Fire call

Dec. 9
100 block of North Boeke, structure fire, heavy smoke and fire, fully involved, aggressive attack on fire, fire extinguished.

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Saturday events

Breakfast with Santa planned Saturday at KCKCC
Kansas City Kansas Community College Student Senate is hosting the college’s annual Breakfast with Santa event Saturday. The event is from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 9, in the Jewell Building, Lower Jewell Student Center on the KCKCC main campus, 7250 State Ave. The event is free for the entire family. While at KCKCC, each family will receive a free picture with Santa and be able to enjoy fun and interactive activities throughout the morning. The event will start with a parade of Santa’s helpers right before Santa makes his grand entrance. A few activities include writing a letter to Santa at the KCKCC Lil’ Blue Post Office, cookie decorating, games, singing carols, Play Station for Toddlers and Preschooler, storytelling with Mrs. Claus and more. The event is free and open to everyone in the community.

Santa Express continues Saturday and Sunday at Ag Hall
The Santa Express will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 9 and 10, at the National Agricultural Center and Hall of Fame, 126th and State Avenue, Bonner Springs. Children may visit Santa in the depot, ride on the train, work on crafts, and have cookies and hot cocoa. Donations will benefit Farm Town restoration. For more information, visit http://www.aghalloffame.com/.

Library book sale to be Saturday
The Main Kansas City, Kansas, Public Library, 625 Minnesota Ave., will hold a used book sale from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9. Gently used books will be available for purchase at 50 cents for paperbacks and $1 for hardbacks.

Friends of Yates’ annual benefit gala to be Dec. 9
Friends of Yates will celebrate 104 years of service by holding the “Holiday At The Apollo” annual meeting and Benefit Gala at 11:30 a.m. Dec. 9 at the Jack Reardon Convention Center, 520 Minnesota Ave., Kansas City, Kansas. This year’s event will showcase the many programs and services that attribute to the continued success of Friends of Yates, according to a spokesman. For tickets and further information about Friends of Yates’ Holiday at the Apollo annual meeting and gala, contact the office at 913-321-1566. Also visit http://wyandottedaily.com/friends-of-yates-annual-benefit-gala-to-be-dec-9/.

Blood drive scheduled Dec. 9
A Red Cross blood drive is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9, at Cabelas, 10300 Cabela Drive, Kansas City, Kansas. For more information or to schedule a blood donation, visit www.redcrossblood.org.

Make a gift at library program Saturday
A craft program will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9, at the West Wyandotte Library, 1737 N. 82nd St., Kansas City, Kansas. Those attending may make gifts from a variety of supplies that will be provided. The program is for children, teens, adults and seniors. Children under 9 must be accompanied by an adult.

Send information about your event in Wyandotte County to news@wyandottedaily.com. Be sure to include your name and contact information.

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Holland proposes salary hike for UG mayor, commission

Mayor Mark Holland at the Dec. 7 Unified Government Commission meeting proposed salary increases for the UG mayor and UG commissioners, to take effect in 2022.

“They are both too low,” he said at the Dec. 7 meeting. “It is much easier for an outgoing mayor to propose this than it is for an incoming mayor to propose this.”

The mayor said when a change is made to compensation, it needs to go through an election cycle, for ethical reasons. A change that is made now would take effect in 2022 under his proposal, not benefiting those who have just run for election.

UG attorney Ken Moore said the idea expressed in the UG charter is that commissioners would not vote for a pay raise that occurred in their term. By waiting four years to implement it, everyone would experience another election before it would go into effect.

Salaries for UG commissioners were set in 1997 at $1,000 a month for in-district commissioners and $1,200 a month for at-large commissioners, Holland said. There was no cost-of-living increase included for commissioners’ salaries, so they have remained the same for 20 years, he added.

The in-district commissioners also receive $300 a month for a car allowance, with commissioners at large receiving $350 per month; as well as $275 a month each for a technology service support stipend, and a $1,000 technology equipment assistance stipend every four years.

Other UG salaries, including the mayor’s, were set to receive whatever the average increase that other UG employees receive, he said. If some UG employees received a 1 percent raise and others received a 3 percent raise, that would be averaged to result in the mayor’s raise, he said.

If average increases had been applied through the years, the commissioners’ salary would have been $17,700 for in-district commissioners and $21,252 for at-large commissioners, he said.

He proposed to institute the $17,700 and $21,252 now, let it increase with a cost-of-living increase, and implement it in 2022, he said.

Holland compared UG commission salaries to those of county commissioners in other communities. Johnson County commissioners made $53,589 a year; Douglas County, $33,862 a year; Leavenworth County, $40,995 a year; Sedgwick County, $91,285 a year; Shawnee County, $52,000 a year; and Miami County, $28,200 a year.

In Missouri, similar positions received $64,421 in Platte County; $64,207 in Cass County, $59,085 in Clay County; and $28,166 in Ray County. City council members in Kansas City, Mo., received $61,569, according to the UG report.

In the same manner, Holland suggested the mayor’s salary be increased. He did not set a proposed amount for it, but he listed several salaries to compare it with.

The UG mayor and chief executive officer makes $89,232 a year, compared to district court judges here at $120,037; the Wyandotte County sheriff at $108,530; the Wyandotte County district attorney at $140,670; and the Wyandotte County register of deeds at $85,904.

The Johnson County Commission chairman makes $83,640; and the Kansas City, Mo., mayor receives $123,156, according to UG information.

“I would suggest this leadership position is on par with a district court judge and should be paid similarly,” Holland said. “This role is every bit as taxing as being a judge.”

He said the mayor’s salary was in the high 50s in the 1990s and has grown to its present $89,232 after cost-of-living adjustments. He suggested bringing it up to a higher level, and having the COLA continue.

Mayor Holland said his original plan was to bring this issue to the strategic planning session in February, but he is bringing it up now since he won’t be there in February. Mayor-elect David Alvey is scheduled to take office next month.

Holland said he wanted the commission to consider the compensation issue at its Dec. 21 meeting. Since it is a charter change, it would need eight votes, he said.

Commissioner Ann Murguia was the only commissioner to comment on it Thursday at the meeting, saying she was in favor of an increase. “This is long overdue,” she said.

The Wyandotte Daily has not yet heard any announcements of anyone running for office in 2022.

In other action on Thursday, Dec. 7, the UG Commission passed a number of items on the consent agenda, without discussing them at the meeting. The items included:

• Issuing industrial revenue bonds of up to $46 million for the Dairy Farmers of America project. The DFA building was completed earlier this year (see http://wyandottedaily.com/visitors-tour-beautiful-environmentally-friendly-dairy-farmers-of-america-building/). The commission in 2015 approved a resolution of intent to issue the bonds for the project. They will be taxable IRBs, according to the proposed ordinance. The bonds are for 110,000 square feet of office facilities, equipping and acquiring the property near 98th between State Avenue and Parallel Parkway. A total property tax abatement for 10 years is proposed for the project, according to the ordinance. According to the proposed ordinance, the UG would lease the project to the DFA.
• Revisions to the county emergency operations plan.
• Revisions to the county debris management plan.
• An ordinance revising the city limits of Kansas City, Kansas. The commission previously approved two ordinances excluding two properties from the city limits in a deannexation of land near Lake Quivira and Holliday Drive.
• Adoption of a UG-owned building and park renaming policy. The policy is outlined in the Dec. 7 agenda.
• Nomination of Kevin Jones to the Golf Advisory Board, submitted by Commissioner Jane Philbrook.
• A resolution that canceled the UG Commission meeting date of Dec. 14. The commission recently added Dec. 4 and Dec. 21 to its schedule of meeting dates. According to a resolution passed on Dec. 4, the public hearing on the Legends garage and lawn green space Community Improvement District will be held at 7 p.m. Dec. 21 at the Commission Chambers, lobby level, City Hall.

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