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City Services, Community, Construction Projects (City), COVID-19, Infrastructure, Meetings, Recreation

Council Meeting Recap – 05/18/20

Posted by Bonnie Limbird

City Council rejected a proposal to mandate “cloth mask”-wearing in indoor public spaces, heard updates from the Chief of Police and Public Works Director, and reviewed 2021 proposed construction projects… Read on for more!

This is the Prairie Village City Council meeting recap for Monday, May 18, 2020. You can see the full agenda and board packet HERE.

Council members present at roll call: Herring, J. Nelson, Selders, R. Nelson, Poling, Limbird, Myers, Reimer, Runion, McFadden, Graves, and Gallagher.

Here are the highlights of this meeting:

Committee Reports

Parks & Recreation

Public Works has started their planting and mowing season, so please, when you’re out and about, take a moment to enjoy their work. Pool doors have been painted, pool replastering is finishing up, and the pool leak investigation is slated to occur late summer.

Tennis courts are open for use now. At Phase 2, youth sports will commence with a limit of 30 people, and at Phase 3, we will open to 90 people.

Arts Council

Art exhibits/shows through June have been definitively cancelled. July is TBA, and all in-person Chamber in the Chamber events have been cancelled through the 2020 calendar year.

Municipal Foundation

Reminder: the Prairie Village Foundation will take tax-deductible donations that you can earmark specifically for different program or funding opportunities in Prairie Village.

Mayor’s Report

  • The latest report from the Johnson County Health Director is that we’re seeing positive trends at Brighton Gardens. There’s still a long road ahead, but we now have reason to believe the worst there may be behind us.
  • Zip 66208, excluding Brighton, is the lowest infection rate in all of Johnson County.
  • Barbara Vernon, PV City Administrator from 1978 – 2008, passed away last week. Our condolences go to her husband, Walt. Memorial gifts suggested to Asbury United Methodist Church or to the Prairie Village Foundation.
  • TCBY will be rebranding as ‘Chill’, but will still be a frozen yogurt and ice cream shop.
  • Verbena at Meadowbrook Park opened, though at limited capacity per the Ad Astra Plan to ReOpen Kansas.

Staff Reports

Chief Schwartzkopf let us know that PVPD officers and detectives have been working non-stop, weekends and late hours on the Somerset Drive homicide of a couple of weeks ago. They’ve been aided in their efforts by detectives from Lenexa, Olathe, and Leawood, the Johnson County Crime Lab, and more. He didn’t have any specific details that he could share but stated that he was “pleased with where we are” and to stay tuned.

Keith Bredehoeft, Public Works Director, let us know that the Delmar/Fontana project is officially complete as is demolition on the Public Works buildings!

New Business

Consider 2021-2025 CARS Application

Public Works has recommended the following streets for the five-year CARS Program in application of 50% funding:

Senior Project Manager, Melissa Prenger, let us know that we usually get our first priority each year and sometimes our second.

Consider Construction Contract for the 2020 Residential Street Rehabilitation Program

Ward 3 streets will be getting some love later this year during the 2020 Residential Street Rehab Program! See the map below for the blue-highlighted streets and pgs. 57-62 of the council packet to get detailed info on the work you can expect to be done on these streets by November 15th, 2020.

This project award also includes $90,000 to remedy a sight triangle issue encountered by southbound drivers at Springfield turning onto 75th Street. While the construction on 75th Street did not change the location of the retaining wall (back of sidewalk), the geometric configuration on 75th Street itself has created a poor line of sight.

Consider Ordinance to Require the Wearing of Face Coverings or Masks During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency and Recovery

City Attorney, David Waters, walked Council and our online streaming viewers through the proposal and the limitations and considerations that were made in drafting it.

David also prefaced our discussion by letting us know the procedural requirements of this ordinance vote: it requires a simple majority of the entire council (not just those present, which was moot, since all members were present), but can be vetoed by the mayor, and to override the mayor’s veto it would take a 3/4 majority.

You can watch here starting at the 0:59:00 mark:

Embedded here is the summary of the draft proposal we were considering that David walked us through: 

COU2020-21-Staff-Summary-Pages-from-051820CouncilPacket

Here is the draft proposal itself:

COU2020-21-Ord.-2418-Pages-from-051820CouncilPacket

Here is Chief Schwartzkopf’s memo:

COU2020-21-Chief-Memo-Pages-from-051820CouncilPacket

I included the documents above because none of the discussion really touched too much on the contents of the proposal, other than a small amendment that was approved to take some onus off of business owners. The discussion really centered on more statistics on mask-wearing, the burden on businesses and those physically unable to wear masks, and confusion when passing between municipalities.

Here are my comments from the meeting:

As for me and my family, we wear masks in stores and when we can’t socially distance. Period. We believe in Science, but mostly we respect our friends, our neighbors, and our community enough to protect them from us in case we are asymptomatic carriers of the virus. It’s the right thing to do.

At the end of the day, though, this vote isn’t about whether masks are effective or not. 

This vote is about whether the City of PV should enact an ordinance for residents, shoppers, and visitors to wear masks. And I have just not been convinced by the documentation or arguments provided that this is the right thing for us to do, as a City, at this time. 

The residents of Ward 3, and the public-facing small business owners, who reached out are overwhelmingly against it, even if some for the wrong or misinformed reasons, but it’s still worth noting because it doesn’t bode well for successful implementation.

Right now the State of Kansas and Johnson County are only at the “Recommendation” level, and I look to them, with their Departments of Health and their public health experts, to decide if and when to elevate from recommendation to “Requirement”. 

Prairie Village’s time and resources would be better spent allocated to our Public Information Officer and COVID-19 educational efforts around the city.

This measure was rejected 5-7.

Councilmembers Herring, J. Nelson, Selders, Poling, and Reimer voted in favor.

Councilmembers R. Nelson, Myers, Runion, McFadden, Graves, Gallagher, and I voted in opposition.

Despite how this vote may have turned out, all councilmembers voted ‘Yes’ to an overall “Sense of Council” that we all, residents, business-owners, employees, and outside visitors, should be wearing a cloth face covering when in public spaces where we can’t properly socially distance. Unanimously.

So, lastly, a reminder from the State of Kansas: “We must continue to follow safe practices. Keep practicing social distancing at all times, wear a mask in public, and wash your hands often. And please, if you feel ill, stay home.”

Council Committee of the Whole

Public Works 2021 Budget Presentation

Melissa Prenger walked us through the 2020 planned street work and the current road conditions status (Excellent, Good, Fair, Poor).

ALL PV STREETS: Arterial, Collector, Residential

Keith Bredehoeft presented the 2021 CIP including parks, drains, streets, and buildings. You can see these in comparison to 2020 numbers starting on page 104 of the packet.

One thing that I noticed immediately was that Windsor Park restrooms seem to have been moved out another year for funding (into 2023). Councilmember Tucker Poling also noticed this, and he and I will both be reaching out to Public Works outside of the regular council meeting.

My daughter is well past the toddler stage, but I remember those years well, and visiting Windsor Park with a toddler who is potty-training or just newly trained, or any age kid really, is no fun with only a port-a-john on site. :/

Upcoming Events

  • May 25th – Memorial Day, City Offices Closed
  • June 1st – City Council Meeting, 6:00 p.m. on Zoom via Facebook Live which is accessible to ALL residents even if you don’t have a Facebook account.

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STAY WELL & enjoy the rest of the week. Wednesday is supposed to be chilly!

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