Mayor Jim Orr moderated the hearing. Utilities Superintendent Pete Rauch and engineer Kevin Sprenkle also answered questions. City Commissioners Mike Brownsberger and Jerry Dierker were present along with City Administrator Dennis Pyle. City Clerk Janie Knight made a record of the comments to submit with the city's application to the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT).
From the outset, Orr said the city's whole purpose in the effort was to run a water main from the city to the airport, hooking the well at the airport into the city system. Rauch said the majority of the water will initially be coming into town. The demand should reverse over time, Rauch said, as residents along the route choose to annex into the city to get access to the water. Industry is also expected to develop at the new industrial park, established by the Monett Industrial Development Corporation, east of the airport.
Rauch said the city wants to put in a 12-inch water main, equal to the mains presently running on both sides of Highway 60 to the west edge of town. Where the line would run to the west has yet to be determined. Due to objections raised by at least one property owner west of town, Rauch said the line may have to cross the highway.
Seeking easements for the water line beyond the right-of-way held by MoDOT would offer a better arrangement for the city, said Orr. The city would be obligated to move its line beyond the state's easements should MoDOT ever decide to widen the highway. Rauch said he believed construction of a four-lane road was in the state's long-term plans, rather than expanding the passing lane strategy now being installed on Highway 60 east of Monett.
The city hoped to secure easements voluntarily, thus making the acquisition of water possible to the landowners. Orr said any property owner agreeing to annexation would receive police and fire protection from the city. Hydrants would be installed approximately every 1,000 feet. No city property taxes exist so there would be no additional tax liability.
Trash service would bear an additional charge, said the mayor, and buildings on the property would be subject to city building codes. Building Inspector George Rausch expressed a willingness to work with property owners on issues, just as the disposition of outbuildings on the back of farm properties.
Asked about requirements to keep properties mowed, Rauch said property owners could pick their own zoning designation in requesting annexation. Under the classification of general agriculture, the mayor said property used for farms could remain that way without city interference.
Arrangements would be sought with MoDOT so that the state would continue maintaining the right-of-way mowing. Concern was expressed that the state would try to narrow its responsibility on maintenance if a city shared rights on the land. Responding, Orr said, "That's not our intent."
Both the city and the Highway Patrol would have jurisdiction to patrol the highway, under the new arrangement, said the mayor.
Many of the questions focused on the mechanics of getting water. If the water main was on the property of the customer, the city would provide a free tap and meter, set at the edge of the property. Running a water line from the meter to the home would be the responsibility of the landowner.
If the water main was on the other side of the highway, accessing the water would require a directional bore under the road, which MoDOT would allow. Rauch said the city has had to make a number of directional bores. The last one cost $100 per linear foot. A typical connection would run around 100 feet, Rauch said.
"Over a 10-year period, it would be cheaper to use city water than it would cost for all the expenses to run and maintain a well," Rauch said.
The major costs of drilling a well or replacing a pump after a lightning strike would quickly surpass the expense of using city water, Rauch continued. He waters cattle on his property with city water and finds the price of $18.45 for 5,000 gallons a good deal.
As for adding more city wells along the route, Orr said over the next 20 years the city would consider the possibility of adding two. The logical placement, according to Rauch, would be near the roads crossing Highway 60, spaced a mile apart.
Several landowners were concerned about their wells failing due to the additional drawing of water for city use. Rauch explained such interference was unlikely, since city wells were sleeved and drilled to a depth of 1,500 feet, below the aquifer that feeds the typical 800-foot farm well. In case of a drought, all wells, including city wells, could be impacted, he warned.
Property owners expressed concern that problems with their wells might not surface immediately. While Rauch was doubtful that problems several years down the road could be attributed to the city, Orr said the city's policy has been to offer a free water hookup to anyone whose well failed because of city action.
"If you want to annex into the city, we can work out written agreements," Orr said. "I get told of old agreements, of which there are no records, and I generally don't honor them. If you want something to be in writing, we can provide that for you."
|Typically, a utility easement runs 15 to 20 feet. An additional 10-foot construction easement would be sought for moving heavy equipment in and out for maintenance. The city is seeking annexation to one mile west of the airport, near Farm Road 1020.|
MoDOT will have final say on the city's annexation request.