Valley Center has provided the services it said it would to an area it annexed five years ago near 93rd and Osage streets, Sedgwick County commissioners decided Wednesday.
But some commissioners also said that the city's service plan was weak to begin with, and one almost voted against the finding because of that.
The commissioners' 3-2 vote came after a post-annexation hearing at which they heard from residents and city leaders about whether Valley Center was providing promised services.
The only homeowners who came to the hearing complained about the grading of gravel roads and drainage issues. They said the roads were in better shape when Grant Township maintained them before Valley Center annexed the area.
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Valley Center City Administrator Joel Pile said the city was "pleased that the county found we provided the services we said we would provide." But he added that "certainly it's our intent to do our best to meet with the residents or entertain concerns that they have about the grading practices we use in that area."
Homeowners such as Dennis Allison and Dan Turley, who live on the 9110 block of North Osage Street, showed commissioners pictures of roads they described as "washboarded" with inadequate drainage and ditches.
"They do not grade the cul-de-sacs at all," Allison said.
He said that roads were not in the best condition before the city annexed the area five years ago but that "drainage problems have gotten worse."
County public works director David Spears said "washboarding is a typical trait of a gravel road."
Commissioner Jim Skelton shook his head at one point and told homeowners, "You showed me a dirt road that got rained on."
But later, Skelton expressed concern when commissioner Richard Ranzau, who represents Valley Center, called the service plan "shoddy" and "unprofessional."
Skelton asked Assistant County Counselor Robert Parnacott whether he would consider the service plan below par.
Parnacott said if he were giving a legal opinion on whether the service plan was adequate, he would say it was inadequate. But he stressed that was not what commissioners were deciding Wednesday.
The service plan already was in effect, he noted, and commissioners were to decide whether the city had met that plan.
Skelton said he was elected to uphold local and state law, and "I am unable to support something that falls short of state law," referring to the service plan.
Ultimately, Skelton voted that the city had met the conditions of the service plan.
Ranzau and commissioner Karl Peterjohn voted that Valley Center had not provided the services it said it would.
Commissioner Tim Norton said neither a judge nor a jury had ruled that the service plan did not meet state law.
"The issue is, have they followed the service plan?" Norton stressed.
Pile was not the city administrator when the service plan was created.
Valley's Center public works superintendent Richard Dunn said he had 30 years of experience but had some new employees grading roads. He said some — but not all — of the problems homeowners were complaining about might have been caused by Valley Center workers. But he said the city inherited some bad roads from the township.