Transload road improvements require local cost sharing

Roads under construction in Garden City

GARDEN CITY, Kan. (KSNW) — Last year, Garden City officials worked out a cost-sharing deal with KDOT for the infrastructure needed for the new transload facility.

At issue now is who is paying for the road improvements and how are the costs being shared between the city and county.

Farmland Road services the transload facility. It’s run down and needs to be able to support all the trucks driving down it, and the intersection with Fulton needs to accommodate a truck’s turning radius.

KDOT committed $1.5 million. The rest, about $930,000, is up to Garden City and Finney County to provide.

One solution is the Finney County Economic Development Incentives Fund. Both entities pay into it, but the county commission controls the money.

“If they were to approve that then the local match from Garden City and Finney County would be met,” said Garden City Manager Matt Allen.

The joint account has about $1.5 million, which is more than enough to fund the project. There’s strong support for this option.

“There was interest on the part of the city commission and county commission in doing that,” said Allen.

Finney County’s administrator, Randy Partington, believes it’s the best course to take.

“That would probably be the simplest way,” said Partington, “because it is joint city and county money.”

The decision isn’t clear-cut.

“One concern might be spending $900,000-plus out of a $1.5 million fund does prevent future economic development prospects,” said Partington.

That fund has only been used a few times for less than $100,000, for things like a housing study to help address the local housing shortage.

Another option is to take out a bond — paid off by new local taxes — or dip into the county’s $4.5 million special highway fund.

“It would take away from other road projects in the future,” said Partington.

He referred to projects like the widening of Jennie Barker Road, which has been in the works now for 15 years.

If the county decides not to use the Economic Development Fund…then the county and the city will have to decide how to split the cost and how it will be paid.

The Finney County commission will meet Monday morning to discuss their options.