National Native American Heritage Month proclamation
Mayor Mikkelson read the proclamation found on page 3 of the Council packet declaring November as National Native American Heritage Month in the City of Prairie Village, Kansas. This is a recognition with roots back to 1976 that gained congressional approval in August of 1990.
Reflection on former PV Mayor Monroe Taliaferro
Our current mayor, two former mayors, and our current city administrator all reflected on former Mayor Taliaferro and his service to our city over the last 3+ decades.
City staff presented the benefit renewal for 2022 which includes moving from UHC to Cigna after our consultant received multiple bids and the Cigna bid, with substantially similar benefits, saves the City about $36,000.
Staff checked with other municipalities in our region who have Cigna and received good feedback on their customer service. It’s worth noting also that we’ve had significant complaints from employees about our current provider, UHC.
This isn’t a decision that staff took lightly as it does affect employees’ health and healthcare services in a significant way, but they do feel, weighing all the factors, that this is a good balance of service, value, and fiscal responsibility.
Council approved the renewal 9-0.
Council unanimously approved two policies, one new and one revised, to have two separate investment policies for the Police Pension Plan and the City’s supplemental retirement plan for all employees.
The Environmental Committee heard a presentation from PCs for People about electronics recycling. A few committee members toured a local recycling facility and shared their findings with the rest of the committee. FYI – garden hoses are not recyclable! Still looking to maybe collaborate with Mission, KS and a couple of other NEJC communities for Earth Day 2022.
- COVID update
- PV is currently stable… still out of high category, in substantial
- 64.7% of JoCo residents are vaccinated
- 78.6% of PV residents (66208) 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.
- The JoCo Charter Commission meets again Nov. 8th at 5:30
- DEI training for PV City Council, staff, and interested committee members kicked off last week.
- Evergy will present before the end of 2021 about upcoming upgrades to our utility grid!!
- The Mayor’s Holiday Tree Lighting will be Dec. 2nd. This is a fundraiser for the PV Foundation, and the Mayor encourages you to give generously to help local Prairie Village citizens who need assistance.
- VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! – NOVEMBER 2ND!
The 2021 Holiday Volunteer Appreciation event is currently planned for December 11th at 7pm, and in light of COVID, the format may be different than in previous years, but those details will come soon.
I also asked about the Historic Trail Signage, and found out the information is housed under the About tab on our website and you can find it HERE. I’ll be digging into it soon myself to see how it turned out.
Chief Roberson let us know that Heather Mason, our co-responder, has moved up in her career and over to JxCo as a supervisor, so we are currently without a co-responder and hope to find a new candidate in the next couple of months.
In response to questions about staffing, Chief updated us that we have 41 of our allowed 46 sworn officers. Over the last year 9 officers have left the agency through retirement or leaving the profession altogether. We’re always in a hiring cycle, and already have a few trainees in the pipeline. During some of these lower staffing times some special programs have to be put on hiatus to cover patrolling, but hope those won’t be for long.
Deputy City Administrator
Jamie Robichaud shared that the Building Codes department will be moving November 18th – 19th to the new Public Works building and will be closed during those days. They will reopen the week of Thanksgiving.
Consider adoption of Ordinances 2459, 2460, and 2461 to clarify and clean up the nuisance, unsafe structure and abatement provisions in the municipal code
Consider approval of the hiring of part-time Crime Analyst
Consider property tax rebate program
There was a good discussion about what the intention of this program is, who it should serve, and how it should be facilitated. Council voted 8-1 for Option 1 to move this to City Council for a final vote at a future meeting.
So that’s it for last week. I didn’t realize that Tucker Poling, our other Ward 3 councilperson, wouldn’t be attending this meeting in-person to represent us again this week or else I would have been there. I’ll make sure I reach out again to him for the next meeting like I had been up until this week. I was trying not to be a pest… 😏 My preference is to stay remote for the meetings, but I also want to make sure Ward 3 is represented in person, so I’ll do better.
Some things I’ve been up to:
- Attended our second Racial Equity in Cities (REIC) workshop with UCS and the Kansas Leadership Council. I was definitely tested at this workshop. The conversations were deeper and more uncomfortable, but valuable and I learned that I do have the knowledge and vocabulary to argue that systemic racism DOES exist in our society, and I won’t be convinced otherwise by weak, deflective arguments.
- Had an awesome, looonnnngggg coffee with a friend and PV Diversity Committee member. 😜
- Attended the Senate District 7 Town Hall to hear from our elected officials: Corson, Stogsdill, Xu, Clayton, and Haas! They do these on the 4th Saturday of every month, so if you’re interested let me know and I’ll send you the info.
- Hosted our, sadly, last outdoor gathering of the year and then essentially closed the deck up for 2021 because it got so cold so fast. What happened to fall!?!? 🍁🍂🍁🍂
- Watched the New Frontiers Project for La Voz Del Pueblo: A Town Hall on Racial Representation in Local Elections panel.
- Watched the LWV JoCo October meeting: Critical Race Theory: Acknowledging the Past, Reimagining the Future to learn a bit more about what CRT is and what it most importantly is NOT.
- Attended the first part of our City’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion training with Sophic Solutions in the large group format. The next step is to meet again in smaller groups for deeper discussion. (This is different than the REIC workshop I’m also doing above.)
- Met with our LWV JoCo / GSKSMO “Voter Girl” team again for a program the two organizations are collaborating on for late January 2022. If you have Girl Scouts, be on the lookout to signup for this program, because it will fill up fast!
- Did I say previously that volleyball was over? Ha! SME volleyball is over. The 2021-22 club volleyball season kicked off this past weekend with an intra-club scrimmage at Roe Dome. It was a lot of fun to watch!!
- Took a much-needed nap on Saturday afternoon… 💤💤💤
[Nov 2nd Election References]
- Watch the PV City Council candidate forum hosted by Shawnee Mission Post if you haven’t already. 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.
- 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:
Please be an active citizen and VOTE!
Be well and have a great week.