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Council Recap – 02/07/22

Posted by Bonnie Limbird


Council Service Recognition with presentation of $1 un-cashable check. 🤣
Black History Month Proclamation

WHEREAS, during Black History Month, we celebrate the many achievements and contributions made by African Americans to our economic, cultural, spiritual, and political development; and
WHEREAS, Black History Month evolved out of the establishment, in 1926, of Negro History Week by Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History; and
WHEREAS, the 2022 national theme for the observance is “Black Health and Wellness” and emphasizes how American healthcare has often underserved the African-American community as well as celebrates the legacy of Black contributors, scholars, and practitioners of Western medicine; and
WHEREAS, the observance of Black History Month calls our attention to the continued need to battle racism and build a society that lives up to its democratic ideals; and
WHEREAS, the City of Prairie Village continues to work toward becoming an inclusive community in which all citizens—past, present, and future—are respected and recognized for their contributions and potential contributions to our community, the state, the country, and the world; and,
WHEREAS, the City of Prairie Village will join with the nation in celebrating National Black History Month by honoring the essential contributions, sacrifices, and accomplishments of African Americans in our community, throughout our State, and our nation as part of American History.
Now, therefore, in recognition of African Americans – past and present – in our community, I, Eric Mikkelson, Mayor of the City of Prairie Village, Kansas do hereby proclaim February 2022 as Black History Month in the City of Prairie Village, Kansas, and call this observance to the attention of all our residents.

Committee Reports

Environmental Committee

Councilmember Piper Reimer, Environmental Committee Chairperson, presented consideration of approval of a mattress removal and recycling program with Sleepyhead Beds. As Commissioner Fast reminded us last meeting, our JoCo Landfill is going to be filled to capacity by 2043. This means we need to divert as many items as possible, particularly large bulky items. Based on this and more, the Environmental Committee voted to allocate their entire 2022 budget toward the Sleepyhead Beds mattress reclamation program.

Gayle Holmes, with Sleepyhead Beds, was in attendance at the meeting to answer Council questions. One question was regarding counting logistics (since we’re charged by mattress), and another was regarding scheduling prior to our annual bulky item pickup (this will be the week before).

City Council voted unanimously to bring this program to Prairie Village in April 2022! Watch the Village Voice for details.

Arts Council

Welcome to Abby Margariel, Educator/Curator for the Michael Klein Collection at B’nai Jehudah AND our newest Arts Council member! We’re looking forward to her joining us at our March meeting.

Our February artists’ reception at Meadowbrook Park Clubhouse was postponed due to snow and is rescheduled for February 16th at 6pm. Please join us!

The 2022 Art of Photography Call for Entries is now open!

UCS Drug & Alcoholism Council

Councilperson Reimer serves as the City of Prairie Village liaison for the Drug & Alcoholism Council, and she shared that they received an alarming report at their first meeting of 2022 on the addictive qualities of vaping and the risk it poses to our teenagers. If I can get my hands on that report, I will share it with you.

Diversity Committee

Councilmember Selders, Diversity Chairperson, reminded us that the MLK Jr. event has postponed to February 26th. Get more info HERE!

The committee also heard a presentation from Dr. John McKinney and Dr. Tyrone Bates from SMSD where they walked them through the DEI efforts in their school community.

The committee has a few things in the works for 2022. Planning for a BIPOC playdate and the first of several townhalls will both begin soon. Also watch for a new Facebook page specific to the Diversity Committee.

Inga also brought to the full Council’s attention the new REDLINED exhibit at the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center. It’s on my list of to-dos for this winter. Please check it out!

JazzFest Committee

Our new JazzFest Chairperson, Councilperson Dave Robinson, noted that planning meetings have begun! It’s going to happen for real in 2022. 🤞🤞 The committee will be attempting to reschedule the 2021 line-up and maybe add one more performer.

VillageFest Committee

VillageFest Chairperson, Councilperson Courtney McFadden, let us know that planning has also started for this 2022 IN-PERSON Independence Day event! Stay tuned!

Mayor’s report
  • The first City roll-out of COVID tests was successful. All tests were signed up for within 3 minutes. We have another roll-out coming soon. UPDATE: The City of Prairie Village has a limited supply of at-home COVID-19 test kits for residents. An order form for the free kits will be available on the City’s website at beginning at 11 a.m. February 10.
  • Congratulations to Councilperson Cole Robinson, Asst. City Administrator Tim Schwartzkopf, Director of Human Resources Cindy Volanti, and others who are joining the next class of the Leadership NEJC with the Northeast JoCo Chamber of Commerce.
  • The next Council meeting will be on a Tuesday, February 22nd due to the Monday holiday of President’s Day.

Staff reports

CFD2 Chief Steve Chick

Current COVID status: Just over 80% of staff are vaccinated, but we’ve still been challenged with about 48% of staff contracting COVID over the last 2 months. Fortunately, because of the high vaccination rate most of the cases have been minor. Fire stations are closed to the public right now, though, to maintain as much health safety as possible.

CFD2 hired 4 new firefighters including one new position that was added last year without increasing the mill levy. The positive impact of the new shift has already been evident. The current annual call load is over 2,000 calls – a 12% increase over the last four years – and the current response time averages 4 minutes 6 seconds.

Chief Chick closed out his update by commending James Carney and PV Public Works on their partnership with the CFD2 during snow events to make sure CFD2 is able to get to calls safely, and he also gave hearty thanks to Wes Jordan, City Administrator, for his partnership and information/data sharing as CFD2 grows and goes through structural changes internally.

Chief Roberson

Police Chief Byron Roberson participated in a law enforcement symposium panel for the GKC Chamber Centurions program to talk about recruitment, reducing violent crime, bridging communication gaps between officers and citizens. **I am a 2012 graduate of this 2-year program, and I thanked Chief for sharing his time and talents with this group, because I remember the public safety task force from my time in the program and it was one of the most memorable task forces of the program for me.

Chief introduced our new Mental Health Co-Responder, Amy Hennes. Amy shared that she’s been with JoCo Mental Health for about 5 years and she’s really familiar with crisis work. She’s really excited to be working Prairie Village and to get started. 😊

City Clerk

Adam Geffert gave an update on the tax rebate program. Through this program, we have helped 22 households, and we still have about $9,000 remaining to help more. See the link to the program below in this post. (The average rebate was $500.82 per household!)

Consider agreement with Witt O’Brien’s, LLC to provide consulting services to the City regarding use of American Rescue Plan Act funds

City Finance Director, Nickie Lee, presented this proposal to Council. Although this type of consulting services aren’t required to be approved by City Council, City staff felt it was important to be transparent and get the buy-in from us on this since the ARPA funds are going to be part of major discussions moving forward.

City Council voted unanimously to approve this agreement. The partnership with Witt O’Brien’s is simply a resource to have available as needed for staff when they have questions beyond what they are able to get answered from the federal and state government resources or the National League of Cities or League of Kansas Municipalities. There is no minimum spend, so there’s a chance we may not even need to use this agreement, but if we do, there is a spend cap in place. City staff are educating themselves daily on all of the issues, regulations, and news related to ARPA spending and are ready to start making plans for the City of Prairie Village to appropriately and efficiently allocate the funds.

Consider extending ordinance requiring the wearing of face coverings or masks during the COVID-19 public health emergency and recovery

Update from Dr. Sanmi Areola, Director of Johnson County Department of Health and Environment

We started with an update from Dr. Areola. Today, and for the past few days, the two main metrics that JCDHE looks at (incidence rate and positivity rate) have been dropping significantly. JoCo is currently at an incidence rate of 823/100,000 for past 7 days from a peak of 2,397/100,000 on January 10th. Positivity rate is at 18.8%, down from a peak of 31.6% in January. Despite the drop, these are still the highest numbers we’ve had prior to omicron (457/100000 and 14.3% were the highs prior to omicron). These numbers do not include home-based tests.

Dr. Areola is encouraged by the current direction. The pattern is similar to other parts of the world, so hopefully that trajectory continues. Hospital numbers are seeing improvement too – dropping cases and improvements in staffing – but the hospital CMOs also have made it clear that they’re still not at a place that they want to be. They are still having to use non-clinical staff and traveling resources to meet the patient demand.

These metric reductions are due to cities supporting the multi-layered solution of masking, vaccinations, and social distancing. We still have a distance to go. These steps we have taken are why we are seeing this trajectory, and it’s important for us to continue on a personal and community level to take all the steps needed to keep the virus down.

Tim Schwartzkopf, Assistant City Administrator

Tim shared that there have been no tickets issued by PVPD for violation of the ordinance, and they have received very few complaints overall about the ordinance.

Mayor Mikkelson

Mayor reminded us that when we put this ordinance in place in January, we did it in concert with several other municipalities. Roeland Park and Mission will also be reviewing theirs in the next few days. The 30 day extension option is fairly arbitrary; we could do more, or we could do less. It was suggested to review this at every meeting. I suggested that may be too often, as we do have to consider staff time and Dr. Areola’s time to come speak to us and put these packets together. I think it’s just as efficient to keep it at 30 days, knowing that we can just as easily vote to cancel it at ANY TIME whether the ordinance is officially up for review that week or not.

There was further discussion about the concern of mislabeled signage around town and getting the correct signage into those business owners’ hands and on their doors. There were different anecdotal observations about how the city is observing the mask requirement or how they’re not. Ultimately, Council voted unanimously to extend the ordinance to March 16th. It’s worth noting that that will be around Spring Break for SMSD, so there could well be a spike after folks return from their vacations. Please wear your masks on vacations and continue to follow other mitigation measures to stay healthy and not bring more virus back to PV. 😊

Consider construction contract for Taliaferro Park shelter and restroom improvements

Approved unanimously. Look forward to this construction in 2022 and to these new facilities by the end of the year! 🎉 And as Councilperson Wolf pointed out, this means we’re one year closer to having this similar work done in Windsor Park! 🎉🎉🎉

Agenda Packet for your reference

Some things you may have missed:

Covid-19 home test
Order your free COVID-19 Home Tests at this link:
Infographic for new Property Tax Rebate Program. Details at link.


So that’s it for last week.

Some things I’ve been up to:

  • Interviewed a potential new member for Arts Council. (She was officially appointed at this meeting. Yay!)
  • Attended the fourth of six REIC workshops with UCS. We had to go virtual unfortunately, but we made it work. I think the 5th is going to have to be virtual too. 😢
  • Served as a panelist for United WE during their Ready to Represent: Women’s Leadership Training Program series, specifically about their Appointments Project of which I am an alum. I was appointed by Governor Kelly in 2020 to the Kansas Board of Technical Professions through the Appointments Project. It’s a great resource! I definitely recommend it.
  • Attended the United WE rollout of their Status of Women in Kansas report.

Let me know if you have any questions. Be well and have a great week!


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