Sedgwick County commissioners postpone decision on Valley Center de-annexation

After a heated public hearing, Sedgwick County commissioners voted to wait 30 days to consider de-annexation of the Ranchos Del Rio additions in Valley Center.

More than a dozen homeowners told commissioners Wednesday that Valley Center had failed to maintain roads and provide other services since annexing the properties into the city. Fifty of 54 property owners in the Ranchos Del Rio and Ranchos Del Rio 2nd additions on West Street between 77th and 81st streets said service was lacking and petitioned the county to de-annex them, making them an unincorporated part of the county.

Ranchos Del Rio homeowner Stacy Lacy told commissioners “we’re not being treated as residents but revenue.”

Homeowner Mona Stein said she was outraged that it took a petition to “finally get some rock on my road. We shouldn’t have to file a petition to get roads maintained.”

Stein said the city had had a lot of chances to provide services to the annexed area.

“It’s not time for a third chance,” she said.

City Administrator Joel Pile said the residents never wanted to be annexed and were willing to “do or say anything” to push for de-annexation.

That didn’t sit well with residents. Sam Herr, who handled rebuttals on behalf of homeowners, said Pile “did everything but stand up there and call us liars.”

State law gives counties the responsibility of deciding whether cities and towns can annex land. It also gives counties the responsibility of deciding whether a town is providing services, such as roads and police protection, to the neighborhoods it has annexed. County commissioners ruled in October 2010 that Valley Center had not provided adequate services after it annexed the properties five years earlier. The 2010 ruling started the clock on de-annexation. State law says that after such a ruling, property owners can petition to be de-annexed 21/2 years later.

Commissioner Richard Ranzau suggested taking 30 days to allow for more public comment from both sides, saying he wanted a clearer picture of perceived problems in the area.

County commissioners will take written comments until July 5.