Archive for Saturday, January 4, 1992

WATER TRANSFER AN ISSUE

January 4, 1992

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The city commission Tuesday will take up a draft of its '93 legislative program a shopping list of matters of concern that the commission hopes will get attention from our local delegation once the Kansas Legislature opens for business later this month.

For the most part, the items on the city's list genuinely deserve support. The Workers' Compensation system, for one issue, is a mess. Insurance costs are rising at an atrocious rate, and the problem needs to be addressed before it bankrupts the businesses paying for it or drives the costs of goods and services beyond realistic limits.

Likewise, given issues that have arisen in recent weeks, it is reasonable for the city to make the delegation aware of its interest in matters such as tax abatement policies, historic preservation, lawn irrigation and power line installation even though city residents take differing sides on the various topics.

Nowhere on the list, however, is an issue of potentially serious long-term impact on the city and all its residents: Water transfer.

Last year, the Legislature failed to act on a proposal that would have remedied identified deficiencies in the state's water transfers act. The measure reportedly will be revived this session, supposedly with some key changes made.

The importance of the issue of water transfer cannot be exaggerated. The Wichita area covets the water that supplies Northeast Kansas, and is seeking to transfer supplies from this region to serve its needs. Our city is a member of several organizations with a stake in the outcome of this battle, and the legislative delegation needs to be put on notice of the city's stance on such a vital matter. The city needs to be active in preparing to deal with this issue. Perhaps it's not too late to amend the city's legislative program with comments on this topic, to protect the future of Lawrence and Douglas County.

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