UG committee scheduled to discuss trash service tonight

The Unified Government Public Works and Safety Committee is scheduled to discuss trash service, among other topics, at its 5 p.m. meeting tonight at City Hall.

The meeting will be held at 5 p.m. July 23 on the fifth floor of City Hall, 701 N. 7th St., Kansas City, Kansas.

According to the agenda, there will be an update of recent and ongoing operational changes and performance indicators with Waste Management. No commission action is scheduled.

Other topics on the UG committee meeting agenda include:

• An Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance grant that will be used to send senior command staff in the Police Department to advanced leadership training. Also, funding would be used to replace out-of-date software. The grant, previously approved by the UG Commission, is for $106,511 and covers from October of 2017 through September of 2020.

• Application for a VOCA grant for the Victim Services Unit, requesting $301,096 in federal funds, which would create an additional victim advocate position.

• A resolution to approve a survey for a storm drainage project at 42nd and Argentine Boulevard, and to create an ordinance allowing the UG to acquire the property for the project.

• An ordinance to amend UG ordinances repealing a penalty for refusal of preliminary breath tests, to come into compliance with state legislative amendments.

• A resolution adopting a joint agreement of the UG with the Bonner Springs-Edwardsville Public Schools to provide a school resource officer serving at elementary schools in Bonner Springs and Edwardsville. Under this agreement, the Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Office would provide a deputy to serve as a school resource officer in the three elementary schools in the district. The Bonner Springs school board must also approve this agreement at its Aug. 6 meeting. The officer would collaborate with school administrators, but would ultimately be responsible to the Sheriff’s Office. Under the agreement, the school district would reimburse the UG $65,568 for the officer for a year.

A UG budget workshop will follow the 5 p.m. committee meeting on the fifth floor of City Hall.

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Downtown KCK improvement district asks UG for increased contribution

The Self-Supporting Municipal Improvement District (SSMID) for downtown Kansas City, Kansas, on Thursday asked the Unified Government for an increased contribution.

At the UG budget meeting on July 19, Jason Norbury, executive director of the Downtown Shareholders and the SSMID administrator, asked the UG for a voluntary contribution of $125,000, up from the previous $100,000.

Tim Ryan, advisory board chair for the SSMID, said the $125,000 would allow for improvement of the pocket parks downtown. In the SSMID, property owners of the downtown district passed an effort several years ago to voluntarily increase their taxes to provide more cleanliness and security.

He said the cleaner and safer environment has led to increased sales downtown.

“I’ve honestly seen so much progress take place, I wouldn’t like to see us slide back any further,” Ryan said. “We want to accelerate things as fast as we can to continue the progress.”

The UG Commission on July 17 set the SSMID for downtown Kansas City, Kansas, maximum mill levy rate at 12 mills, higher than the recommended 11.02 mills, which allows the commission flexibility to change the recommended 11.02 mills.

Norbury said the SSMID contract with the UG requires the improvement district to submit a budget to the UG by May 15 of each year. The budget is based on property valuations, which are not final until June, he added. Norbury said the SSMID will work with the UG’s legal office to amend it so they don’t have to ask for a change to their May estimates every year.

Norbury said the SSMID based its figures on preliminary information from the appraiser’s office for the 11.02 mill request in May.

The assessments were higher than the original estimates, and a change at the old EPA building on Fifth Street, which was formerly privately owned and leased to the EPA, has affected the estimates, according to Norbury.

The University of Kansas Health Systems Strawberry Hill campus building, which is the old EPA building, will be coming off the tax rolls in 2019, he said. He added that KU Health Systems has also been supportive of making a contribution to the SSMID, although there isn’t a final amount on it yet.

The 11.02 mill levy would require the UG to make a $125,000 contribution to make the budget work, Norbury said. There was a $12,000 gap between what the staff recommended and the actual projected income.

“If the commission were to adopt our recommendation of $125,000 voluntary contribution, I believe it would allow the commission to lower the mill rate for the SSMID from the recommended 11.02 or last year’s 12.06 down to a mill levy of approximately 10.35 mills,” Norbury said.

If the commission chooses to go with the UG staff’s recommendation of $100,000, that would mean a mill levy would need to be about 11.65 mills to make it work, he said.

“We think the municipal improvement district has done a very good job over its existence,” he said. The UG Commission voted to continue it two years ago.

“We are proud of the work we’ve been doing, and the budget we’ve put forth allow us to continue that,” Norbury said.

The proposed budget allows them to continue the work, and to begin work on improving some of the public spaces and making downtown more inviting, he said.

The first project is a pocket park, and they are proposing to make some improvements to a little cutout area on the southwest corner of Seventh and Minnesota Avenue, he said. It will be a multi-year project, he added. The proposed budget from the SSMID will allow them to move this project forward while giving a 2-mill break to property owners from 2018 to 2019.

Mayor David Alvey said he understood that there was an agreement the UG had with the Downtown Shareholders SSMID, but the UG never fulfilled that agreement.

Norbury said the figure for the UG contribution originally was $150,000, and in a recessionary time from 2007 to 2009, the number dropped to zero. The UG Commission then raised it to $100,000, where it has remained for years, Norbury said.

Commissioner Melissa Bynum said if the UG’s financial staff works on the financial figures and agrees with the SSMID’s spreadsheet, Bynum would be supportive of the SSMID’s request.

The UG Commission plans another budget meeting after the Public Works and Safety Committee meeting tonight. The committee meeting is at 5 p.m. Monday, July 23, in the fifth floor, City Hall, 701 N. 7th St., Kansas City, Kansas.

Possible topics of discussion at the July 23 budget meeting are a capital maintenance improvement program update, including street preservation program, K-7 and Parallel, western fire station timeline, dedicated sales tax projects, Public Building Commission debt project with the juvenile project; as well as building security and the Kaw River levee.

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Injury-accident reported after car runs red light at K-7 near Leavenworth Road

An injury-accident was reported at 9:30 a.m. July 22 on K-7 near Leavenworth Road, according to a Kansas Highway Patrol trooper’s report.

A Chrysler car was northbound on K-7 while a Ford sport utility vehicle was turning east onto Leavenworth Road, the trooper’s report stated.

The Chrysler ran a red light and struck the Ford, the trooper’s report stated.

The driver of the Chrysler, a 62-year-old woman from Basehor, Kansas, was injured and taken to a hospital, the trooper’s report stated.

The driver of the Ford SUV, a 36-year-old woman from Lansing, Kansas, was not injured, the report stated.

A 17-year-old passenger in the Ford SUV also was not injured, the report stated.

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