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Zellner Speaks On Caney's Debt Situation


 The City of Caney is close to completing the rehabilitation of its sewer collection system, however, the rehabilitation is coming at a cost.

 City Administrator Kelley Zellner says improving infrastructure in water and sewer creates debt for every city, especially those with older or inadequate systems. New EPA regulations such as lead and copper restrictions and water quality requirements are forcing cities to upgrade as well. Cities like Caney are also having to eliminate as much infiltration water to their system as possible, so sewer water doesn't leak out.

 Zellner says previous city administrations bonded the sewer debt at a low interest rate so that the monies to finish the project were ready to reimburse when submitted to USDA. Caney now has to pay for those bonds.

 Caney's debt is an average yearly cost of $520-thousand, an increase by $320-thousand as of last year because of sewer improvements and the swimming pool. Sales tax monies of $161-thousand are going to the debt service, however with all project totals accounted for, the city will still be short $359,000.00. Because of this looming utility debt, the council must look at raising the utility rates of water and sewer to cover utilities and the utility debt service.


Zellner says the city council will be asked to raise water and sewer rates ten dollars during their April 1st meeting to cover the utility debt service. He adds that a bill that's making its way through the Kansas legislator now would help Caney and other cities in similar situations.

 Zellner says HB 2302 would forgive up to 90% of Caney’s $470-thousand water debt, which would help cover any short falls of the debt payments for the next several years.

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