Riley County commissioners on Monday unanimously approved a compliance plan to submit to the Environmental Protection Agency for eventual replacement of the University Park wastewater treatment plant.

It’s the first step for the benefit district to come into compliance with the EPA’s Clean Water Act. Public Works Director John Ellerman says the best option is to replace the current facility with a non-discharging lagoon, based on lower construction costs, simpler maintenance and longer life.

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University Park resident James Slaymaker spoke in favor of the option, but was critical of the county waiting until the deadline to act on the plan, after knowing about it for over a year.

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The total estimated improvement costs will be around $1.6 million, which will be shouldered by those living within the benefit district.

Also during Monday’s meeting, Riley County Clerk Rich Vargo announced that taxpayers will soon be getting notices in the mail about a public hearing regarding the revenue neutral rate ahead of the planned adoption of the 2023 Riley County budget.

The budget is slated to be approved next month. The county is expected to exceed the revenue neutral rate. Vargo says residents need not be alarmed when they receive the mailer, which spells out the budgeting process for the revenue neutral rate and includes some valuable information for the upcoming tax year.

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Vargo says Riley County has budgeted about $30,000 for the mailers, a cost which he says should be recouped by the state of Kansas both this year and next year.

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