*This is the Prairie Village City Council recap for Monday, July 15th, 2019. You can see the full agenda and board packet HERE.
Council members present at roll call: J. Nelson, Schermoly, R. Nelson, Poling, Myers, Morehead, Runion, and McFadden.
Sorry, folks, this is another long one. Good info, though, on the Memorandum of Understanding between the City, the Y, and Johnson County Library for the Market Sustainability Study of a co-located campus serving all three entities.
Here are some highlights from this meeting:
Chief Schwartzkopf swore in our newest Prairie Village Police Officers who recently completed the Field Training Program. Thank you for serving Prairie Village!
- Officer Shelby Fairchild
- Officer Jessie Roane
- Officer Ted Rule
- Officer Karl Schwingen
Peggy Rogers addressed Council about 63rd St. and Hodges noting her concern that the current speed limit is not acceptable and that recent study by traffic engineers didn’t adequately consider issues affecting safety at that intersection. Mayor noted that coincidentally we are reviewing the 2018 Traffic Study tonight, and that he would be interested in a future meeting with Keith about this issue.
Councilwoman Courtney McFadden, Ward 5, said it was a fantastic event and shared thanks to Meghan Buum, PV Special Events Coordinator, and Theresa Stewart, VillageFest Committee chair, for all their hard work. The wrap-up meeting will be in about a month, so if you have any thoughts, please let Courtney know and she’ll report those to the committee.
Parks & Recreation
Councilwoman McFadden also reported on Parks & Rec and shared that Alley Porter, Assistant City Administrator, suggested and organized a mid-season Parks & Recreation meeting to review pool rules and regulations to see how well they are being enforced and if they are still relevant and serving their intent. It was also a good opportunity for pool patrons to come and give their thoughts. The pool serves 500-600 patrons every weekday and 1,000 every weekend day, so it’s amazing that we don’t get that many complaints. Three patrons came to speak to address issues. P&R will have a recap in September for the season overall, too.
- The State of the Senior Art Show by Arts Council was last Friday. No Councilors were in attendance that evening to comment on it, but heard it was well-attended. (I can tell you: I was there, and it WAS very well attended! This was the inaugural SOSA Show, and the first of many, I hope. This is a juried show, so cash prizes were awarded!)
- Thank you to James Carney for his major efforts with VillageFest.
- Mayor Mikkelson made the executive decision to stop buying bottled water for Council meetings. If anyone objects let him know, but considering Environmental Committee efforts to reduce single-use plastic among other sustainable initiatives, it seemed the right thing to do.
- He met with the Dean of the UMKC Engineering Department to share info about their respective organizations and brainstorm ideas for how to help each other. Reach out to him if you have any ideas.
- Tuesday night is a special session of the Planning Commission to discuss in-depth the proposed changes to Corinth Shops South aka Corinth Quarter by First Washington Realty as well as Village Vision 2.0 at 6:00 pm.
Keith Bredehoeft, Public Works Director, had the first meeting on the skate park with the consultant Monday. They will have a few more meetings and then make a robust effort to get community attendance at a community input meeting soon.
Public Works is working on a proposal to add a Belinder Avenue sidewalk from 75th Street to 73rd Street. By policy the City is only required to have one, but PW thinks it would be a good thing to do based on connections to other sidewalks and safety for school chilren. Melissa Prenger, Senior Project Manager, will bring the proposal to one of upcoming council meetings.
Keith addressed the resident comments above regarding 63rd and Hodges: There was a previous study along 63rd Street, but it stopped at Roe, so he will have Trans Systems review that section of 63rd and will get an update to Council. Councilwoman Nelson, Ward 1, thanked Keith and the resident for addressing the issue and would like to attend any future meetings about that.
Alley Porter, Assistant City Administrator, shared that pool passes are now 50% off.
Kansas Housing Assistance Program
Jamie Robichaud presented Resolution 2019-12 and cooperation agreement for the re-authorization of the Kansas Housing Assistance Program in Prairie Village which we have participated in since 1995. This program enables low and moderate income home buyers the ability to purchase homes with either reduced interest rates, down payment assistance, or both. This program is the only program of its type in the State of Kansas.
The city does not administer this program, but you can find a list of eligible lenders HERE.
Council voted unanimously to approve this re-authorization.
Memorandum of Understanding with the Y & JoCo Library
Keith Bredehoeft presented a Memorandum of Understanding with the Y and the Johnson County Library. Here is an excerpt from the Background for this MOU (links and emphasis added by me):
Currently the YMCA and the Johnson County Library have facilities in Prairie Village. Both have immediate infrastructure needs that could be solved by combining efforts with the City of Prairie Village to reconstruct new facilities in the proximity of Harmon Park. This possibility could ensure these facilities remain in Prairie Village and also allow for significantly improved services for the residents of Prairie Village.
The MOU between the three parties will require that a consultant be hired to perform the Market Sustainability Study. The study will survey residents within Prairie Village and surrounding cities within the service areas of the YMCA and the Library. The Market Sustainability Study is the first step and if all three parties determine the data obtained from the survey is positive only then will there be additional agreements for the Community Engagement Evaluation and the Project Site Design Study.
The City’s responsibility for the Market Sustainability Study (MSS) is $20,000.00 being funded from the Parks Unallocated fund. The Library and the non-profit Y are also responsible for $20,000.00 and $10,000.00 respectively, for a total cost of $50,000.00. The MSS would begin no later than September 30, 2019.
Wes Jordan, City Administrator, noted that this is a different process from the previous study in 2013, and is much more cautious and broken down into smaller steps.
The MSS is the first phase of 3 total phases, and the only phase being approved by the MOU at this time. Future phases may include, after agreement from all three parties: a Community Engagement Evaluation (CEE) and a Project Site Design Study (PSDS).
The Mayor noted that because of the unique opportunity at this time in 2019 and the two very motivated partners, we owe it to our residents to bring it forward to get their input. The Y brings a built-in membership base of about 1,700 patrons and that alone would distinguish us from other proposals in other communities seen of late. They also bring experience in running these types of facilities partnered with cities, even turning less-than-successful facilities around financially. Lastly, they bring the added value of the proximity of their land to Harmon Park. Another bonus unrelated to the Y: we can fill the void left in Roeland Park who recently voted not to replace the failing dome over their “indoor” pool (when JCPRD & Roeland Park ended their partnership for the running of that facility) by providing that winter option in PV for swimmers to continue to do their laps inside.
Regarding the MSS and possible future CEE, not just PV residents will be polled. Surrounding residents, based on the patrons of the PV pool, Y, and Corinth Library, will also be polled. Keith confirmed for Councilman Poling that it is feasible that data could be pulled out to show just PV residents for review by PV Council members.
A couple Council members requested that for future phases, should the City move forward, that Council have significant input on the wording of the questions for the CEE, and that we have clear estimated costs based on neighboring apples-to-apples facilities to show residents including member costs, associated tax increases, if any, etc.. They also want to be part of the consultant selection process. Council members also noted that several residents have approached them unsolicited to say that they’re excited that the city is looking at this again. When asked what they’re willing to pay, residents don’t have an answer to that, yet, and all definitely want more information first.
I personally did research on other area facility membership costs for families, and for the Y facilities (including Paul Henson, Cleaver, Parkville, etc.) the published* membership rate is $80.50-87.50 per month regardless of age of facility or amenities, and you can use any of the facilities in the region. Per their website: “All memberships include access to all 13 area locations and unlimited group exercise and water fitness classes.” See below for the chart I created based on the information I was able to find online. Homestead was mentioned in the meeting, so I included it here, but as you can see, it is more like apples and watermelons than apples and apples.
*The Y does offer a sliding scale for membership based on income. You just have to ask for more information on that when applying or inquiring.
|The Y |
|0||3.1 mi /|
|3.4 mi /|
|1.6 mi /|
|3 FREE||$40||$48 / hr||not|
Ultimately, Council voted unanimously to approve the MOU. The next step will be a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to select a consultant to conduct the MSS.
Council Committee of the Whole
2018 City-wide Traffic Study
Keith Bredehoeft introduced a consultant who presented the final 2018 City-wide Traffic Study. The previous study was done in 2006. The scope of the study included the following tasks:
- Task 1: Traffic Safety – Collected and analyzed crash data and made recommendations to consider for improvements.
- Task 2: Traffic Counts – Collected speed, volume, and truck traffic data at 72 locations throughout the City.
- Task 3: Traffic Signals – Evaluated all signals for conformance with the MUTCD (Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways), specifically looked at pedestrian walk times, and additional locations for flashing left turn yellow arrow.
- Task 4: Crosswalks – Inventoried and evaluated mid-block crosswalks for conformance with the MUTCD.
The study begins on page 44 of the packet. I’d encourage you to skim it to at least see the maps and data points for types of crashes, severity, locations, etc. like this:
Note that the larger the circle above the higher the number of crashes, and note how many of them are around Ward 3. So please be particularly cautious at ALL lighted intersections along 75th Street and at the intersection of 71st Street and Mission Road!
The report includes several interesting recommendations for improvements, both short- and long-term, for some key areas like:
- the busy offset intersection southeast of Hy-Vee,
- the Y-junction at 71st Street and Cherokee
- the Belinder Elementary crosswalk, and
- the St. Ann School crosswalk on Windsor
There was no action required by Council at this time.
Keith Bredehoeft presented the Enterprise Fleet Management lease program for City vehicles. They are currently looking to solve the following issues:
- 35% of the current light and medium duty fleet is over 10 years old.
- Older vehicles have higher fuel costs, maintenance costs, and tend to be unreliable.
- It would take almost 12 years to cycle out the entire fleet at current acquisition rates.
The City has done research of other local municipal and school fleets that operate with leases, and predicts that leasing light duty trucks and cars that do not have significant amounts of equipment added to them will save money over time and will also allow them to have new, more fuel efficient vehicles every three to five years.
Funds were already allocated to purchase three new vehicles this year, so those same funds will allow Public Works to lease six new vehicles instead. Council voted unanimously to approve the lease.
Residential Rental Properties
And finally, Jamie Robichaud presented options for City oversight of residential rental properties in Prairie Village to make sure they’re up to Code and reasonably habitable as was discussed at a previous City Council meeting this year.
The City currently requires all rental properties in the City to be licensed annually. All single-family rental properties also must pass an exterior inspection and be in compliance with the City’s property maintenance code. No interior inspections are currently conducted unless specifically requested by a tenant.
Jamie presented 4 options (see the packet), but based on the practices of neighboring municipalities and the restrictions due to State law, the City staff recommends maintaining the current inspection process, but improving education and resources for tenants and landlords. Additional education would include the following:
- Provide a brochure to landlords about property maintenance requirements when they apply for their rental license.
- Create a checklist for the code enforcement officers for both exterior and interior inspection items, and provide a blank copy of each checklist to landlords at the time of rental license application/renewal.
- Create a formal request form for tenants to request an interior inspection and make available on the City’s website.
- Mail notice to all rental properties on file once per year informing them of their tenant rights (Kansas Residential Landlord & Tenant Act) and a right to an inspection by the City.
- Provide more information on the City’s website regarding tenant rights and property maintenance expectations.
- Consider increasing the base rental license fee and late fee, charging a re-inspection fee for code violations that are found at the first exterior inspection, and clarifying the fine for not getting a rental license (which currently has conflicting information in the municipal code).
If I followed this correctly, Council voted to send this back for more information on staff time and other items before deciding what option to approve.
The City Council took the following actions:
- Approved regular City Council meeting minutes – July 1, 2019
- Approved an ordinance for the KU Kickoff at Corinth Square as a special event and authorizing the sale, consumption, and possession of alcoholic liquor and cereal malt beverages within the boundaries of a barricaded public areas of the event.
- Approved an ordinance for the Prairie Village Jazz Festival as a special event and authorizing the sale, consumption and possession of alcoholic liquor and cereal malt beverages within the boundaries of a barricaded public areas of the event.
- Approved the re-authorization of the Kansas Housing Assistance Program.
- Approved the MOU with Johnson County Library and the Y for a Market Sustainability Study (MSS).
- Approved the Enterprise Fleet lease program.
- July 2019 – Gallery Feature: State of the Seniors Art 2019 — Celebrate the artistic contributions of seniors in our region in the City’s inaugural juried show for senior artists age 60 and over!
- August 2019 – Gallery Featuring: Joseph Almendarize, Wanda Tyner, Carl D’Amico, Lisa Healy and Susan Kiefer
- August 5th – City Council Meeting
- August 9th – Artist Reception in the R.G. Endres Gallery
- September 7th – 10th Annual Prairie Village Jazz Festival
*These meeting recaps are indicative of how I will update residents twice monthly in my efforts to increase transparency and communication as your Ward 3 Councilwoman so you always know what’s happening at City Hall. I make an effort to pull together references from previous meetings, topics, and issues that are relevant in hopes of making some of the ongoing issues more clear.
Your friendly PV Ward 3 Council Candidate,