Water flap with Eudora is still touchy
A meeting between Eudora city officials and Douglas County Rural Water District No. 4 Board of Directors Oct.24 failed to produce an agreement but did show how far the two sides are apart in a dispute now in federal court.
City officials made a presentation to board members in an effort to find a settlement to a lawsuit RWD No. 4 filed in September in U.S. District Court of Kansas City, Kan. The lawsuit seeks to prevent the city of Eudora from providing service to properties annexed into the city in recent years south of Kansas Highway 10 along Douglas County Road 1061 and includes the Lawrence Memorial Hospital's future Eudora healthcare campus.
City officials offered approximately $235,000 to pay off the water district's federal loan to settle the suit. RWD No. 4 found this offer to be too low.
"We were disappointed that they didn't seem to be interested in the offer we made," City Administrator Cheryl Beatty said.
RWD No. 4 say they would make upwards of $6 million by serving present and future customers within the roughly 153 acres in the Fairfield district over a 40-year period.
"We made an offer of long-term service," RWD No. 4 District Administrator Doug Schultz said. "We're saying if we released the service, that's our calculation of what we'd be losing over a 40--year period of time."
In November 2003, after RWD No. 4 enlarged the district, it came to an agreement with the city that RWD No. 4 would negotiate with Eudora a "fair market price for compensation to be paid to RWD No. 4 for meters and/or other infrastructure that is reusable by the City when upon annexation."
What the "fair market price" should be is where the two sides are unable to see eye-to-eye.
"They seem to have drawn their line in the sand and we can't seem to break the grains open to allow us to pass through, and that's unfortunate," Beatty said.
However, Schultz said that RWD No. 4 would like to see an amicable resolution to the suit.
"We want to resolve the issue in a way that is very cooperative and recognizes that the city of Eudora is growing," said Schultz. "We are really looking for a mutually beneficial agreement and harmony with the city."