City Council compensation
Mayor Mikkelson “virtually” presented council members, and himself, with our ceremonial one-dollar checks for our service. Laminated to prevent cashing. LOL.
Lisa Santa Maria
Mayor Mikkelson recognized Lisa Santa Maria, Finance Director, for her ten years of service to PV. As of her retirement this month, she leaves Prairie Village with a ten-year run of the rare Triple-A Bond Rating from Moodys, a well-funded police pension plan, the lowest debt to appraised value ratio of any Kansas first-class city, and excess reserves in line with best practices. She leaves us to hike the Appalachian Trail!
We had TEN resident speakers this week! You, too, can join City Council meetings to speak. (Reach out and I’ll tell you how.)
This week’s speakers joined the Zoom meeting to speak on the new Diversity committee, the Village Vision 2.0 Comprehensive Plan, and how to engage residents about discussions of race and welcoming diversity… and how NOT to engage residents.
I’m sad to admit that the public comments regarding VV 2.0 were split along clear racial lines. This unfortunate disconnect is part of the work we need to do in Prairie Village around moving away from our exclusive, racially-restrictive past.
Village Vision 2.0
I am proud to share, though, that the same unfortunate split of favorability toward the Village Vision 2.0 Comprehensive Plan did NOT exist amongst Ward 3 residents who reached out to me.
I’m telling myself that it helped that I wrote no less than 6 blog posts specifically on the VV 2.0 plan, and I kept residents who follow me informed of the discussions, work sessions, survey opportunities, and more throughout the process during the last year.
From Ward 3 I received questions and some reports of misinformation going around, but mostly I received great feedback, all of which I used to inform my “yay” vote to approve the plan.
The Planning Commission will also review the plan each year to make sure it’s being interpreted by developers and partners as we intended, and they will suggest modifications as necessary.
Parks & Recreation Committee Update
An altered pool season is in the works for 2021. We don’t know what that will look like, yet, but your understanding, cooperation, and support will be much appreciated by City staff who also very much want residents to have a pool season.
Arts Council Update
Arts Council hosted Mr. Stinky Feet on Facebook Live on January 18th, Martin Luther King Jr. Day for a children’s concert with the premiere of a brand new song inspired by Dr. King! We had over 100 log-ons with probably twice that in preschool and elementary age viewers!
Through the virtual Mayor’s Holiday Tree Lighting this year, #GivingTuesday and extra marketing efforts, and a VERY generous matching gift by Steve and Marianne Noll, the Prairie Village Foundation raised $22,915.00 in 2020! That money will go towards Shop with a Cop, families in need, and various other programs and organizations to help our residents right here in PV. Great job, Prairie Village!
New Alcohol Law
After the county-wide vote held in November 2020, drinking establishments in Johnson County are no longer required to have at least 30% of their sales come from food sales, so City Council voted to approve amendments to Ordinance 2432 to bring us into alignment with that as well as removing certain residency requirements for obtaining a license.
Harmon Park Inclusive Playground
City Council voted to move forward with a new site plan for the new inclusive* playground at Harmon Park that will allow for future expansion of the civic campus if the City chooses to move forward with a community center.
The design process for the actual playground will begin in 2022 and will include the community and many opportunities to inform the final design.
The new location adds more parking closer to both shelters, preserves disc golf and trees, and relocates the practice tennis courts. This site plan also doesn’t affect Tommy the Turtle, who has a robust fan club in PV!
*At an inclusive playground, children (and adults) of all abilities can interact with each other and do what everyone wants to do: PLAY!
Marijuana ordinance changes
City Council approved staff research time to look into removing municipal violations for marijuana possession from the Prairie Village ordinance and exempting out of the Uniform Public Offense Code regarding the same misdemeanor violations, OR modeling our ordinance after Lawrence, Kansas where the penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana is very minor, OR other options as may present themselves during the process.
71st Ter & Eaton Street stop signs
This intersection currently has stop signs for the North/Southbound traffic, but not the East/West causing confusion, accidents, and extreme homeowner frustration. Following a traffic study by Public Works, City Council approved adding stop signs going the East/West directions, too.
I should have asked how long it would take to get these installed, but I was too excited to get to vote for this since it’s been an issue for years and was a popular topic during my campaign. 😊
Council Policy 001
City Council approved amendments to Council Policy 001 to include the establishment of the Diversity Task Force as a permanent committee, minor administrative changes, and the addition of a volunteer code of conduct to address some issues that have come up over the years:
“CODE OF CONDUCT
Committee members are subject to the following ethical standards of conduct, which will be reviewed annually with committee members following new committee appointments.
- Members are bound to observe the highest standards of professionalism and to discharge faithfully the duties of their committee, regardless of personal consideration, recognizing that public interest must be their primary concern.
- The conduct in official affairs must be beyond reproach. Members are expected to promote positive interactions with fellow committee members, City staff, and the community. A member’s actions or statements should not discredit, embarrass, or reflect poorly on the City.
- No committee member shall engage in any business or transaction or shall have a financial or other personal interest which is incompatible with the proper discharge of duties.
- Members are encouraged to vote in any and all elections for which they are eligible; however, committees and members thereof should not use such committees or their individual memberships thereof to raise money, influence elections, or otherwise act as organized political organizations in their capacities as committees or committee members.
- As volunteers, members do not have enforcement authority and shall not get involved in enforcement actions that would otherwise be handled by a City department.
- Committees and members thereof shall not set up accounts, financial or otherwise, without prior committee or City approval and without coordination with City staff.”
So that’s it for this week. Some things I’m working on:
- Is PV a Community for All Ages?
- How are other local arts organizations operating? So far I’ve spoken with Kansas City Arts Coalition and Johnson County Arts Council, and I’m meeting with JCPRD Fine Arts next!
- Setting up Zoom coffees with city committee volunteer applicants!
- How do KCAHTA trail markings recognize (or ignore) our region’s Native American history?
- Ordering take-out from Va Bene to support one of our new local restaurants. (And anxiously awaiting our new Taco Republic because I’ve never eaten their food before!)
- Marking my calendar for our new Ward 3 Large Item Pick Up weekend (April 24th)!! Check HERE for your date if you’re not in Ward 3.
- UCS Housing Task Force (it was supposed to start on Jan. 20th, but was rescheduled to February, so we could focus on the Presidential Inauguration.) You can SIGN-UP, too!
- A plaque for the Homesteaders sculpture at Mission and Tomahawk roads
- Arts Council meeting minutes!
Take care and please wear your masks.