by BECKY GOFF
Little Apple Post
MANHATTAN - On Thursday morning, more than 30 residents and property owners from the Keats area attended the Riley County Commission meeting where commissioners discussed whether the Keats sewer system project could still be considered financially feasible.
Fifteen community members provided testimony about the project with fourteen of them voicing concern over the expense of the project and lack of transparent communication to property owners about the financial impact of the project.
Since 2021, the estimated costs for the Keats Sewer District project have escalated from a range of $3,669,405 to $3,994,900 to a new estimated range of $4,146, 330 to $4,737,555 in 2023.
This is an increase of 13% to 18.59% between 2021 to 2023.
K.S.A. 19-27a06 requires the Board of County Commissioners to host a public hearing to determine if the Keats Sewer District remains financially feasible after the cost of the project increased by more than 10% of the original estimate.
Residents expressed concern over the expense which will be added to the property tax assessment for each parcel as a special assessment.
For some property owners, because of the way the parcels were historically divided, they have been informed by the county that even if the lot is currently undeveloped and due to regulations will have to remain undeveloped a sewer hook-up will still be required to the parcel as part of this installation.
Riley County Commissioners discussed amongst themselves whether they felt the project remains financially feasible following the public comment section.
Commissioner Greg McKinley moved the Board find the Keats Sewer Project is still feasible when taking in the estimated cost increases into the account. Commissioner Kathryn Focke seconded the motion.
Both Commissioners McKinley and Focke voted in favor of the Keats Sewer Project remaining financially feasible, while Commissioner John Ford voted against this motion.
The Riley County Board of County Commissioners meeting from November 16th, can be rewatched here: