Swearing in of Mayor Eric Mikkelson
Mayor Mikkelson called the residents to the podium one-by-one who had signed up to speak for three minutes. There were no new speakers at this meeting on the housing topic, but we did have a speaker about a new-to-me topic:
- Lloyd Koelker – spoke about traffic calming on 67th Street, and previous calming efforts over the last 6 years that are not working. Would also like a stop sign at the corner of 67th and Fonticello.
(I was taken aback when Mr. Koelker said that Chief Roberson told him that he didn’t have the budget to patrol 67th St. I think, if that’s what was said, Chief must have meant that he didn’t have budget to patrol AS MUCH AS the residents would like. The PVPD is fully funded per their request, and their only limitation at this time is STAFFING. We need more police officers, and WE ARE HIRING!)
After the Consent Agenda was approved, I made the following statement (roughly):
“Thank you, Adam, for administering the Property Tax Rebate program in 2022 so diligently and highlighting areas for improvement this year to bring to Council, and I want to thank Council, too, for approving and expanding the Property Tax Rebate program for 2023. It’s worth highlighting that this program is based on the Metro Area Median Income, and it has been since its inception with the support of a prior City Council makeup and now this one.
“Continuance and expansion of this program was also one of the Ad Hoc Housing Recommendations under Item #2’s first bullet point, so I’m so glad to see this improved for 2023, and I look forward to discussing the grant programs later in the meeting which the Ad Hoc Housing Committee also recommended to expand.
“I also support a postcard program to get the word out even better for the Property Tax Rebate program as Councilmember Gallagher recommended, possibly a targeted one that reaches just households that might qualify to honor Councilmember Reimer’s concern about overprinting. I don’t know if it’s feasible to extract that data (or if we’d even want to on a citywide basis like that), but if it is feasible, maybe that’s a solution.
“One of the beneficiaries of the program in 2022 from my Ward had no idea about it until the Mayor told her about it and Adam called HER directly. She is not online in any capacity, so I can share it in every single newsletter I email, and she’s still never going to see it. It’s residents just like her that need this program, so whatever we can do, let’s do it.”
The Prairie Village Arts Council 2023 Calendar is now available! Mark your calendars for our 6 exhibits and 6 artist receptions beginning in January and every other month thereafter:PVAC-2023-Calendar-UPDATED-11-12-2022
Councilmember Piper Reimer shared that the Teen Council members volunteered at both the Mayor’s Holiday Tree Lighting and the Gingerbread House decorating event this last week. They were very hardworking, and the City received many positive remarks on their presence and interest in the programs.
- Mayor reported on his recent activities, including continued small group meetings with residents about the housing issue.
- The Mayor’s Holiday Tree Lighting and the Gingerbread House decorating events were this past week and were very well-attended, even post-pandemic. Thank you to all those who attended, volunteered, and have donated to the Prairie Village Municipal Foundation.
- The 3rd quarter financial report is in, and PV is on track to meet our budget. We have also maintained our rare AAA bond rating.
- COVID – area hospitals are filling up again. We have record outbreaks of flu, pneumonia, and RSV. We’re entering a challenging time again – particularly for our senior living facilities.
- Upcoming event: Dec. 6th – Next Planning Commission session which will include further workshopping on the Ad Hoc Housing Committee recommendations.
- It’s time for City Council members to make their requests for city committees to chair. (I will request Arts Council for one final year. 😃)
- Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to the Prairie Village Municipal Foundation to support Shop with a Cop, Back to School with a Firefighter, utility assistance, minor home repairs/maintenance, food assistance, and other vital needs of our community members in PV.
- Also, consider volunteering for one of our many City committees HERE for 2023.
- The Prairie Village community gardens are now accepting applications for growing plots for the 2023 season. Interested new and returning gardeners can read the rules and regulations and apply online before December 15 at pvkansas.com/communitygarden.
Wes Jordan, City Administrator, let Council know that the next action for the Community Center discussion will be at the December 19th meeting, and as per usual at our first meetings of the month, he referenced the monthly Plan of Action at the back of the council packet.
Chief Roberson told us that Shop with a Cop is this week where kids get to go out with officers to go shopping for the holidays. SROs (School Resource Officers) in the school buildings help to identify students in need. After shopping, they come back to City Hall to have pizza, and a group of “elves” wrap the gifts. This program is supported fully by the PV Municipal Foundation and individual donations from generous folks.
Tip-A-Cop will be Thursday, December 8th at Johnny’s in Corinth Square from 5-9pm where PVPD officers will be your servers. Officers will be your servers, and all proceeds benefit the Special Olympics.
Consider 2023 contribution allocation recommended by United Community Services for human services fund grants
Christina Ashie Guidry, UCS Director of Resource Allocation, presented on both of these programs this year that Prairie Village has been proud to be a part of the last 32 years along with 13 other cities and the county to invest in human capital in Johnson County.
Types of programs supported through human services fund grants will include: child advocacy, gaps in childcare, job training, early childhood education, emergency assistance, transitional housing, and much, much more (see pages 118-119 of the packet).
Council approved the recommendation allocation unanimously.
Consider 2023 contribution allocation recommended by the Drug and Alcoholism Council of Johnson County for the 2023 funds
These funds come from the 10% alcohol tax when you purchase a drink at a restaurant. The state keeps 30% of that, and then the remaining funds have to be used for programs that reduce alcohol and other drug problems by promoting, supporting, and advocating for the full continuum of care – prevention, education, intervention, treatment and recovery.
Applications for funding are greater than they have ever been before.
Types of programs supported through alcohol tax funds will include substance abuse prevention instruction, support for transportation to after school programs, Project Alert, Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), health courses, school counselors, social workers, and more.
Councilmember Piper Reimer also serves on this advisory council as a Prairie Village representative. Piper shared that the residents of PV should be quite proud of the impact these dollars are able to make in our community, and UCS, Christina Ashie Guidry in particular, does an excellent job facilitating the application process and the recommendation process.
Councilmember Courtney McFadden thanked Mayor Mikkelson for encouraging more interaction with UCS and more direct contact with the organizations that benefit from the funding of these two programs. It has been a good learning opportunity for everyone on Council.
Council approved the recommendation allocation unanimously.
Consider adoption of the 2022 Standard Traffic Ordinance for Kansas cities and the 2022 Uniform Public Offense Code for Kansas cities
Both ordinances were approved unanimously.
Legislative Platform 2023
Prairie Village, and other municipalities, have many financial interests that are directed in and by the senators and representatives in Topeka, and this platform is a broad brush of the issues that are important to Prairie Village year to year. These municipal platforms carry a lot of weight with the representatives from our area. They help them prioritize items and also work as persuasion tools when speaking to other legislators. Prairie Village staff also use this platform as a reference to answer questions from the public or other organizations, so that they can have an approved document of the will of the Council and not just anecdotal conversations with individual council members.
Here is my breakdown of perspectives on these items, particularly the ones that I proposed:
I understood the first 4 modifications from the previous discussion and concurred. For the others, I want to expand:
- LOCAL FIREARMS ISSUES – As was stated at the previous meeting, this IS included in the League of Kansas Municipalities 2023 Legislative Platform. I realized back in May that the local PV language about local control of firearms had been inadvertently lost in this new format. It’s now been updated for 2023 in collaboration with Little Government Relations.
- It’s important for PV to emphasize our desire to have this control returned to local municipalities, as Councilmembers McFadden and Gallagher both said, so that we have the “ability to regulate and enforce the possession and use of weapons within City-owned facilities, public parks, municipal pools, and City-owned vehicles.”
- This new language doesn’t include the buyback add-in option that Courtney suggested at the last meeting or Councilmember Piper Reimer’s comment about advocating for statewide improved gun control measures, and I agree with both of those suggestions, I so look forward to proposals from those councilmembers possibly in the future.
- But all-in-all, I’m supportive of the final language here.
- STATEWIDE FUNDING FOR THE ARTS – to answer Piper’s question from last meeting, this topic is NOT covered in LKM 2023, so I wanted to include it in our two pages.
- Ron mentioned Rep. Jerry Stogsdill at the last meeting, and it’s through him (Stogsdill), other state reps, and my involvement as the PV Arts Council chair I have had the privilege of meeting many artists and arts organizations statewide that are contributing to our statewide economy, and I’m glad this suggested add was approved.
- LOCAL CONTROL –
- Rental Inspections – This IS also in the LKM 2023
- My intent of adding this to our pages is meant to emphasize this issue for interiors because it has been an problem for several years in PV (see the monthly plan of action on page 291 of the Council Packet to see where it still sits under “In Progress”).
- To answer the staffing question by Councilmember McFadden at the last meeting, I didn’t see this a “Must-Do” annually, but an ability that we should have in special cases.
- I wish all landlords were as Councilmember Dave Robinson described himself at the last meeting, but we know they’re not, and we have some situations where landlords are taking advantage of the situation as he noted.
- I’m not opposed to Councilmember Selders’ suggestion of new tenants only if it were to become a standard operating procedure on a set timeline.
- I also concur with Councilmember Gallagher for the topic to go under Local Control.
- I do think it should explicitly say both exterior and interior since the legislature could say that we already have that ability (but it’s really only exterior), but I’m not going to hold up the approval for that detail at this point.
- Rental Inspections – This IS also in the LKM 2023
- FEDERAL FUNDING
- Medicaid Expansion – This IS ALSO in LKM 2023 on pg. 7
- Kansas is one of only a small handful of states that still haven’t expanded Medicaid.
- We are giving away millions of dollars a year to other states that should rightly come back to our taxpayers here in Kansas.
- Expansion of Medicaid would better fund rural hospitals whose funding and staffing issues are spilling over into our urban hospitals and definitely affecting services for every person in Kansas, rural and urban.
- I’m fine with this as an addition to Federal Funds to emphasize our support
- Medicaid Expansion – This IS ALSO in LKM 2023 on pg. 7
- LEGALIZATION OF MARIJUANA –
- I actually originally suggested that we expand on this to clarify full legalization (not just medical) as was recommended by our PV Diversity Committee, but after consultation with LGR prior to the Nov. 21st meeting’s agenda packet being finalized, I was fine leaving it as is.
- So I definitely support leaving it in our 2023 platform as it is in lieu of removing it as was proposed at the last meeting.
- LAVTR (Local Ad Valorem Tax Reduction)-
- The state legislature has not been funding the LAVTR law for years which is meant to relieve the tax burden on property taxpayers.
- Some KS legislators are fans of unfunded mandates but then they don’t want to actually fund us, and our residents, in areas the legislature is already obligated by law to.
- I support this addition as well.
- Bonus – The Johnson County Board of Commissioners adopted their 2023 platform last week, and they also address the need for Medicaid Expansion and the funding of LAVTR as well as numerous other things specific to County services and administration. It’s worth a read also.
The City of Prairie Village 2023 Legislative Platform was approved unanimously. See pages 221-248 of the packet for the full approved document.
Consider design agreement with Affinis Corporation for design of the 2023 CARS project: Nall Avenue from 67th Street to 75th Street
Councilmember Inga Selders asked Keith Bredehoeft, Public Works Director, if the design team had looked at adding bike lane buffers (poles) or other ways to make it safer for cyclists. Keith appreciated the recommendation, and they will be looking at ways to make it safer. Councilmember Cole Robinson concurred with Inga’s suggestion, and Councilmember Piper Reimer suggested more trees if at all possible. 😁 Council approved this agreement unanimously.
2022 Exterior grant and sustainability grant report and 2023 recommended program changes
Nickie Lee, Deputy City Administrator, presented the 2022 program outcomes and the recommended expansions for 2023. As I mentioned earlier, the expansion of these grant programs was also recommended in the Ad Hoc Housing Committee Recommendations, so I’m excited that staff already has some ways to do that.
Councilmember Cole Robinson asked if staff were seeing residents that were upgrading to better systems since we’re incentivizing it (sustainability grant), or if the applicants are just taking the City up on their offer of help for, say, a furnace that they would have purchased anyway. He’s mainly concerned that the assistance isn’t targeted enough to residents who need it the most. Nickie didn’t have the answer to that question at the time, and Councilmember Piper suggested later in the meeting that that would be a difficult metric to drill down to.
The sustainability grant program does have much stricter requirements for efficient upgrades. The specifications can be found HERE. Specific U-factors, SEER ratings, and more are delineated as prescribed by the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) (The “2021 IECC is regarded by many as a significant achievement in building energy efficiency compared to the prior two code cycles (IECC 2015 and IECC 2018). An initial U.S. Department of Energy determination estimates a national average of 9.38 percent site energy savings and 8.66 percent energy cost savings compared to the 2018 IECC, with variance dependent upon climate zones.”)
Councilmember Inga Selders applied for the exterior grant program herself in 2022, and although she wasn’t able to finish her project in time to comply with the grant requirement, she had a lot of lessons learned to share with staff that could improve the program.
- Her biggest expense was the renting of scaffolding, which isn’t an expense that is currently covered. This type of rental would also be included in any bill of work from a professional general contractor also, so it would make sense to include that cost for DIYers.
- She also recommended a survey to be sent to all awardees each year to help the city learn from the residents about how the program works and doesn’t work so well. (Excellent idea!)
- Lastly Inga suggested we partner with Habitat for Humanity to assist DIY homeowners that run into problems (such as dry rot or termites, etc.) that they themselves are not equipped to address to give them guidance and/or additional assistance. I don’t know exactly what this would entail or what a partnership would look like, but I hope Inga pursues it and makes a suggestion for the 2024 program, because I am intrigued.
Councilmember Courtney McFadden suggested the sustainability grant program be sent to the Environmental Committee to review for impact and metrics to track. Great idea!
Councilmember Gallagher lauded this program for its continued success and brought up solar panels and the tweaks we need to look at in our codes to make those more allowable in our neighborhoods. He isn’t supportive of the rental equipment addition. But he would like staff to be creative in getting the word out about these programs. He’s concerned the people who need it the most aren’t aware of it. (I agree.)
In response to Councilmember Reimer’s query, Nickie reminded us that we do have a separate trash enclosure grant program that isn’t part of these two programs. It allows for a much smaller project cost to apply. Piper also asked what quality of insulation you can get for the $1,000 minimum as suggested in the proposed expansion. Nickie couldn’t speak directly to that, but Councilmember Ian Graves shared his experience that home insulation is one of the biggest “bang for your buck” upgrades a homeowner can make to their residence, you can get a lot for $1,000, and it’s definitely something we should be encouraging. Piper suggested tracking maximum appraised value of sustainability grant awardees for 2023 for a baseline to measure against in the future to address one of Councilmember Cole Robinson’s concerns about not having an appraised value cap.
I seconded Inga’s motion, and supported the addition of rental equipment. I suggested we may clarify that to be large scale equipment with a cutoff line to be researched by staff to address Councilmember Gallagher’s suggestion that homeowners might rent hammers and the like. I also support approving the sustainability program for 2023 today but then sending it to the environmental committee for review and recommendation for the 2024 program.
Council approved the Exterior Grant Program with staff recommended changes, minus Inga’s motion to approve rental equipment, unanimously.
Council approved the Sustainability Grant Program with staff recommended changes, minus Inga’s motion to approve rental equipment, unanimously.
(While I supported the motion to add the rental equipment, when it was suggested to remove it for initial consideration of the programs and send it to staff first to research, I stated that it was really a “six of one half a dozen of the other” scenario since staff has to research it and make a recommendation either way. So I voted “yay” on the motion to remove it from one program, but not the other (halvsies!). The motions to remove both carried whether I voted for them or not, and again, staff was going to research it anyway, so it really just added a couple of extra votes to the evening. It was also moved to separate the two programs for consideration which also added two more votes to the evening with the exact same outcome, but whatever makes people feel better about their votes.)
Staff will come back next meeting with information regarding levels of equipment rental to possibly be included in the programs.
ALERT: If all goes well when this is taken up at the full Council level, this program will now open in February instead of March! If you’re interested, start looking into the details now! <– This webpage will need to be updated first, but I bet it’s done by the end of the year for you. 😏
I want to close with Shout Out to all the staff who I tend to email over the weekends when I have the most time to take deep dives into the agendas, current issues, and upcoming Arts Council planning. I usually use Google to schedule them to hit their inboxes at 8am Monday, so the staff members don’t respond over the weekend (because they will!).
I think I scheduled about 10 emails to go out Monday morning to at least 4 different staff members, and I’m pretty sure every single staff member I emailed had responded, answered or just acknowledged every email I sent by 4:00 that same day to help me prepare for this meeting and some other research I’m doing. I didn’t find the right time to do it during the meeting, but I just want to say Thank you SO much for all the work they do. I know answering councilmember questions day-in and day-out is ON TOP OF all of their daily, weekly, and monthly job tasks, and we appreciate them beyond measure.
Thank you for reading, and please feel free to share this newsletter/post with your PV neighbors!
Please try to stay well and have a great week!