Wichita water plant behind schedule amid scrutiny of mayor

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WICHITA, Kan. (AP) -- A new water plant planned for Wichita is behind schedule, delaying a City Council decision on keeping a nearly $524 million contract that has prompted an investigation of the mayor.

The Wichita Eagle reports the contract gave Wichita Water Partners until Oct. 4 to submit a cost estimate for a part of the plant it is designing. The council had planned to decide at the end of October whether the group could start construction.

But on Oct. 3, City Manager Robert Layton approved the group's request for a 75-day extension. The Dec. 18 deadline is after the Nov. 5 mayoral election.

Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett opened an investigation after The Eagle reported that Mayor Jeff Longwell steered the contract to the group and it includes friends of his.