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Council Catch-up

Posted by Bonnie Limbird

My apologies to everyone for being quiet for so many weeks. This post will attempt to encapsulate everything that I know of that has happened in the last few weeks, but in a more condensed than usual way. If you have questions or want details on anything in particular, please don’t hesitate to email me. 🙂

  • A proclamation from the City, along with the SevenDays organization to invite and encourage residents of Prairie Village to participate in SevenDays of Kindness in and “urge all citizens to engage in acts of kindness throughout the week and remember the events of April 13, 2014, not only for the losses of that day but also for the significance of the powerful and enduring vow to overcome hate with kindness.”
  • A resolution by the governing body of the city of Prairie Village, Kansas adopting the non-legally binding International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Working Definition of Antisemitism, including the 11 contemporary examples.
  • Fentanyl presentation by Johnson County Crime Lab’s Julinne Kemp, Forensic Scientist Supervisor of Toxicology and Drug Chemistry (Controlled Substances). Visual representation of the problem:
  • Teen Council members, Abigail Swanson (SME) and Sneha Thomas (SME) presented on public transportation in PV. The students pointed out that currently bus stops are very far apart with limited service (only two routes currently) and long wait times. Many stops also have no protection from the elements which results in a feeling of a lack of safety. The benefits of better public transit would reduce congestions and pollution, provide opportunities for the disabled, and provide better options for transfer students between their home and school. Public transportation is cheaper and more viable than car ownership.
  • Teen Council Graduation
  • Proclamation designating April 28, 2023 as Arbor Day in the City of Prairie Village urging all citizens to celebrate Arbor Day and to support efforts to protect our trees and woodlands, and further urging all citizens to plant trees to gladden the heart and promote the well-being of this and future generations.
  • CFD2 Update – Fire Chief Steve Chick
    • Intern Program has now officially started
    • Have hired CFD2’s first Black firefighter through the Intern Program
    • New fire engines have arrived and are ready for service (ordered 2 years ago!)
    • Working on their 2024 Budget already (just like the City)
      • Will be looking at pay structure updates to be more competitive
    • House fire last December – was discovered by a PVPD officer on patrol who called in CFD2 (Yay for healthy partnerships!)
    • House fire in March – a safety mechanism on the furnace had been bypassed illegally and set adjacent timber afire.
  • Weise Group presentation of community center survey results (by Cathy Morrisey).
    • The survey in 2023 was modeled to be substantially equal to the 2019 survey for near apples-to-apples comparison.
    • Additionally, in 2023 the City mailed 11,745 postcards to every household mailing address in PV inviting residents to give their feedback on the proposed project to boost representation of PV proper.
    • Surveys were collected between February 1st and March 6th.
    • In probability theory, the representation of the various characteristics of the City is more important than the actual number. And these numbers are very representative of types of households, ages of households, and incomes of households.
    • The Wiese Group’s interpretation of these results is, though some metrics did change a bit, there is continued statistically positive support in Prairie Village and in the surrounding market area. Cathy Morrisey: “These results, based on other research we’ve done, for other Ys and other communities, they look very favorable and positive” (without knowing all the other factors that fall under the Y’s and the City’s umbrella). “The sentiment did not decline… enough that it’s no longer worth considering.”
    • Now Council has the difficult task of determining if there will be enough revenue.
    • Here is the clearest chart to show the market feasibility of this possible project:
Prairie Village proper feedback via both phone survey and online survey.
In PVers minds, despite a recent history of dissatisfaction with the Paul Henson Y, there is a substantially positive outlook (80%) of a partnership with the Y for operations.
PVers, according to this research, would be happy to vote on this issue with a mail-in ballot (whether voting for or against).
  • “Y” presentation, by Mark Hulet, to Council for consideration of the Y for operational services on a proposed new community center.
    • The Y’s takeaway from these results is that this can be a sustainable operation, and they will start modeling that.
    • Also, they are very pleased that there is support of the Y as a partner in our community.
    • Next steps, as the Y sees it, would be:
      • Council vote to partner with the Y for operational service
      • RFP for site design, community engagement
      • Financial modeling and stakeholder surveying to determine what the Y can raise in a capital campaign for a PV Y facility.
    • Other Y major capital campaigns: $13M in Atchison from within the community; $10-12M raised for the Linwood Y; and $26M for the downtown Kirk Y from citizens and foundations.
    • The Y’s expectations for operations, if they bring campaign dollars to the table but their operational services are terminated, would be a pay back from the City to the Y of a prorated amount of those dollars based on years of service, etc. Those details are yet to be hammered out to mutually agreed upon language.
    • The opportunity to acquire 4.7 acres of land into the Harmon Park campus, and to invite the Corinth JoCo Library onto the campus as well, is why we’re having this conversation, per Councilmember Dave Robinson.
    • If we continue to provide the additional services that the Y is know for, beyond just fitness, we can be successful per Mark Hulet.
    • A new facility will require a “ramp up period” to get to revenue neutral. As they develop the hard cost, soft costs, and funding of the facility, they can narrow in on whether that ramp up period is 4 or 5 years or 6 or 7 years or other per Mark Hulet.


  • As recommended by the Insurance Committee, Council approved the 2023-2024 insurance renewals. There was a 7% increase in overall costs. These policies will cover:
    • Property
    • Inland Marine
    • General Liability
    • Employee Benefits Liability
    • Law Enforcement Liability
    • Public Entity Management Liability
    • Employment Practices Liability
    • Auto Liability / Auto Physical Damage
    • Umbrella
    • Crime/Kidnap & Ransom
    • Fiduciary Liability
    • Worker’s Compensation
    • Treasurer Bond – Scott McDonald
    • Cyber Liability
  • As recommended by the Planning Commission, Council approved a renewal of a special use permit for the service station at 7720 State Line Road (HyVee). Staff did ask HyVee to update their landscaping to be in line with the improving surrounding area, including “at least 6 but no more than 12 street trees. The species and location shall be determined by the City’s landscape architect and Public Works…”
  • Approved additional funding for 2023 property tax rebate program to meet current community need.
    • As of March 29, 2023, 47 households have received refunds totaling $25,589.41, with an average rebate of $544.46. Currently, only $410.59 remains unexpended of the initial $20,000.00 allocation and rollover of funding from. Additional funds will be needed to provide rebates to two applicants that are pending approval, as well as any additional applications that are received.
  • Approved Ordinance #2482 amending City Ward boundaries
    • Nickie Lee, Deputy City Administrator, and David Waters, City Attorney, reiterated the details from last meeting whereby this process has been ongoing since last year; has been staff-driven independently of council; wards must be divided as equally as possible (within certain percentages); Wards 1 and 5 had grown well outside the allowed percentages; the time windows in which cities are allowed to make this type of change; and the risk of a constitutional complaint if we don’t update them now.
    • There was a “freeze period” between 2017 and 2022, by KS statute, that would have prohibited the JoCo Election Office from updating our precinct boundaries to coincide with new ward boundaries. That is why this boundary change was brought forward now in 2023.
    • Staff have worked closely with the JoCo Elections Office to create boundaries that meet all of the statutes, best practices, and on the best timeline.
    • Johnson County Election Commissioner Fred Sherman was in attendance at the meeting to answer any questions.
    • Councilmember Terrence Gallagher pointed out that the sitting council at the time knew back during Meadowbrook Park development planning that this was coming down the road. They knew this was going to affect the population balances between wards, and they approved the development.
    • This is not a political issue. This is a community representation and constitutional issue.
    • Note for my Ward 3 neighbors: Ward 3 doesn’t change a bit! Yay!! 🤪
  • Approved renewal of the mattress removal and recycling with Sleepyhead Beds in conjunction with the annual large item pickup. (Via Consent Agenda)
    • Residents are asked to let the City know if they will be putting out mattresses during the pickup and indicate how many and what condition they’re in. This can be done online at until three days before the pickup. City staff will then provide a list to Sleepyhead Beds, who will visit each of the City’s four pickup areas the Friday before Republic crews will be in the area.
  • With prior input from the Parks & Recreation and the Tree Board committees, and ultimate recommendation by the PV Municipal Foundation, Council approved an updated Prairie Village Foundation donation policies with the understanding that the Foundation will look at other ways to offer memorial options that might be at more accessible price point.
  • Approved contract with Kansas Heavy Construction for the 2023 concrete repair program
  • Approved contract with McConnell & Associates for the 2023 street repair program
  • Approved change order #1 for inclusion of additional drainage repair program improvements into the drainage repair program contract.
  • Approved adjustment to property tax rebate program
    • Note there is currently a little over $4k left in the 2023 program if you’d like to apply. Click HERE.

Committee, Mayor, & Staff Reports

  • Environmental Committee partnership with City of OP for Recycling Extravaganza this Saturday at the Black & Veatch campus and 114th and Lamar. You don’t even have to get out of your car!!!
  • VillageFest Committee is looking for Spirit Award Nominees and pie bakers with new and interesting recipes!
  • Arts Council
  • Diversity Committee and JCRB are going to work together for a potential town hall event perhaps addressing anti-Semitism or perhaps broader issues affecting the Jewish community. The state of KS legislature has put together another, much stricter, bill taking rights away from transgender humans, so the committee is beginning research on this issue. Lastly, Juneteenth is coming up on Saturday, June 17th.
  • Pension Board met last week, and it is notable that 2022 was not a good year for equity markets. The PV Pension Fund actuary reported to the board that after 2022 year, and the Pension Board will be recommending an increase commitment this year from ~$900k to $1.1M.
  • Parks & Recreation Committee wants you to remember to get your pool pass before the discount expires on April 30th! Also the Shawnee Mission Post identified two PV parks (Franklin and Meadowbrook parks) as 5 to Try.
  • The Tree Board welcomed two new members, Lindsay Voitik and Mark Kaufman, and they discussed sweet gum trees as possible “troublesome trees” for further review. An Arbor Day celebration will be April 29th at 10am at Porter Park. Also, if you’d like to watch how Champion Trees are measured, visit Taliaferro Park on April 26th at 10:30am to see how it’s done while they measure a Yellow Wood for possible championship.
  • Mayor’s Report
    • Next year’s Budget process is underway, building 2024 from the ground up
    • Staff, the mayor, and civic center leadership had preliminary meetings with the Y and JoCo Library regarding the civic center.
    • Mayor attended the Prairie Hills Homes Association annual meeting and had a great turnout and lots of good questions, but not an overwhelming amount about housing.
    • Congrats to the Junior Shawnee Mission East Academic World Quest team for winning the regional competition this past week, and they will be going to DC to compete in nationals at the end of April! (Go, Abi, Jackson, Reese, and Rowan!!)
    • Reminder: Bulky Item & Mattress Pick-up weekends begin April 22 until all of PV is complete.

Committee Level Discussions (no binding action taken)

  • Community Center
    • Survey results (see presentation notes above)
    • YMCA partnership – Mark Hulet (see presentation notes above)
    • Next steps – Wes Jordan
      • Will need to hire an “owner’s representative” to guide us through this very technical process.
      • Will need a Memo of Understanding with the Y.
      • Will need a Memo of Understanding with the Library.

For residents having reservations, it may help them to know that this time around (as opposed to 10 years ago) we, Council and Staff, did this in phases; smaller chunks with off ramp options at any point if we decide it’s not the right time. For this next phase, we’ll have costs for attorney fees (to review MOUs), site design and community input (~$75k for City portion), and owner’s rep fees (by phase again). If this next stage’s results are not favorable, we can end the relationships there. If this goes to a mail-in ballot (~$65k), and the residents do not pass it, we can end the relationships there.

Additionally, we have debt rolling off the books, and there is a high probability, though not for sure yet, that the City Hall/Police Department project (another project this City is considering) could be done without adding any mills to the tax levy or additional debt. So this doesn’t need to be an either/or question. We may very well be able to make the infrastructure improvements that we need to do for the City functions (City Hall/Police Department), and also provide a much-requested City amenity to our community (a community center).

Lastly, grant dollars may be available for the City Hall/Police Department project through the Inflation Reduction Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act through the state of Kansas and/or MARC, as pointed out by Councilmember Greg Shelton.

Council voted 10-2 to to approve the next phase in consideration of a Community Center and Library as outlined by Staff (three “Will need to” bullet points above). Councilmember Gallagher voted nay, but it seemed mostly because he wants to make sure these two projects are considered together, and while they are separate (and they need to remain separate for timing and for grant opportunities), I am confident that they will be considered together in overall site design, function, and aesthetic.

  • 2024 Budget
    • 2024 decision packages – None were submitted by Councilmembers in consideration of upcoming tight budgets.
    • 2024 preliminary general fund revenue assumptions
      • Most City revenue sources have recovered post-COVID
      • The mill levy was reduced by 1 mill in 2022 for the 2023 budget year. The 2024 budget projection, at this time, assumes NO change to the mill levy. (The Finance Committee will take up the mill levy discussion at their meetings to make a recommendation to the full Council.)
    • 2024 budget requests – All committee budgets were approved: one committee raised their request, three stayed static, and one lowered their request.

Agenda Packet for your reference: 04/03/2023 and 04/17/2023.


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!


P.S. If you haven’t heard, I officially have a challenger for my City Council seat, and I need your support to win the upcoming election. More info, including ways to volunteer, will be forthcoming! Thank you in advance! ❤❤❤

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