Will a cluster mailbox be coming to your neighborhood next?

by Mary Rupert

Cluster mailboxes, an idea that has been proposed to make the postal service more efficient, have found their way to the Highland Crest and Cathedral neighborhoods, according to a Kansas City, Kan., resident.

Joan Spero, a Kansas City, Kan., resident who has served as a district liaison with the National Association of Letter Carriers and Auxiliary, appeared before a Unified Government Committee on Monday night to talk about cluster mailboxes.

Spero said one group of cluster mailboxes is about four blocks from her residence. She expressed her belief that house-to-house mail delivery is a right of postal customers.

She said it is up to the postal customer, part of the Postal Operations Manual, whether or not his mail is delivered to his house or to a cluster mailbox. She said people who live in a neighborhood have to be asked if they want to have cluster boxes before they are installed.

Spero said she was concerned about safety and health of residents, especially elderly residents, who might have to walk a distance to get their mail. Some are not physically able to walk that distance, she said. Also, she said she was concerned about theft from cluster mailbox break-ins. There has already been a theft ring involving cluster mailboxes in Johnson County, she said, citing a news article.

In August, she said, a switch was made to cluster boxes for 28 homes in the Highland Crest area, with the reason given that a mail carrier was bitten by a dog. Spero said she had talked with the letter carrier and discovered that it was a slight injury, it did not break the skin, the letter carrier received a Band-Aid and returned to work the next day. There haven’t been serious dog bites to carriers in the Kansas City, Kan., area for more than 20 years, she said.

“We would like you to let your constituents know what their rights are,” Spero told the commissioners.

She also said residents wrote to U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder to see what they could do about it.

The postal service spokeswoman for this area, Stacy St. John, was contacted for a response and said that she had not heard what was said at the meeting, and so she could not comment on it.

Using cluster boxes is part of postal reform nationwide because it is the most efficient way to serve customers, she said.

It was part of a postal reform bill that has not been approved by Congress. At this time, district managers approve delivery mode changes, St. John said. There is no movement for customers to involuntarily change their mode of delivery. If customers wanted to change to cluster boxes, the postal service would take that into consideration, she said.

To reach Mary Rupert, editor, email maryr@wyandottepublishing.com.

Rollover crash on I-35 results in injury

A rollover crash on I-35 south of Southwest Boulevard in Kansas City, Kan., resulted in an injury, according to a Kansas Highway Patrol trooper’s report.

The crash at 7:40 a.m. Nov. 20 happened when the driver of a Ford passenger car on I-35 southbound lost control, struck the outside wall and the vehicle rolled over, the trooper’s report stated.

The driver, a 24-year-old driver from Kansas City, Mo., was injured and taken to a hospital in Kansas City, Kan., according to the report.

Public hearing scheduled tonight on issuing industrial revenue bonds

A public hearing is scheduled tonight on $17.2 million in industrial revenue bonds for Associated Wholesale Grocers property at 5000 Kansas Ave. in Kansas City, Kan.

The Unified Government Commission meeting will begin at 7 p.m. Nov. 20 in the Commission Chambers, City Hall, lobby level, 701 N. 7th St., Kansas City, Kan.

The commission will consider an ordinance to allow issuing $17.2 million in industrial revenue bonds for AWG’s property, including a newly constructed corporate office tower.

According to UG documents, AWG has consolidated its offices into a newly constructed corporate office tower at the property location.

Previously the commission authorized issuing $6.5 million in IRBS and a payment in lieu of taxes scheduled with an 80 percent tax abatement on the new office tower only. The PILOT also included base tax values for the existing land and improvements.

The Court of Tax Appeals granted the exemption, but only for the new office tower financed with the $6.5 million in IRBs, according to UG documents.

The current PILOT includes the other land and improvements, and that property is also subject to ad valorem taxes, UG documents stated. The current request for $17.2 million in IRBs is enough to finance all AWG property, the documents stated. The PILOT would remain the same, with only the new office tower eligible for the tax abatement.

On the consent agenda for the meeting:

– Two ordinances authorizing the issuance of industrial revenue bonds for PQ Corp.’s expansion at 1700 Kansas Ave. The first is for $22 million and the second, for $34.1 million. Last year the commission adopted a resolution approving the intent to issue $219 million in IRBs and a 75 percent tax abatement, and approved an ordinance to issue $101 million in IRBs for the project.

– Resolutions to authorize improvements and the manner to pay for them in the CMIP budget for 2015 temporary note and bond financing. This includes 14 projects in the 2015 CMIP budget; eight ongoing projects in the 2015 CMIP budget requiring an amendment or additional financing; and reimbursement for five projects the UG expects to make capital improvements and intends to reimburse itself.

– A resolution approving General Motors performance agreement regarding a paint shop addition at the Fairfax Assembly Plant. There is a 50 percent payment in lieu of taxes for the $80 million expansion. If automotive suppliers to the plant locate in Wyandotte County, there may be an additional 5 percent per supplier applied to the PILOT, up to 75 percent maximum.

– An ordinance to authorize UG lawyers to commence legal proceedings to acquire property for the Oak Grove Road, South 53rd to South 55th Street project.

– A plat submitted of KCK PACES, 59th and Nogard.

Also on the agenda:

– Appointments by the mayor to the 47th and Mission Road Area Development and Management Committee of Commissioner Hal Walker, Commissioner Ann Murguia and Heidi Holliday, Rosedale Development Association.

– Several Land Bank properties for yard expansion.

To see the UG Commission agenda, visit www.wycokck.org, and go to “Public Meetings.”