Arts Council, Budget, Community, COVID-19, Diversity, Environment, Events, Health, Marijuana, Ordinances, Policies, Policing, Racism, Recreation, Safety, Statuary, Vaccine

Council Recap – 7/6/21

Posted by Bonnie Limbird

Real Quick: The Trash Pick-up Schedule is unchanged this week since the holiday was on a Sunday. So if your trash day is typically Wednesdays like mine, don’t forget to put out your bins tonight or first thing in the morning! 😁

Committee Reports

VillageFest Committee

Courtney McFadden reported on the VillageFest To Go 2021, another fantastic success, and thanked the many volunteers and City staff that contributed to the planning and the day of, especially Public Works and Meghan Buum, Assistant City Administrator.

Statuary Committee

The Statuary Committee approved for recommendation to City Council, with the guidance of Meghan Buum and Paul Benson, our outdoor conservationist, the expense of new cold weather covers for our insured statuary. These covers consist of a metal box frame and all-weather fabric covers. The frames should last forever, and the covers themselves should last a couple of decades at least. This is an investment that will protect our outdoor statuary for years to come.

Arts Council

As of the approval of the consent agenda at this meeting, the PV Arts Council now has a new member: Trudy Williams! Meet all of our current PVAC members, including Trudy, HERE.

Mayor’s report
  • COVID update
    • 49.2% of JoCo resident 12+ are fully vaxed; in PV it’s ~53%
    • % positives have been inching up slightly
    • There is a growing concern for the Delta variant, the Delta+ variant, and now the Lambda variant, at least one of which is already present in JoCo.
    • Most hospitalizations ARE of UNvaccinated people.
    • Vaccinations are easily accessible.

Staff Reports

Chief Roberson

The PVPD is currently ramping up for next Citizens Police Academy beginning September 1st. This is an excellent program, that I highly recommend. Apply HERE. The program runs from September through November.

PVPD officers were at Coffee with a Cop sponsored and hosted by Hattie’s Coffee in Corinth Square last week, and they enjoyed participating in the VillageFest ToGo 2021 on Independence Day passing out lots of goodies.

Wes Jordan, City Administrator

Wes’s topics for future Council meetings

  • UCS Housing Study and tool kit presentation – 7/19
  • Climate Action KC – 8/2, in person or moved later
Keith Bredehoeft, Director of Public Works

Keith shared a request from a resident for an additional crosswalk on Roe near McCrum Park. Public Works (PVPW) reviewed this previously and deemed it not necessary, but since that time, PVPW has been utilizing pedestrian beacons across the City, and found that this would be a good application. PVPW will move forward with adding this.

Fireworks Usage in PV

Councilmember Jori Nelson brought up the topic of an overabundance of fireworks usage in PV during the holiday weekend when we do have an ordinance prohibiting this. Chief confirmed that they also received about a dozen calls, to which they responded to all and made contact with those using the fireworks with a warning. No calls were repeated for second contacts and citations. His assessment was that probably a lot more people were blowing off steam this year after a year+ of COVID isolation, and a zero-tolerance policy is a very hard tact to take and often creates unintended consequences.

Councilmember Graves asked a question about our specific fireworks ordinance and why ours is so broad and excludes so many things, including sparklers. Wes Jordan gave historical background of 33-ish years: back in the day, PV had a lot of cedar/wood-type roofs. Since those early days, PV has seen a shift to more non-wood roofs, and he has been in touch with Chief Chick at CFD2 about his recommendations for fireworks. This ordinance, like many others, are somewhat voluntary to adhere to when we only have a certain size of police force to enforce. Councilmember Poling stated that maybe we should look at allowing some smaller fireworks. Mayor Mikkelson joked (but not really) that it looks like we have a future agenda topic soon. 😊

Powers and Limitations of the City as to Regulation of Marijuana

David Waters, City Attorney, did a deeper analysis of the powers and limitations of the City as to regulation of marijuana. He and his team reviewed model policy language in the cities of Columbia, MO, Lawrence, KS, and Wichita, KS, and also a Kansas Supreme Court ruling pertaining to the Wichita, KS policy. The city attorney’s role is simply to guide the Council on what is legal, not legal, and/or in the City’s purview of “home rule”.

Honestly, I can’t summarize the memo. It’s 28 pages long! Here’s David’s attempt at a summary from the end of his memo:

The following bullet points attempt to summarize the matters set forth above, to aid in guiding the City’s policy discussions:

• The City of Prairie Village cannot legalize the possession of marijuana within the City. Marijuana is illegal under both state and Federal law, and the City does not have home rule authority to authorize what the legislature has forbidden. We agree with the Kansas Attorney General’s Opinion No. 2015-4 on this point.

• We agree with City staff’s analysis that the City’s home rule powers likely do allow Prairie Village to enact an ordinance similar to the “Lawrence Model”. That model would create a “presumption” or policy that penalties (in municipal court) lower than those established by statute should be provided, but would not directly conflict
with state statute. We agree with City staff that this model presents several practical issues that the Governing Body should consider.

• We further agree that the City likely could—under its home rule authority—remove marijuana possession from the Uniform Public Offense Code, as adopted by the City. That would not make marijuana legal in Prairie Village, but would result in violations being prosecuted in district court. City staff has offered problems that could arise in district court vs. municipal court, including the lack of flexibility as to handling of cases.

• In considering the City of Columbia, Missouri, ordinance, there are similarities between it and what—after an adverse Attorney General opinion and litigation that reached the Kansas Supreme Court—the City of Wichita, Kansas, ultimately enacted. In our opinion, the City of Prairie Village likely does have home rule authority to enact a “policy” ordinance similar to that of Wichita. However, to the extent the City attempts to legally remove the discretionary authority to make arrests or to refer matters to state authorities for prosecution, we believe that would fall outside of the City’s home rule powers. In addition, there are several practical concerns as to whether a “policy” would constitute a “de facto” prohibition on police authority. To the extent Columbia, Missouri’s ordinance operates as a legal prohibition and a fixed standard for not-to-exceed fine amounts, and does not act as mere “policy”, we believe adoption by the City of such an ordinance would also be beyond the City’s home rule powers.

• The City may have some ability to provide guidelines to the City Prosecutor as to the exercise of discretion in fixing diversion fees. While the City should respect the concepts of prosecutorial discretion and separation of powers, current Kansas case law suggests that the City does have some room in this area in which it may work. We would defer to City staff and the City Prosecutor as to further practical issues that may arise should the City Council make enactments in this area.

Lathrop GPM, June 7, 2021

Councilmembers Poling, Graves, Selders, and more all spoke on this issue. One of the biggest, maybe THE biggest, concern if PV were to remove ourselves from the Uniform Public Offence Code is the violations then being sent to the County where there is much less flexibility and where the repercussions could be steeper.

From the staff perspective, Chief Roberson fears these model policies severely limit an officer’s discretion. He definitively stated that, in his opinion, this will not make our city safer. It will make it more attractive to drug users/offenders.

After much discussion, no action was taken, but all were appreciative of the work done by David and his team at Lathrop GPM and much better informed by the end of the meeting. Councilmember Selders will be working with the Diversity Committee to draft a proclamation to bring to Council at a later date.

Miscellaneous

  • Council approved the following:
    • Resolution 2021-12 formalizing the City’s intent to exceed the revenue neutral rate and establishing the date and time of a public hearing:
    • New and revised employee handbook policies to include paid parental leave, expanded military leave, and designation of Juneteenth and Christmas Eve as City holidays

Agenda Packet for your reference

Closing

So that’s it for last week. Some things I’ve been up to:

  • Met with the Statuary Committee and made recommendations for protecting our insured public statuary in Prairie Village.
  • Visited a Native Garden Tour right here in Ward 3 hosted by our neighbors Sarah and Jayme on 71st Terrace.
  • Learning about the KCAIC Touring Roster as a possibility for future PV Arts Council performances.
  • Writing postcards Every. Single. Day. to my teen at camp so I don’t get in trouble like I did in 2019:
“even the dragon is disappointed”

Take care and get vaccinated, so we don’t end up back in masks for the holidays!

Related Post

Leave A Comment