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Council Recap – 04/04/22

Posted by Bonnie Limbird

Presentations

Introduction of “Blitz” the K-9

Officer Ben Overesch introduced us to PVPD’s first “official” K-9 dog, Blitz, who comes to us from Holland! One work shift per week for Officer Overesch and Blitz is dedicated to training alongside Lenexa, Shawnee, Edwardsville, and many more departments with K-9 units in our region. While Blitz certainly looks pet-able, we’re not meant to pet him; he is primarily a tool for the department to help keep our community safe. He can help find missing or endangered residents, drugs, and even just missing keys! 😊

He’s already been hard at work assisting other municipalities as well as PV.

SevenDays proclamation

Mayor read the proclamation as found in the Council Packet, and we heard from SevenDays Board Member Sridar Harohalli.

The 2022 events begin Wednesday, April 13th with a Kindness Breakfast and conclude with a walk on April 24th at the WWI Memorial. Please visit their website to register for the walk and learn more about the organization.

Teen Council presentations

Our Teen Council members are tasked with researching a topic and presenting to the full City Council at the commencement of their service. Tonight was their presentation night, and here are the topics on which they presented:

  • ‘Tune In Prairie Village’ (a very well thought out hypothetical event): Kate Whitefield (SME) and Amalia Millard (NDdS). The mission of the event would be to show all the ways that music can be accessible to all! Any net proceeds would benefit the PV Arts Council!
  • My Resource Connection: Emma Jones (Whitefield Acad.) and Ayla Ozkan (SME) introduced Council and attendees to this online jocogov.org resource.
  • Why Road Verges: Michael Newbold (SME). Road Verges aka “Tree Lawns” or the strips of grass along the street that create a buffer between vehicles and pedestrians. PV has these, but they’re inconsistent and often non-contiguous. Some are only a hands-width wide (a good distance is about four to eight feet wide). *PV Public Works uses different nomenclature for these “road verges”: i.e. simply “grass strip’ or “sidewalk buffer”.
Resolution in support of Ukrainian city leaders

Mayor read the resolution as found in the Council Packet, and Council unanimously voted it into adoption.

Committee Reports

Environmental Committee

Ms. Reimer shared that the environmental committee voted to ask staff if PV could be the next city to participate in the JCDHE Recycle Right program, and staff did approve that request. The program uses County resources to come into the municipality to help improve the quality of the items that are being recycled in the curbside bins on a weekly basis, they then provide a super quick assessment of their findings, and the City reports those findings back to the residents. I can’t wait to participate in this!

The committee is also hoping to bring information to Council about electronics recycling soon.

Diversity Committee

Ms. Selders shared that the Diversity Committee’s first panel event was held Sunday and there were about 100 attendees. A recording of the event is now available HERE.

Arts Council

I shared that the Arts Council’s sponsored First Place award for Literature at the Arts Council of Johnson County’s Shooting Stars Gala yesterday at the Nerman Museum at JCCC was awarded to Rachael Mallozzi of DeSoto High School.

Congratulations also go to Shawnee Mission East seniors Maya Flynn and Sasha Malik for winning First Place awards in the categories of 3D Visual Arts and Photography respectively.

You can watch the Shooting Stars Gala HERE if you’d like to see these amazing high school artists!

We also hung a new show at the Meadowbrook Park Gallery – a regional photography invitational. You can visit that until June 24th.

Meadowbrook Park Gallery

Art Walk 2022 kicks off on Saturday, April 9th at 9:00 am. Join us for coffee and donuts!

The full Art of Photography 2022 competitive exhibition will begin at R.G. Endres Gallery at City Hall on Monday, May 9th, so watch for that, and catch the current show while you can! Mark your calendar for the awards reception on Friday, March 13th.

Ad Hoc Civic Center Committee

Mr. Graves gave an update on the first meeting for this group. Read my recap HERE.

Additional info that I shared with another resident this week: “As you know, we are taking a couple steps back in the process we’d already begun pre-pandemic to make sure that our survey data from 2019 is still valid. We are considering re-doing the survey to make sure that Prairie Village residents still have an appetite for even a discussion, let alone a programming exercise.

“If we get confirmation that residents still want to have the discussion, then we will have to get a much better idea of the scope of what this type of project will be with the services and amenities PV residents want and expect before we can put pricing to it.

“Yes, funding opportunities were apparently discussed in the previous ad hoc committee (I wasn’t on that and don’t know the details), and yes, the committee was given a very high-level overview of current and future financing capabilities at our first meeting last month with our new committee members, but no actual plans have been even discussed. We’re not there yet.  

“We’re about to lose a ton of services in our community that our residents have been using for decades and that have grown out of the pandemic, particularly our seniors, our youth, and our lower-income families. We have to determine which of those are instrumental to the success and vitality of our community and which are not.”

JazzFest Committee

Mr. Dave Robinson gave an update on the 2022 JazzFest event. They hope to have all acts under contract soon, and they are working with both the Diversity and the Arts Council committees to include them in the day.

Mayor’s report
  • The Certificate of Excellence has been awarded to PV again from GFOA which is based on finance transparency above and beyond the minimum requirements.
  • Decision Packages for the 2023 budget are due from Council Members soon!
  • There is a property tax relief mill reduction decision package that is being signed onto by several committee members (including me).
  • The CDC still has JoCo in the low transmission category.
  • Many staff and council members attended BOCC Chairman Eilert’s final annual address to the County.
  • Keep the PV Foundation in mind for your charitable giving. All dollars stay in, or around, PV.
  • As of last week, there is Buck O’Neil commemorative poster, designed by Phil “Sike Style” Shafer, touring local Hy-Vees to celebrate Mr. O’Neil’s induction into the MLB Hall of Fame this summer. Pick up your Buck O’Neil swag (t-shirts and more) at our local Hy-Vee!
  • Clark Enersen Partners won the locally prestigious Capstone Award for sustainability for the PV Public Works LEED Platinum-pending building.
  • The UCS Human Services Fund is putting on a summit on “civility”, particularly in political discourse, with workshops and training for how we can engage with others in America in a way that informs and connects rather than divides. USC is partnering with American Public Square on this summit, and it will be June 14th in the morning.
  • The MARC First Suburbs Coalition will have their next meeting April 15th at 8am, co-chaired by Councilmember Limbird (me! 😎)
  • Climate Action KC Climate Summit 2022 is at JCCC Saturday, April 9th at 10am and going most of the day. But go to the Art Walk first! 😜
  • Fox News is planning on doing an hour-long segment on Prairie Village later in the summer. Watch for more info.

Staff reports

City Administrator

Wes Jordan shared that the annual audit wrapped up last week, and preliminarily everything is looking great thanks to Finance Director, Nickie Lee, and staff.

Our Chambers projectors may be on their last legs, so staff will be looking into a way to fund replacement of those soon to make viewing easier.

The budget line-by-line review with staff will begin soon. Council members who would like to be a fly-on-the-wall during those reviews are welcome to get the department schedule from Nickie.

We have a new pool repair that needs to be made before this pool season can begin, and Keith Bredehoeft, Public Works Director, will report back after the patches are made.

Over the weekend, PV received over two pickup trucks worth of wheelchairs and walkers to donate to Dolyna, Ukraine. Wes is also working with the mayor of Dolyna to help him get on a future agenda to speak to our Council soon.

Chief of Police

The Police Academy graduation is coming soon. Miranda Scott is our newest officer and she will be graduating April 29th at BVSW High School. It’s truly a great event to attend, and all Council members are welcome. Officer Scott will begin work with PVPD in the beginning of May.

Mr. Gallagher asked how PVPD will interface with the soon-to-be Hy-Vee armed security officers. Chief Roberson shared that he believes Hy-Vee’s goal is to hire highly qualified retired police officers. They will not have police powers, but they will be licensed through the city, and PVPD will work with them quite closely on communication and more.

Ms. McFadden asked Chief to speak to the car burglaries in the area. PVPD have mapped some of the data, and hope to share that soon with residents. 99% of those are “crimes of opportunity”: unlocked, with keys in ignition, and/or with valuables in view. If residents would follow the 9PM Routine, we could nip this in the bud!

Grant Programs Update

I asked staff for an update on our grant programs including the Tax Rebate Program.

City Clerk Adam Geffert shared that there is still $6,500 left in the Property Tax Rebate program. A couple of new applications have come in since our last meeting, but there is still an opportunity for a rebate.

Deputy City Administrator Jamie Robichaud reported that the there are still a few spots available for the three annual grant programs (Exterior Grant Program, Sustainability Grant Program, and Exterior Grant Program for Trash Container Screening). If you are interested, don’t hesitate to apply at the links herein.

Mr. Dave Robinson asked if tree care falls under the Exterior Grant Program? Jamie will research that. (Maybe tree “care” is something we should consider as a Council. Not removal, but maintenance for some of our oldest canopy trees?)

Consider 2023 budget requests

  • COU2022-24 VillageFest, $35,000
  • COU2022-25 JazzFest, $35,000
  • COU2022-26 Arts Council, $10,000
  • COU2022-27 Diversity Committee, $16,500
  • COU2022-28 Environmental Committee, $8,000

Approved unanimously. The Diversity Committee budget was questioned by Mr. Gallagher. I will note that the Arts Council REDUCED our request from $14,500 annually to just $10,000 this year.

Consider amendment to the 2018 Internal Existing Building Code regarding storm shelter requirements for additions at educational facilities

SMSD’s Shawnee Mission East has existing storm sheltering places for the student population already, and SMSD has District standards to comply with so the City is comfortable that this amendment would not cause future issues for City staff administration of the IEBC. I asked why we wouldn’t just do this as a variance for this particular project, and Jamie Robichaud shared that there is no set procedure in place for that, and it likely wouldn’t work and would cause an undue burden on the District. *Note that day cares and school buildings associated with churches are already exempted.

Approved unanimously.

Discussion of 2023-2027 parks capital improvement program

Public Works Senior PM Melissa Prenger took a deeper dive into the presentation included in the packet. One thing she explained is why the 5-year plan doesn’t include the long-proposed connection trail between Windsor Park and 71st Street. Basically, it’s too expensive and disruptive to residents to do it now, but when they have to do extensive work to the drainage channel in the future, they can design a trail in along with the re-designed channel. So all is not lost on that connection, but it might be ten years or more. 🤞

We have a separate pool management CIP that is not included in this particular proposal. Those projects are on a smaller funding scale, but are needed on the regular for functionality of the pool complex. There is also a pool reserve fund at about $125,000.00 for unexpected expenditures.

One of the questions is whether we try to figure out a way to get the Harmon Park projects (new pavilion(s) and restrooms) into this CIP, and I support that – assuming we can make it work financially – because of safety around those restrooms and their current location right next the parking lot.

Ms. Reimer asked about the status of the Harmon Park Inclusive Playground, and Melissa let us know that it’s currently in the resident survey phase to give feedback on what amenities to have in that playground. Ms. Reimer stated that we should do what we can to get updated restrooms at the same time as the construction of the inclusive playground to truly make that fully functional for families.

Agenda Packet for your reference

Closing

So that’s it for this week.

Some things I’ve been up to:

  • Joined the SME All Sports Booster Committee. Woot woot!
  • Attended the SME DEIB Committee meeting to learn about YES! Club and work on a student survey.
  • Went to my FIRST IN-PERSON JoCo Library Foundation Board meeting since joining the board in 2020 at the newly renovated Central Resource Library!
  • Participated in a full day retreat with the Kansas State Board of Technical Professions to realign our mission and processes.
  • Participated in the Girl Scouts Bronze and Silver Award presentation ceremony with my three Senior Girl Scouts for their work last fall on the Camp Tongawood latrine “glow up”.
  • SME PTSA final executive meeting of the year – woo hoo!
  • Attended the BOCC State of the County Address where Chairman Ed Eilert gave his final State of the County address.
  • Kicked off the Ad Hoc Civic Center Committee with Councilmember Graves. Read my recap HERE.
  • Had coffee with the Mayor to talk about the MARC First Suburbs committee and more!
  • ANOTHER first: went to my very first Track & Field meet at SME where my sophomore was the only girl throwing for East that day: discus and shotput. Her first meet, too, and kudos to her!
  • Watched LWV JoCo’s last Zoom monthly event before they go back to in-person: The Assault on Reproductive Freedom. Mark your calendars and RSVP for their May event on Saturday, May 7th at 9am: Spreading Empathy – Fighting the Mental Health Stigma. Tim DeWeese, the Director of the JoCo Mental Health Center, will be the speaker.
  • Helped hang a new show at Meadowbrook Park Clubhouse: a regional photography invitational. Go check it out!
  • Attended the JoCo Arts Council’s Shooting Stars Gala as described above in my Arts Council report.

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

🙂

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