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Arts Council, Budget, Construction Projects (City), COVID-19, Informational, National Issues, Recreation

Council Meeting Recap – 10/05/20

Posted by Bonnie Limbird

City Council discussed Village Vision 2.0, safety protections for Council Chambers, resident communication policy, and more. Read on for details.

This is the Prairie Village City Council meeting recap for Monday, October 5, 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, Reimer, Runion, Graves, and Gallagher.

Here are the highlights of this meeting:

Committee Reports

Drug & Alcohol Council of JoCo

Piper

Councilwoman Reimer represents Prairie Village on this Council. She told us that they are in the interview phase of the grant review process to determine allocation for 2021 calendar year. As determined by the state, these funds must be used for non-profit programs whose principal purpose is alcohol and drug prevention and education. Twelve groups have submitted applications and decisions will be announced in early November.

Arts Council

I shared that the Arts Council call for entries to the annual State of the Arts juried show is open HERE, and a new Arts Council MEMBER/Alumni Show is also now available for viewing in the R.G. Endres Gallery of City Hall. You can find more about these on our social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Diversity Task Force

Councilmember Selders represents Council on this Task Force, along with Mr. Poling, and she updated us on the topics that were discussed including the restrictive covenants in many of our HOA deeds, partnering with libraries for a diverse literature initiative for children and teenagers, and exploring ways to hear more voices, in an effort to get feedback from residents. Mayor Mikkelson added that the video recording of the meeting is online now, and the next meeting is coming soon, date TBD.

Environmental Committee

Councilmember Nelson chairs the Environmental Committee, and she let Council know that PV will be getting a 3rd electric vehicle charging station through a 2020 budget allocation. The environmental committee will be considering the location for that newest station at their next meeting. They will also be hearing a presentation from Keith Bredehoeft, Public Works Director, on the chemicals used on vegetation in our Prairie Village parks.

Mayor’s Report

  • We’re still in the grips of this COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Current standings:
    • Numbers are STILL going in the wrong direction based on JCDHE: our 14-day moving average for new cases is 11.3%. (as of 10/5 – beware looking at the 14-day average now, as JCDHE has changed their calculation method and it APPEARS to have fallen sharply – it has not.)
    • New cases per day have gone UP to about 103 per day.
    • New hospitalizations are UP to 1.3 per day.
    • SO, AS ALWAYS, KEEP FOLLOWING THE GUIDELINES
      • wear masks
      • wash hands
      • socially distance
      • stay home when you’re not feeling well
    • **Also, Schedule a COVID-19 test!!
      • Those who live or work in Johnson County, KS can schedule a free COVID-19 test at the Department of Health and Environment’s Olathe location.
      • See below for a video for Dr. LeMaster about the differences between COVID-19 and the flu.
  • The Diversity Task Force’s first meeting was September 22nd. See the link in the committee update above for the video to watch on your own schedule.
  • The Village Vision 2.0 council work session made it clear that we need to have more work sessions. See below for the proposed new timeline.
  • Mayor attended a Climate Action KC meeting and they are working on the final metro-wide climate plan to publish in November or December.
  • MARC will be hosting a First Suburbs Coalition meeting at 8:30 am on October 16th. They will be presenting a report from the Communities for All Ages committee about remodeling ideas to encourage investment in the existing housing stock.
  • MARC is also hosting a crisis leadership/active threat training for elected officials on Monday, October 12th from 2:30 to 4:00.
  • Mayor continues to have discussions with local developers who have reached out about housing options in Prairie Village.
  • Va Bene Italian Eatery is scheduled to open in the former Urban Table space in late November.

** My add.

Staff Reports

Wes Jordan, City Administrator, opened a discussion regarding the possible installation of plexiglass dividers in between seats on the Chambers’ dais before the JoCo allocation of CAREs funding expires in December.

There was a mixed bag of opinions on this, but no one really thought the solution – less than 4 feet per person – was ideal, and concurred that masks would probably still have to be worn.

Ultimately, because we didn’t believe this solution would necessarily work for all uses of the chamber (Planning Commission, Municipal Court), nor would it be a good long-term solution for the dais, Council voted to NOT install the plexiglass at this time. Also, it doesn’t even address the over-crowding of the gallery with defendants on municipal court dates (150-200 defendants per session).

FYI: No City Council or Planning Commission meetings OR Municipal Court hearings are taking place in person in chambers at this time.

Jamie Robichaud, Deputy City Administrator, gave us an updated timeline for finalizing Village Vision 2.0 which includes 3 more City Council work sessions:

  • Council Work Sessions
    • Monday, October 26 from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
    • November 9 from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
    • November 30 from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
  • Public Meeting
    • January 5th, regular City Council meeting
  • City Council Adoption
    • January 19th, regular City Council meeting

The City will send out the agenda and supporting documents for review about a week in advance of the meeting. If you’d like to be notified when the packet is available, sign up for eNews.

My understanding is that some residents didn’t feel like they had enough opportunity for input on the process, which has been ongoing since 2018. There were two extensively-advertised community meetings at Meadowbrook Park in 2019 as well as an online survey and a public hearing via Zoom in 2020. The City will have to pay our contracted City Planner to extend their scope and they’re not hopeful that we’ll get much more participation than we already received, but they defer to Council and if this is what Council wants to happen, then they will facilitate it. Which is what is happening.

So. If you want your voice heard, YOU MUST RESPOND TO SURVEY REQUESTS AND ATTEND COMMUNITY MEETINGS ONLINE OR OTHERWISE.

City Council doesn’t know yet how much this will cost. More info to follow, I suppose.

New Business

Consider 2021 Fee Schedule (licenses, permits, etc.)

Council voted unanimously to approve the new comprehensive fee schedule that City Clerk Adam Geffert and his staff pulled together. We will review these annually.

Consideration of 2021 renewals of City’s health, dental, and vision insurance providers, as recommended by City staff

Council voted unanimously to approve the 2021 renewals which included negotiated rates below our 2021 budget costs.

Consider approval of proposal to complete pool slide repairs

Council voted unanimously to approve the general maintenance and repair of the pool slides.

Council Committee of the Whole

Approve a policy regarding the distribution of written public comment to the governing body or other city committees

I can’t even begin to summarize this conversation. What I understood to be a simple codification of an internal staff process already in place became a long, confusing, and belabored discussion. I thought I had something to add to the conversation to make it more clear, but by the time it was my turn, I was beyond words. See me at 2:09:10 of the video. 🤦

IT WAS AN HOUR-LONG DISCUSSION, and I just want to extend my personal apologies to city staff for that. A lot of these questions could have been answered by reaching out to staff beforehand. We’ve had the packet since the Thursday before the meeting. We got far too bogged down in the language of the proposal, the process in which it was brought forth (ironically), and a bit of posturing. The INTENT of the proposal was NOT to shut down resident lines of communication. Only to make it clear AND to keep us in line with KOMA regulations.

While I understand language is just as important as intent in government (so that the rogue few don’t find a loophole and exploit it), I really don’t think this was the issue to belabor. IMHO.

That’s all for now, folks.
Thanks for hanging in with me!
I hope you found this engaging.

Just a Couple Reminders:

Residents and visitors are STILL required to wear masks or cloth face coverings in Prairie Village and ALL of Johnson County as well as most of Kansas and the KC Metro on the Missouri side.

Got Symptoms? Get Tested!

If you have coronavirus symptoms, such as a fever, cough, or shortness of breath, you need to get tested. If you’ve been in close contact with someone who has the virus, you need to get tested — even if you don’t have symptoms. Click the image above for more info.

Joseph LeMaster, MD, discusses the differences between the flu and COVID-19

Upcoming Events

  • October 6th – Planning Commission Meeting, 7:00 p.m
  • October 7th – Arts Council Meeting via Zoom, 5:30 p.m.
  • October 14th – Parks & Recreation Meeting, 6:30 p.m.
  • October 19th – City Council Meeting via Zoom, 6:00 p.m.

STAY WELL & enjoy the week!

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