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Council Recap – 03/06/23

Posted by Bonnie Limbird

Prior to this meeting, City Council and administrative staff took a Hostile Event Training course. See more at Be forewarned: I found this video (Run, Hide, Fight), while not graphic, to be very stressful.


Women’s History Month proclamation

Councilmember Courtney McFadden, after recognizing the SME Lancer Dancer senior women and coaching staff, read this proclamation designating March as “Women’s History Month”, calling upon the residents of Prairie Village to observe March as Women’s History Month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

Consider approval of agreement with KERAMIDA for sustainability program management

Public Participation on this topic specifically:
  • Two Prairie Elementary 6th graders from the Green Team at their school shared their work at their school and their reasons for participating and request government action and adult cooperation. They were fully in support of a sustainability program manager for PV>
  • Melinda Lewis is committed to not letting the kids carry the burden for us. She is pledging to do all she can to leave them a world that has more promise than peril, and she’s proud of PV’s adoption of the regional climate action plan.

Assistant City Administrator, Meghan Buum, reminded Council that during the 2023 Budget process, $50,000 was approved and set aside for a sustainability program manager to create a sustainability plan. Councilmembers Reimer and Shelton reviewed all of the proposals received in response to the City’s RFP, and selected KERAMIDA to move forward. KERAMIDA’s bid did come in under budget, and the previously approved Dynamhex contract has been cancelled, so there are monies leftover from that contract as well that can be put toward this initiative.

Councilmember Greg Shelton said that this program will give us real tactical information to meet the goals we’ve set for ourselves through the Reginal Climate Action Plan pledge and Climate Race to Zero commitment.

Councilmember Terrence Gallagher noted that there is no sustainability component to the current PV Parks Master Plan. He’s thought about revising the 2009 plan, but wonders if that would be fruitful. Instead, he asked if this program would/could include the Parks in the audit. The representative from KERAMIDA confirmed that the Parks will be included for sure in at least two main areas: fleet vehicles and native tree planning. Councilmember Piper Reimer added pesticide review to that list as well.

Councilmember McFadden referred to the “failed” Dynamhex partnership. Dynamhex did fall down on their part of the contract, but we did receive the original scope of work that we paid for. What they didn’t follow through on were the 2nd and 3rd years of their contract, and we did not pay for those subsequent years. The scope of THIS contract is far, far different according to Councilmember Reimer and we will have a tangible action plan at the end of the scope of work.

Public Participation

Mayor Mikkelson called residents to the podium one-by-one to speak for three minutes. Here are this week’s speakers:

  • Jennifer (?) – doesn’t know what’s going on with the R1 and is confused on what’s going on. Thinks PV is looking at low-income (section 8, etc.) housing. (We are NOT.)
  • Tom Ward – appreciates the opportunity for public participation. Thinks that homeowners currently have to apply to rent out their property on AirBnB, or other. (They actually don’t have to apply. Regulating ADUs is on our list of possible things to do in our zoning review and revision.)
  • Terry Otoole – referenced NextDoor comments by former councilmembers. (NextDoor comments are not part of the public record, nor accessible by all council members, so this is not something that I am able to reference or review for accuracy.) Thinks that insurance for council members is not required to get good quality candidates. Believes it is an unnecessary expense. “There’s been talk that the council could make this revenue neutral.” (WHO said this and where?)
  • Juliana Lagerstrom – is worried about speakers at Council meetings who don’t actually live in PV. (There have been very few non-PV folks.) Referenced “homeowners” as the only voices worth listening to.
  • Alan Bowman – Came to speak about IECC 2021 adoption and how they offer a significant savings to buildings (and homeowners) built with them and a reduction in our carbon footprint. It is also an equity issue. The code offers flexibility – you don’t have to follow a single pathway to meet the requirements.
  • Tricia Ullman – thinks PV raised her property tax appraisal and that we now want to use the fruits of that increase to pay for affordable (section 8) housing. (The County is responsible for property tax appraisals. PV City Council has discussed reducing our mill levy every year that I’ve been on Council, but only finally passed this last year with our current city councilmembers. Council voted to reduce the levy by 1 mill, and we will continue to look at our mill levy and make sure it’s right-sized every year.)
  • Mike Shook – bought his house for a $2,000 down payment. Has diversity in his neighborhood, so he’s confused on the affordability and the diversity conversations.
  • Hoyl Lockett – surprised by lack of clarity about the zoning issue. Thinks the change from 20% lot coverage to 30% was a big factor in driving up housing prices in PV. Need to place a moratorium on anything over 20% lot coverage. Harmony and massing must be considered.
  • John Anderson – wants Council to leave him alone. Manage the budget, provide police and parks, and leave it at that. Thinks Council is trying to control us (like Marx he said?) by dividing us.
  • Betsy Hornbeck – new to PV in the last 2 years and doesn’t understand why we want to change anything.
  • Kate Farber – the Stop group isn’t going to give up. We’re not a community that is looking to make money off our backyard property. (There are actually some folks who would like to make money of their personal property or would like their extended family members to live with them.)
  • Steve Snitz – Wants answers. Doesn’t believe that humans are causing untenable climate change.

I thanked the speakers who brought up great ideas for ways to help housing in Prairie Village, including Mr. Bowman who talked about IECC and Mr. Lockett who talked about lot coverage.

Councilmember Gallagher said we all need to calm down. The questions residents are asking are the ones we will be discussing as part of this process. Most, if not all, of the councilmembers have already spoken to residents and groups of residents and continue to do so upon request. No one on Council is getting paid by any outside interests, and he’s offended that residents keep saying that we are. Councilmembers are residents of PV, too, and care just as much as all the residents. We are responding to emails weekly and daily from our ward constituents, and if you have questions please continue to reach out to your councilperson directly.

Committee Reports

Diversity Committee

Councilmember McFadden gave an update on last weekend’s Diversity Town Hall with Councilmember Inga Selders, resident Hazel Krebs, resident David Magriel, and PVPD Capt. Ivan Washington. The event was standing room only, and had some wonderfully positive feedback! Capt. Washington’s experience was especially moving.

The Diversity committee has partnered with Roeland Park’s Diversity Committee to continue to grow and improve both of our communities.

Councilmember Cole Robinson shared that Juneteenth 2023 planning is in the early phases but will be including even more focus on family fun activities, and he’ll provide more updates as they come. Mayor Mikkelson asked if we had considered partnering with Roeland Park on Juneteenth activities, and Cole confirmed that they actually already are. 😜

Julie Brewer and Kathryn Evans with UCS facilitated a 4-hour strategic planning session for the Diversity Committee and led them through a back-looking and forward-looking process. The results of that session will be incorporated into the Diversity Committee meetings moving forward.

Tree Board

Councilmember Ian Graves shared that the Tree Board met recently, and committee members shared that they’ve been receiving information from somewhere in the community to reach out to Public Works if they believe a tree is being damaged and not protected. Ian confirmed with Public Works Director, Keith Bredehoeft, who the correct person to contact is, and Keith said just the general PW phone line.

Environmental Committee

Councilmember Reimer alerted everyone to the latest Village Voice hitting mailboxes this week and available digitally. This issue is especially sustainability focused, and Piper thanked Public Information Officer, Ashley Freburg, for all of her work on an excellent publication.

Arts Council

I shared info on the newest Arts Council gallery exhibits at City Hall and at Meadowbrook Park Clubhouse, and our upcoming gallery reception this Wednesday night:

Mayor’s Report
  • Mayor noted that the latest food sales tax elimination proposal includes local city taxes which would amount to a $700k loss to PV. (The City supported the Axe the Tax for the state level.)
  • The U.S. Bank building in the PV Shops area is now fully leased.
  • The staff meeting with the JoCo Appraiser was pushed and is now coming up this week. 16.5% is the average increase of the homes in PV this year (which does include the teardown/rebuild flips). Note that PV reduced the mill levy for 2023 which accounts for 5% of the PV portion of the taxes property owners pay, and the budget process for 2024 will soon kick off.

Staff Reports


Wes Jordan, City Administrator, updated Council on the status of the IECC 2021 adoption. There is an informal coalition of local building officials that has decided to adopt the upcoming 2024 (instead of 2021).

Councilmember Shelton pointed out that this pushes actual implementation back that much further, because it will take time to receive, review, adopt, overlay our foundational codes, and then start using them. (I concur. I don’t think we should delay.)

Councilmember Reimer recognizes that this is a huge ask, but we want to get this going in conjunction with the County and do it well.

Councilmember Reimer also recognized that property appraisals and taxes came up during public participation tonight, and she reiterated that this is exactly why Council made so many of the decisions we made last year for this 2023 budget.

COPS grant presentation

Chief Roberson started by sharing Lucky the cat‘s story. Lucky was found in PV, their chip was scanned, and it turned out they were from Miami. Lucky has been reunited with their Miami-based owner!

COPS is Community Oriented Policing Services. The Prairie Village Police Department has been awarded the amount of $638,000.00 for the acquisition of License Plate Recognition Technology and Traffic Cameras. This item has been on the strategic plan for years, and PVPD has been slowing building it out, but it would have taken probably another 10 years to complete it. It will now be complete by the end of the calendar year, and will save the taxpayers over $600,000. “This technology is the future of crime prevention.” (Mission Hills recently used their ARPA funds to fully outfit their municipality.)

PVPD was also awarded $75,000 for training!! 🤪

68th Street flood control project update

Cliff Speegle, Storm Water Project Manager, presented this item.

(I have requested a copy of Cliff’s presenation, and I will update this post when I get to include a map and a rendering or two for you to better visualize the project.)

This project ultimately removes 5 homes from the hundred year flood plain. Bidding is about to begin. JoCo wastewater will also be doing some collector main upgrades while the street is torn up ($1.5M upgrade). The current parking lot at Schliffke park will close this Spring. There will be some tree removal, but they will be replaced with more appropriate trees and creek vegetation.

Utilities will be relocated starting this Spring, but will still be elevated on poles (not placed underground). Construction will begin in the summer (coordinating with SMSD) and restoration will finish up around Spring 2024.

All of this work has been coordinated with Mission Hills who is downstream on Brush Creek. MH residents were concerned about downstream issues, but they hired a 3rd party water management/engineering firm to analyze the situation and create a report which confirmed the information that PV was providing to them and that eased a lot of their concerns.

Consider construction contract for the 2023 residential street rehabilitation program

Approved unanimously! See map below for the affected streets (Hello, 71st Street from Belinder to Cherokee and the northern Village Drive cul-de-sac!!):

2024 Budget goals and objectives

Jason Hannaman, City Finance Director, presented the 2024 Budget Goals & Objectives.

Overall, PV residents will realize a 5 mill reduction in 2023 between the PV reduction of 1 mill, and the additional reductions by SMSD, CFD2, and the County. All of those entities are beginning their budget processes for 2024, just like PV, so we’ll see what each entity decides to do with the increased property appraisals.

Councilmember Cole Robinson noted that PV residents pay municipal taxes of about $75 a month for an objectively great value living in PV.

Councilmember Shelton asked if our insurance broker has shared any cost savings that might be associated with our sustainability goals and objectives moving forward, and Jason said not at this time.

The 2024 Budget Goals and Objectives were approved.

Discussion on adding members of the Governing Body to the City’s health, dental, and vision insurance plans with the same cost sharing as if they were full-time City employees

Councilmember Cole Robinson shared that the City has to have 100 employees enrolled to maintain our rates, therefore PV staff are mandated through employment to take PV insurance. The idea was that if we got enough enrollment from Council, we could then remove the mandate for employees, but tracking down that information of “what ifs” is extremely cumbersome and time-intensive. So unfortunately we won’t be following that idea. Cole observed also that this seems to be a generational discussion. PV residents, prospective Council candidates, and maybe current Council candidates deal with insurance issues that weren’t a problem 50 years ago.

Councilmember Ian Graves noted that it is glaringly obvious that Prairie Village is the ONLY municipality on the comp list who does not compensate their councilmembers even a little bit. Most of us on Council now didn’t run for the money, but that’s the problem, right? Only residents who can AFFORD to serve and spend so much of their personal time can run, and then not all residents across the economic spectrum are represented as well as they could be.

Councilmember Courtney McFadden said that healthcare has never been inexpensive or easy – there have been difficult choices made by families throughout the years. However there is a real financial cost to this volunteer service. Healthcare may not be the avenue to take (in her opinion), but maybe a stipend is. (And stipends could be used towards healthcare premiums.)

Councilmember Piper Reimer referenced a comment made during public participation that clearly we’re not having trouble getting people to run, but, as she pointed out, we are having trouble making Council service accessible to everyone. The financial burden is a barrier for many who would like to volunteer.

No action was taken.

Consider financial donation to Shawnee Mission East PTA for senior after-graduation party

Councilmember McFadden supports this as a donation under the Mayor’s discretion and it’s SO important. She mentioned that this week SME is presenting to students AND parents about fentanyl use. This is a huge problem, and these graduation parties save lives.

Councilmember Graves noted that prevention is not free. This is a service to our city.

Councilmember Reimer has served as a chaperone at this event three times. It is well organized and very highly attended. She recommended we support this annually.

Councilmember Gallagher suggested it be sent to Foundation, but Wes, City Administrator, respectfully submitted that the Foundation budget is very tight and this would take away from their budget serving residents in need.

Council agreed loosely to leave this to Mayor Mikkelson’s discretion as he has that authority already (he just wanted to have the discussion to get the opinion of Council).

Agenda Packet for your reference


Thank you for reading, and please feel free to share this newsletter/post with your PV neighbors!

Please be well and have a great week!


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