Teen Council Introduction
Councilperson Piper Reimer introduced the Prairie Village Teen Council for the 2021-2022 academic year. Teen Council members are required to attend a minimum of 6 council meetings and 3 committee meetings. They will tour City facilities, and assist at the Mayor’s Tree Lighting and the PV Foundation Gingerbread House events. Their service will culminate with a presentation to Council on a topic relevant to the City of PV.
- Amalia Millard, Notre Dame de Sion – sophomore, softball, show choir, theater
- Michael Newbold, Shawnee Mission East – junior, Navy Jr. ROTC, trivia and robotics teams, and Academic World Quest
- Ayla Ozkan, Shawnee Mission East – junior, Ukulele club, Plus club, Freelancer school literary magazine, IB program
- Kate Winfield, Shawnee Mission East – junior, StuCo class rep, theater executive board, Freelancer, chamber choir
- Emma Jones, Whitefield Academy – senior, NHS, KC Pet Project volunteer
Welcome to Teen Council!!
Representative Jerry Stogsdill, who serves parts of Mission Hills, Prairie Village, OP and Leawood, gave us an update.
In 2021, the democrats in the legislature were able to fully fund public education despite opposition (sidebar: though we’re not where we need to be per the Gannon court case or rising costs to operate. It’s “adequate”, but not “equitable” per the ruling. Hopefully we’ll be there by 2022?) as well as thwart overreach by their republican counterparts into state and local Board of Education lanes of curriculum and graduation requirements.
Jerry and five other legislators were invited to the state Board of Education to hear the Kansas BoE legislative agenda and what they’d like to see legislators work on next year. This was the first time the state board had ever invited legislators to interact with them. They had a very honest, frank discussion. However, one republican Senator is worried about Critical Race Theory, and said that was the #1 issue that their constituents are concerned about allegedly (Stogs has had ZERO constituents contact him about CRT 🤦♀️.) Per that senator, republicans are already working on 4 bills banning CRT, and are also working on book banning (my words). *CRT is not taught in our K-12 schools. It is a college level course of study. This is a non-issue. If you want to learn more, watch this video from the League of Women Voters of Johnson County: Critical Race Theory: Acknowledging the Past, Reimagining the Future.
Jerry will be working on, among many other things, the creative arts budget in 2022. The creative arts industries contribute hundreds of millions if not billions to our state. We need to support them. Companies will not come to a cultural wasteland.
Lastly, Jerry invited all to the monthly town hall from 9-11am at Harmon Park on the 4th Saturday of every month. At those you’ll hear from Representatives Clayton, Ousley, Xu, and Stogsdill, KS Board of Education member Melanie Haas, and Senator Ethan Corson.
Mary Rimann (Rimann Liquors) and Erin Brown (of a bakery that I quit shopping at years ago) spoke together to urge Council to end the mandatory mask mandate citing concerns from a percentage of business owners for the success of their businesses and general decreasing trend in COVID-19 cases. Erin said, “Allow us to operate our businesses the way we choose.” She also requested a definition of metrics to remove the mandate. Mary said that their customers are highly intelligent and highly motivated. Citing metrics, she said residents are doing the right thing by getting vaccinated. Business owners are going to “do the right thing” was the general message from both speakers. More on “doing the right thing” from me below.
Arts Council – State of the Arts 2021 Winners Announced!!!
State of the Arts 2021 is online and the winners have been announced! See below for awards:
View the full show of EIGHTY beautiful and provocative artworks at www.artspv.org/sota-2021. See the eight award winners (sans the People’s Choice) IN PERSON at City Hall! Every pieces IS for sale!
Local Shawnee Mission East High School graduate, and daughter of Arts Council member Trudy Williams, Sydney Williams put together this short, fun video with our SotA 2021 juror, and former Arts Council member, Ada Koch, to tell you a bit more about her jurying process:
Parks & Rec Committee
Councilmember Poling reported that Parks & Rec met to catch up on the pool season and more. The pool season was a big success despite COVID-19 mitigation protocols. Staff did an amazing job creating that success. The choice to allow 15-year old lifeguards was a game changer – about 1/3 of the lifeguards were 15 in 2021. The pool had only a small decline in memberships, and the gate revenue was up! Congratulations to staff for bringing that project together in the face of a lot of obstacles.
The committee also talked about a new 5 year master plan for Parks. The committee toured all the PV parks in May of this year to see the progress that has been made toward completion of the last master plan. They also toured metro-wide inclusive playgrounds to see examples of what we’d like to see in PV. Members will be bringing forth notes and ideas to the next P&R committee meeting to start narrowing down what our next priorities should be.
Of note: there have been some concrete concerns with the new skate park. Public Works is aware of those issues and is already working with the contractor to get it made right.
Prairie Village Foundation
Councilmember Gallagher reported that the Foundation met last week (I serve on this committee) and voted to add some new disbursements: JoCo Utility Assistance, the Codes Enforcement Fund, Friends of JoCo Mental Health, and the Citizens Assistance Fund.
Two upcoming events are returning to PV. The Mayor’s Holiday Tree Lighting will be December 2nd at 6pm with some new activities; and the Gingerbread House Decorating Party will be December 5th* from 1:30-3 at Briarwood Elementary. Sign up here on November first. *Date and time updated 10.29.2021.
Police Pension Committee
Councilmember Runion reported that the police pension committee met and heard a presentation from UMB on returns on the plan. The gist was that the returns are, despite a bad September, 9.5%+ for 3, 5, and 10 years out.
Public Art in the Park with JCPRD at Meadowbrook Park Update
I (for Councilmember Ron Nelson) updated Council that voting/commenting* is now ready for the Meadowbrook Park sculpture. See HERE for more information on these options. *Public comment may have already closed, so I am currently trying to verify.
- COVID update
- As of just today, PV is no longer in the “high” transmission category; we are now in the “substantial” transmission category.
- 63.9% of JoCo residents are vaccinated
- 74+% of PV residents are vaccinated
- Hospitalizations are continuing their downward trend, as are deaths
- Vaccines are proven effective, even against the Delta variant.
- Booster shots are now becoming widely available for 65+ and anyone immunocompromised or other
- Third quarter financial report contains largely good news.
- 75% through the year with 82% of revenues collected
- expenditures are only at 65%
- expenditures to date compared to 2020 (which was a super lean year due to COVID), are only up 4.26%
- MARC has secured private funding for a regional housing data hub that will be accessible to cities like Prairie Village wanting to address housing challenges.
- Congratulations to:
- SME Girls Tennis team – 3rd year in a row won 6A championship
- Councilmember Ian Grave and wife, Amanda, gave birth to PV’s newest resident, Daphne Lorraine Graves!
- Upcoming retirements from City committees ho have given a tremendous
- Jim Whittier on the pension committee, 45 years
- Deb Nixon on the Tree Board
- Will be implementing another Diversity committee initiative when staff and council begin their DEI training next week.
- Shinju is a new sushi restaurant now open in the Village.
- Upcoming Event
- Next JoCo Charter Commission meeting, with public participation, will be October 27th at Olathe Embassy Suites. Please join if you have strong feelings on anything (including partisan vs. non-partisan elections at the county level). This may be the last public participation meeting.
Assistant City Administrators
Tim Schwartzkopf recognized Deanna Scott, our court administrator, who was awarded recently with the Outstanding Court Clerk for 2021.
Meghan Buum shared an update on the effort by Parks & Rec to initiate a no-smoking initiative for public parks. Coming soon you will start seeing signs in our parks, and information on our social media channels.
Chief Roberson shared that the City of Leawood changed a parking regulation on 93rd street just east of Mission due to CurÉ school drop-off and pickup issues. They unfortunately moved their problems over to the PV side (unknowingly). PVPD has worked with Leawood now to change the PV regulation in that area just for 30 mins each during the morning and afternoon times to curb the issue.
Fire Chief Steve Chick shared that CFD2 met with PVPD for coffee recently to award several PVPD officers for their instrumental and professional work during emergency calls.
PV Foundation funded their Back-to-School with a Firefighter in a modified form this year again.
CFD2 deployed a strike team to Louisiana to help with recovery from Hurricane Ida in the area that was devastated and where firefighters lost homes and all possessions but were still expected to work. So CFD2 worked with partners from Leawood, Lenexa, Olathe, and Wichita and provided service on contract for 15 days while those families were able to get their lives stabilized and get back to work.
CFD2 is now in the middle of a hiring process to be wrapped up in November, and they will hire more in 2022.
They will begin working on their strategic plan process for next 3-5 years soon.
Councilmember Herring thanked CFD2 and reminded Council of the invaluable role CFD2 plays at our schools, too, keeping our students and staff safe during a gas leak like occurred today at Shawnee Mission East. (Maybe too good; my sophomore was bummed school didn’t get cancelled. 😏)
City Council voted unanimously to ratify the appointment of Scott MacDonald as City Treasurer after a thorough and well-responded-to search process.
Conversion Therapy Ban
Council voted 11-1, with Councilwoman Sheila Myers as the sole nay vote, to enact a new ordinance banning conversion therapy of LGBTQ+ minors in Prairie Village. The ordinance approved this meeting has the same content approved by the Council Committee of the Whole on October 4th.
“Cities Race to Zero”
Council voted 12-0 to commit to this climate initiative with the added verbiage by Councilmember Dan Runion to “duly consider the cost, financial and thereof” (as we do on every initiative). Councilmember Poling noted that there is no intention that this commitment will put an additional cost burden on the City. Councilmember Reimer pointed out that there are significant costs to NOT making steps toward a sustainable future, and that costs should be recognized going both ways on this issue.
Councilmember Ian Graves also did an informal poll, to answer a question from the October 4th meeting, around the county with other councils, and PV may be in the lead on this initiative.
2022 Staff Compensation
Council voted 12-0 to approve adjusted PV staff salary ranges for 2022 payroll which includes a 1.8% adjustment and is already covered by the 2022 approved budget. Our salary consultant advised that the cost of living increase may require more of a 2.5% increase, but staff opted to present with the original 1.8% budgeted for knowing that the updated compensation study is coming up at the beginning of 2022 and they can make those adjustments for the 2023 budget if needed. Human Resources Director, Cindy Volanti, noted also that the PV benefits are top-level and a huge value to prospective employees. Turnover is already very low in PV. City Administrator Wes Jordan also clarified that this adjustment is separate from the merit increase pool.
Mask Mandate Review
Council voted 5-7 and rejected a motion to extend the mask mandate to November 7th to align with KCMO/JxCo. (I voted to extend it by that one week.) By lack of other action, the mask mandate in Prairie Village will expire October 31st.
–> The MASK MANDATE IS STILL IN PLACE THROUGH OCTOBER 31ST. <–
City staff reached out to JCDHE again, and they are in favor of a mask mandate, but didn’t give further input.
Mayor Mikkelson indicated he would exercise his veto power if Council voted to extend the mandate at this meeting (he ultimately didn’t need to), and if the mandate does lapse, PVPD will support and enforce trespassing rules for any business that wants to enforce mask wearing and has an issue with customers refusing to wear a mask.
Councilmember Ron Nelson also supports allowing the mandate to lapse, but warns we may have a surge in the winter. He said that public health and safety are not a matter of survey, majority rule, or what our shop keepers think we should do. It is a matter of health and safety and what we need to do to protect our residents.
dropping infection rates could lead to a “temptation to let up on masking which, as our history with COVID has shown, could lead to increased transmission and perhaps another surge.”https://marc2.org/covidhub/
I think it’s much too soon to drop the mask mandate. The data supports my thinking. As the MARC hub says, we’re going to see the “temptation to let up on masking which, as our history with COVID has shown, could lead to increased transmission and perhaps another surge.” I thanked Mary Rimann for coming forward and sharing her position, and also, as Councilmember McFadden pointed out, for her support of our PV community through events, schools, city committees, and more because it is so appreciated and not the norm amongst her peers. Her concerns carry additional weight in that way with me. I stated that I’m curious to see if PV shopkeepers really will “do the right thing” as the other speaker said and if they will “exhibit leadership” as Councilmember Terrence Gallagher hoped they would. I also shared that if we have a(nother!) surge, I will 100% vote for reinstituting the mask mandate again.
Ultimately, I didn’t move to extend the mandate for another full month though. We’ll see what happens.
Special Obligation Bonds
Council voted 12-0 to approve the above referenced Meadowbrook bonds for significant cost savings.
Of note: our TIF clock does NOT reset with this refinance. It started in 2016 and will still complete on time. Also, there is no change to the 2016 commercial TIF district with this refinancing.
Meadowbrook Development Agreement
Council voted 12-0 to amend the Meadowbrook Park development agreement. This revision essentially removed a lot of language to update it for 2021 and the development and bonding that has already occurred. It now acknowledges that many of the original provisions have already been completed.
New Stop Signs
Council voted 12-0 in Committee to make the stop signs at the intersection of 74th Street and Village Drive permanent after a traffic study by the City’s consultant. This will most likely be part of the consent agenda at the first meeting in November to make it official so Public Works can do the work.
So that’s it for last week. Tucker Poling, our other Ward 3 councilperson, attended this meeting in-person to represent us. Future meetings will be TBD.
Some things I’ve been up to:
- SIGNED UP FOR A MAIL-IN BALLOT for the NOVEMBER 2ND Election!!
- Join me by going to ksvotes.org, checking your registration, then clicking the “Apply for Advance Ballot” button as shown here (looks slightly different on mobile):
- Attended our last SME volleyball matches of the season. 😭
- Attended a Communities for All Ages seminar with MARC on how to make cities places where all ages can live and thrive.
- Helped our Senior Girl Scouts finish their Camp Tongawood Silver Award project. Now with solar-powered fairy lights, battery-powered puck lights, and a fresh coat of bright white paint, it’s not a scary destination anymore! With the use of new hand tools and even some power tools, the girls had many #girlboss moments.
- Experienced our first Homecoming dance excitement with our sophomore since there was no homecoming dance last year.
- Watched the PV City Council candidate forum hosted by Shawnee Mission Post. It was a doozy. If you live in Wards 1, 4, or 5, I personally recommend Cole Robinson, Dave Robinson, and Greg Shelton respectively as the prepared candidates with a critical eye to local PV issues and not national dog whistles or rally cries.
- Attended the PV Foundation meeting and disbursed funds to four new deserving entities as listed above in the committee report.
- Attended the FIRST annual Kansas Arts Councils Symposium, facilitated by the Arts Council of Johnson County and a planning committee of arts supporters across Kansas. I attended with two of our PV Arts Council members, Shelly Trewolla and Karin Jones, and ran into Kansas House Representative Jerry Stogsdill there, who is a huge advocate for the arts in Kansas. I also met many wonderful arts organizations, directors, staff members and more from across the state, such as Hays, Goodland, and Hoxie, Kansas! It was held at the beautiful JCAHC, and I can’t wait for the next one. 😁
[Nov 2nd Election References]
- I finally finished knocking doors and dropping literature in Precinct PV O3-03 to Get Out The Vote (GOTV) for SMSD school board, JCCC Trustees, WaterOne Board members, and PV City Council. Here are the folks who I personally, as your neighbor, recommend on your November 2nd ballot:
- SMSD Board of Education:
- Mary Sinclair, SMSD SME seat – 20+ year education researcher and advocate, incumbent
- Heather Ousley, SMSD At-large seat – public education activist for over a decade with children in SMSD and civil rights attorney, incumbent
- April Boyd-Noronha, SMSD #4 seat – educator, advisor on emerging trends of the future workforce (today’s students), vying for vacant seat
- JCCC Trustees:
- WaterOne Board:
- Visit Vote411.org for more information on all of these races and/or the ones specific to your precinct if you’re not in PV O3 with me!
- Go to KSVotes.org to request your mail-in ballot if you haven’t already and want to make voting as easy and convenient as possible.
- If you have any questions about the races, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. 😁
- SMSD Board of Education:
If you’re still concerned about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine, please read this article that includes how the vaccine was rolled out (seemingly) so quickly and this article on myths vs. facts, both from Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Please be well and have a great weekend.