Officer lifesaving award recognition
Monday night, Officer Blakemore, Officer Wolf, and Officer DeGuire received the Department’s Lifesaving Award in front of our City Council. This award is presented to those who perform live saving measures while in the performance of their duties. Congratulations to all three of them on a job well done!
National Police Week proclamation
National Police Week in Prairie Village will be May 11 through May 17, 2022. This runs concurrent with the May 15th Peace Officers Memorial Day, in honor of all fallen officers and their families, and U.S. flags will be flown at half-staff.
Council heard from a PV resident who has an ongoing construction issue that they are trying to resolve with their insurance company and how the revised ordinance on the agenda for this meeting would adversely affect them and their ability to rent a portable storage unit (pod) during the process.
Ordinance for Pods as referenced above
Somewhat based on the public participation above, but mostly due to Councilmember Dave Robinson’s concerns about the limited time given for the ordinance, Council had a very fruitful, professional, and respectful conversation on this line item, and ultimately tweaked the ordinance to be a better solution for PV residents. The new ordinance will go into effect on July 1st now (instead of next week), and will still allow 14 days for a pod. You can see the meeting packet for the draft ordinance pre-tweaks.
Councilmember Cole Robinson reported that the pension fund did really well in 2021 (12.5% return; significantly over the 7.25% budgeted), and our actuary will be coming in soon to make recommendations for how much the City should be investing moving forward. The fund is currently funded at a healthy 82% by conservative actuarial modeling standards. The City and taxpayers do not pay interest to any entities for the “unfunded” portion of this fund, and the pension will be fully funded in under 15 years as planned and budgeted for by the City.
Councilmember Greg Shelton reported on the Native Plant Sale a couple of weeks ago. A lot of people participated, including Congresswoman Sharice Davids who was there purchasing native plants for her own yard. Thank you to Johanna Comes and Nathan Kovac, Environmental Committee members, for being on hand and passing out free native seed balls!
E-waste (electronics) recycling event is still making good progress. Watch for more information.
Tree Board Committee
Councilmember Greg Shelton shared that they had two events recently. One honoring the Kansas State Arbor Day Poster contest winner, Evelyn, from Highlands Elementary, and the other honoring 20-year Tree Board member Deb Nixon. Both ladies were recognized by trees planted in their honor, in McCrum and Wassmer Parks respectively.
Councilmember Dave Robinson said that the official line-up will be announced sometime in May! WaterOne will be providing free water at the event too via their “Quench Buggy”.
- The State of the Cities event by NEJC Chamber was back in person after three years where Westwood Hills Mayor Paula Schwach announced that she will no longer be mayor because she is moving out of Westwood Hills. Mayor Mikkelson saluted and thanked her for being a good partner and neighbor to PV and for all of her years of service to her community (upwards of 20-ish years!)
- Prairie Village Public Works’ new building received the KC Business Journal coveted Capstone Award for the sustainability efforts of the project and the project team, including the 2019 governing body who voted to approve striving for LEED Platinum certification.
- The Sharp Law Firm (also PV residents, the Sharps) had their official ribbon-cutting last week. You’ve probably seen their new space along 75th Street West of Roe.
- New PVPD Officer Miranda Scott officially graduated from the Academy recently, where Chief Roberson was the keynote speaker. Welcome, Officer Scott!
- NEJC Leadership class will be graduating this month: Cole Robinson, Tim Schwartzkopf, Cindy Volanti and more.
- Please plan to attend the YMCA Paul Henson community conversation at Meadowbrook Park; May 12th at 6:00.
Wes Jordan informed Council that staff is beginning the process of reviewing Ward boundaries and population. They typically do this every 10 years after the census. (Ward populations should be around 5% of each other within a municipality.) As it turns out Ward 5 is 20% different from Ward 2 currently. It won’t be super easy to adjust, because Ward lines must follow precinct (election office) lines, and the work will be brought back before Council for a vote at a later date. We will likely have to engage our planning partner, Gould Evans.
Items discarded through the large item pickup are taken to the landfill, so please plan to reuse or recycle any items you are able to. Items discarded must be at the curb by 7 a.m. Mattresses will be picked up a day earlier than other items and must also be at the curb by 7 a.m.
Consider second clarifying amendment to PVPD pension plan
Approved unanimously to clarify language that participation is OPTIONAL.
Consider purchase of new projectors and screens for Council Chambers
Working with our existing vendor for continuity of service to upgrade and improve brightness and clarity. Cost of use/maintenance, warranty, and expected lifetime, as well as comparison to other possible technologies to incorporate were all considered, and staff landed on this solution as the best value and most cost effective. Approved unanimously.
Consider donation to Dolyna, Ukraine
Mayor confirmed that many of the items requested by the Dolyna mayor Prairie Village can’t legally provide (ammunition, for example). They also are not interested in receiving cash, because it’s the procurement process is the problem. So the preferred solution is to provide them with 100-200 Motorola or Cobra rechargeable walkie talkies. Staff will research final costs including shipping within the $10,000 budget approved unanimously by Council.
Consider alternative contractor selection and approval of contract with Vance Brothers, Inc. for the 2022 crack seal / microsurfacing program
2023 Capital Infrastructure Program budget presentation
Melissa Prenger, Senior Project Manager, gave her annual “status of PV streets” presentation. Public Works assesses the street conditions annually (and constantly, really), and they grade them to determine when and what type of maintenance different streets should receive each year.
Our streets don’t all go bad at the same time. The failures are staggered and the repairs and replacements are staggered, which are both a good thing so we can stagger our costs as well. If we maintain our $3.16M investment in our streets annually, the percentage of “poor” streets will start creeping up.
Allotting more funds for this fund would likely be helpful, but not if we can’t maintain that increased level annually. Melissa shared that it’s actually somewhat detrimental to planning if the annual budget fluctuates too much, so if we don’t think we can maintain a, say, $1M increase for 2023, we shouldn’t propose it. We should try to be consistent and slowly increase the investment at a level that we can maintain year over year. Something for the Finance Committee to consider at our next meetings… Maybe we can allocate a couple hundred thousand more like we did last year and keep building on that.
So that’s it for this week.
Some things I’ve been up to:
- Attended the JoCo Election Office’s ‘Behind the Ballot‘ election worker recruitment and open house event. Abi and I toured the Election Office and learned how to be part of making elections convenient, safe and secure for our friends and neighbors! They even hire 16 yo election workers! Apply HERE to be an election worker. You’ll really enjoy it!
- Attended JoCo Commissioner Becky Fast‘s re-election campaign kick-off.
- Logged onto the virtual League of Women Voters Kansas annual Council meeting.
- Attended a fundraiser for Mayor Mikkelson’s re-election.
- Had the pleasure of hearing Arthur Muir, oldest American to summit Mount Everest at age 75, tell library supporters and JoCo Library Foundation 1952 Society members about his training and adventure getting to the top.
- Celebrated April and May birthdays at Tavern with my family. Six of our eight family members have birthdays between April 21st and May 15th! 😜 If you haven’t had the bruschetta at Tavern, you have to try it!
- Enjoyed great coffee at Caffetteria with a Ward 3 resident and fellow JoCo Library Foundation member.
- Celebrated the cities of Prairie Village AND Bonner Springs with the project teams at the Loew’s Hotel downtown for their KC Business Journal Capstone Award winning capital projects: the new Public Works facility and the Government Services Centers, respectively! Check out these views from Loew’s looking South:
- Upholstered and button-tufted a piece of furniture for the first time since college! Turned out not-bad:
- One thing I didn’t do was actually attend this Council meeting this week, so I watched it online just like you can HERE. I was sad to miss Melissa Prenger’s favorite presentation of the year (the 2023 Capital Infrastructure Program budget) in person, but sometimes things come up. 😞
Let me know if you have any questions. Be well and have a great week!