Housing is growing steadily in Winfield

Housing construction in Winfield has been strong in the past 10 years and is still moving at a good pace, Winfield City Manager Warren Porter said this week.

Through Sept. 19, 2007, permits for 16 homes and 20 apartment units had been issued by the city this year, Porter told the Winfield Rotary Club Wednesday. A total of 40 units were constructed last year.

“We’re going to be right there again this year,” Porter said.

Last year, 2006, was a record one for overall new construction here, Porter said. The total value of new construction in 2006 exceeded $30 million, including residential, commercial and industrial building.

Looking back, Porter compared the recent decade with the one ending in 1992.

The total number of residential units constructed in the city of Winfield between 1996 and 2006 was 446, Porter said. Only 276 units were constructed between 1982 and 1992. These figures are for building permits issued.

Each apartment or garden home is counted as a unit.

Currently several multi-family residential projects are under consideration, two of them heading toward construction, Porter said after his talk.

Cottonwood Court at U. S. 160 and Country Club Road will include 26 town homes in duplex units. Nathan French and Milton Konstantinides, both of Winfield, are the developers.

French praised the city for its cooperation. “The city has been supportive in the extreme,” French said Friday. He said he hoped to see work begin on utilities and a road “very soon.”

Rob and Becky Long of Winfield are the developers of County Club Villas, a 22-unit project planned just south of the entrance to the Winfield Country Club. Becky Long said they hoped to break ground before the end of the year.

A 40-unit apartment complex near Rubbermaid is also in the planning stages.

“It’s great to have local people doing this kind of development,” Porter said. He mentioned that Jeff Albright and Jeff Everhart, both of Winfield, were also working on a project, but gave no specifics. Albright said Friday it was too early to comment on the project.

Everhart said he thought prices of residential real estate in Winfield were holding steady.

Flood damage

As a result of floods this summer, the city of Winfield faces reconstruction costs somewhere between $5.8 and $6.8 million Porter said. The key is what the city decides to do about river bank erosion where a power line crosses the Walnut River.

“We didn’t escape the June floods as well as some might have thought,” Porter told the Rotarians.

Cleanup and repairs at the Winfield Fairground cost approximately $100,000, Porter said. Rebuilding the spillway at Winfield City Lake could cost as much as $1 million.

The ice storm of 2002 cost the city $2.5 million, Porter added.

He said the city was closely involved with FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Before the reconstruction of Winfield’s electric power distribution system is over, Porter said, FEMA will have paid to renew 30 percent of it.

Porter put Winfield near the bottom of a list of Kansas Cities when it came to sales tax rates. The 6.8 cent sales tax rate here is below most other cities of comparable size, except El Dorado, Porter said, which has the same rate.

However, Winfield’s overall tax burden is in the top 15 percent of Kansas cities, Porter estimated. This includes property taxes for Unified School District 465 at Winfield and Cowley College, he said.

Sales tax collections by the city of Winfield increased from 2005 to 2006, growing from $152 million in 2005 to $162 million in 2006. The Wal-Mart Super Center opened in Arkansas City during this period, Porter pointed out.

Surprisingly, he said, Winfield’s sales tax collections remained flat this summer after the Wal-Mart Super Center opened here. Sales tax collections in Winfield for June through August this year were $107,098, compared to $107,191 for the same period last year, Porter said. The Wal-Mart center here opened in early June.

By DAVE SEATON, Arkcity.net

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