.

“In my view, the draft resolution proposed by the city attorney went substantially beyond the requirements of the interlocal agreement, and went substantially beyond addressing concerns over SIUs (Significant Industrial Users),” County Counselor John Watt said Monday in reviewing the issue with the Pott County Commission.

“I think the primary direction we need is enforcement of domestic (residential) users as opposed to commercial and industrial users,” Watt told commissioners. “Everything I’ve heard up to now is you want to keep enforcement of domestic users with the county.”

The city and county entered into an interlocal agreement in June of 2007, when the city began treating wastewater from the Blue Township Sewer District.

The agreement gives the city the right to approve all commercial and industrial connections to the system and require those users to comply with city ordinances and regulations.

The agreement also required the county to adopt regulations “similar” to Division 4 of the city’s sewer code. The county claims it adopted rules and regulations similar to Division 4 prior to acceptance of the interlocal agreement.

In a meeting between city and county officials April 30 of this year, the county was informed its latest draft resolution “did not go far enough in allowing the city to independently enforce its rules and regulations in the county, and to deal with emergencies,” Watt said.

At that meeting, county officials expressed their concern about the city imposing its rules and regulations on residential users without any county involvement.

The county commission Monday endorsed yet another draft resolution by Watt which, he said, addresses the following concerns: it follows the direction of the original interlocal agreement; keeps regulation enforcement of residential users with the county; and satisfies concerns of the EPA and KDHE over SIUs on the sewer system.

Commissioners further asked Watt to inform the city that the county is anticipating soon hiring a codes inspector who will not only inspect and document all residential sewer connections, but will make interior inspections to determine what is going into the sewer system.

Watt said his latest draft resolution would be forwarded to Manhattan City officials this week.

In other business:

• Lisa Wright, treasurer, said she had received a request for a treasurer’s office annex in Green Valley Community Center east of Manhattan.

The cost of setting up an annex (equipment and personnel) would be as much as $150,000, Wright said, noting that members of the township board wanted to meet with commissioners regarding the request.

“I’m probably not too crazy about the idea,” said Commission Chairman Stan Hartwich. “We could have about eight of those (annexes) before everybody was satisfied.”

Wright also said her office mailed delinquent property tax notices last week––1,095 for real estate and 306 for personal property.

• Robin Cole, executive director of Pawnee Mental Health, requested a two percent increase ($1,500 per year) in funding from Pott County.

The number of Pott County clients served by Pawnee Mental Health increased from 510 in 2012, to 522 in 2013, Cole said.

“I would anticipate we’ll see those numbers grow in Pottawatomie County,” she said.









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