Blog Page 555

In the event of inclement weather, call the sponsoring organization first to see if the event is still being held.

Democrats to meet Saturday
The Wyandotte County Third Saturday Democratic Breakfast will meet this Saturday, Feb. 21, at Kansas City Kansas Community College, 7250 State Ave. The meeting will be in Room 2325-2326, located in the bottom floor of the Jewell Building. The meeting will include a forum for all Democratic candidates in the upcoming spring elections. Democratic candidates in both the primary and general elections will be invited to speak. Candidates should contact Scott Mackey at scottmackey08@yahoo.com if they plan to attend and speak. A breakfast buffet will be available at 8:15 a.m., with the forum beginning at 9:15 a.m. The cost of the breakfast buffet is $10, or $7 for students and those on limited incomes. Democrats and independent voters are invited to attend the meeting. People who plan to attend the breakfast and meeting may make reservations by Friday, Feb. 20, to scottmackey08@yahoo.com. Reservations are not necessary to attend, but are encouraged.

Community meeting planned with police chief, sheriff
A community forum is planned Feb. 21 for the community to meet local law enforcement officers. The coffee and doughnuts hour is planned at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 21, at the East Fellowship Hall, Mount Zion Baptist Church, 417 Richmond Ave., Kansas City, Kan. It is a joint effort of the Kansas City, Kan., Baptist Ministers Union and participating churches, with local law enforcement officers. Police Chief Terry R. Zeigler and Wyandotte County Sheriff Don Ash, with some of their officers, will be the guests at the meeting. The meeting will be from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. According to an announcement, the purpose of the coffee hour is to acquaint the public with the police and sheriff departments, in the hope of building the best possible relationship between the community and local law enforcement agencies. The Baptist Ministers Union Civic Committee includes the Rev. C.L. Bachus, the Rev. Jimmie L. Banks, the Rev. Rickey D. Turner and the Rev. Bobby Young, president.

In the event of inclement weather, call the sponsoring organization first to see if the event is still being held.

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The Wyandotte County District Attorney’s Office charged Phillip Lavon Taylor, 17, with one count of aggravated battery. Taylor is a 17-year-old juvenile and was charged in the juvenile division of the district court.

Taylor is charged in connection with an attack Thursday evening on a female at the Juvenile Intake and Assessment Center, according to the district attorney’s office. JIAC is a juvenile office where juveniles who are taken into custody by police are processed for release to parents, legal guardians or some other residential center. JIAC processes juveniles who are not going to be detained in the juvenile detention center.

Taylor was taken to JIAC by Kansas City, Kan., police. Taylor is charged with attacking a female worker in the JIAC offices, the district attorney’s office stated. The worker was transported to the University of Kansas Medical Center where she was treated and released.

Taylor is currently being held in the Wyandotte County Juvenile Detention Center awaiting an appearance in juvenile court on Monday. A motion to determine whether Taylor should be prosecuted as adult has been filed with the district court.

Taylor appeared on Jan. 23 in the Wyandotte County Juvenile Division of the District Court for sentencing on two misdemeanor battery cases, according to the district attorney’s office. These two cases are unrelated to each other and to the present charges.

The court sentenced Taylor on the misdemeanor charges and closed the cases without requiring a probation be served.

Taylor is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Advocates of more funding for animal control outnumbered other members of the public who spoke at a budget public hearing Thursday evening at the Unified Government Commission meeting.

Six persons out of 11 speakers called for the UG to spend more money on animal control.

UG Administrator Doug Bach said this public hearing helps the UG set its priorities for the upcoming budget. There will be another budget hearing in July, UG officials said. They are considering the revised 2015 budget and the 2016 budget.

UG Budget Director Reginald Lindsey said that the UG budgeted $295.8 million for the 2015 budget. Property taxes make up 27 percent of the revenue. Public safety is the largest expenditure, at $129 million, he said.

The ending fund balance dropped $33 million from 2004-2005 to 2010, when it was $1.8 million, Lindsey reported. Currently, it has gone up to $7.5 million, but it is still $12 million lower than the targeted fund balance of 10 percent of expenditures, according to Lindsey.

UG officials said there will be an opportunity for local programs and residents to request funding under the Community Development Block Grant. Requests are due before noon Feb. 27. Forms are online at www.wycokck.org.

On the topic of animal control, Kate Fields of the Greater Kansas City Humane Society said that the current staffing for animal control is five officers, while a city this size requires eight to 10 officers. She asked that the UG unfreeze two positions to allow more animal control officers to go out on call.

She said that the UG can have all the laws it wants, but if there are not enough officers to cover, it’s a moot point.

Four other organizations that deal with pets and animals also were represented in the public comments, asking for more funding for animal control. Some of them also asked for an end to the pit bull ban.

Also appearing at the public hearing was Mark Wiebe, who requested increased funding for Wyandot Center. He said Wyandot Center ranks in the bottom 10 percent per capita spending for mental health spending by counties in Kansas. It receives around $550,000 a year from the UG.

Most recently, he said Wyandot Center opened a crisis stabilization facility in the Rosedale area that saves the county money by preventing persons from being sent to the county jail or a state institution. Sending a person to jail is more expensive than to the crisis facility. He said he would like to see funding increased for Wyandot Center.

Murrel Bland, executive director of Business West, asked the commission to hold the line on property taxes, and thanked them for doing that last year. He also thanked them for extending the waiver of building permit fees and sewer hookup fees for new single-family housing.

He said last year, there were 160 new single-family building permits issued in Wyandotte County, only half of what it should be based on population. With 8 percent of the population of the metro area, Wyandotte County has only about 4 percent of new single-family home permits, he said.

High property taxes are discouraging residential development, he said. He asked the commission to reduce property taxes when the STAR (sales tax revenue) bonds are paid off for Village West. He asked for a college student study on how local units of government could cooperate to reduce property taxes. He also said there is a serious need to attract young adult college students to Wyandotte County, and suggested inviting college juniors and seniors to a recruiting program here where they could attend a job fair.

Melissa Clark, executive director of the Fairfax Industrial Association, said Fairfax district generates $4.5 billion in average annual sales, and paid $16.5 million in property taxes in 2014, including $7.5 million to the UG.

Fairfax needs reinvestment into infrastructure, she said. She asked for the continued funding for curbs and sidewalks of $100,000 a year, and asked for an increase when the STAR bonds are paid off.

Tom Lally, president of Heartland Habitat for Humanity, said that the agency had received $1.6 million in HOME funds since 2004, and had leveraged it effectively to bring in $12 million in affordable housing. The Habitat agency here has built 108 homes since 2004, and has worked with code enforcement to make minor home exterior repairs on local homes.

Chuck Schlittler, director of the Downtown Shareholders, said the downtown area, which he defined as 4th to 18th streets, Washington to Sandusky, had $1.2 billion in economic activity in 2013. He said there were a lot of positives in the area, including a lower crime rate.

Schlittler asked for continued support for downtown and the new Downtown Parkway District, which includes the proposed healthy campus.

In other action, the UG also held a public hearing for the Neighborhood Revitalization plan.

The plan is being expanded to two new areas with the agreement of local school districts, according to UG officials. One of the areas is Piper and the other is the K-32 corridor, officials said. For Piper, projects would be for rehab only, 95 percent for five years.

During discussion, Commissioner Mike Kane asked if there was a way to bring back prevailing wage to the requirements. However, the Legislature removed prevailing wage as a requirement last year. There was some discussion about finding a way to encourage it without making it mandatory.

Also, during a hearing, Greg Kindle of the Wyandotte Economic Development Council asked if the UG could freeze appraisals of base values during construction. He said during construction and renovation, the appraiser’s office had raised base values, in some cases doubling the taxes while they are trying to grow the projects.

Bach said it may take some time to examine policies and make additional changes to the NRA program.

In other action, the UG voted to designate Commissioner Tarence Maddox as a UG voting delegate to the League of Cities conference in Washington, D.C.

The UG Commission also passed a number of items without discussing them, including:

– A change that would create a code enforcement administrative fine process. This would move the process away from municipal court and to an administrative hearing, and would assess fines.
– A resolution directing user fee revenues paid by those entering into agreement with the UG for the use of the UG’s emergency communication system be deposited into the county equipment reserve fund.
– An ordinance to authorize the repeal of a resolution and ordinance about State Avenue 240 industrial revenue bonds. The development was unable to obtain a lender for the project at 122nd and State, according to the agenda.
– Two resolutions of intent to issue industrial revenue bonds for SVV I LLC (Schlitterbahn Vacation Village). This is a development in the area of 98th and Parallel Parkway to State Avenue. The bonds are $57 million for the auto plaza area, and $140 million for areas 1, 3, 4 and 5.

– Land Bank applications.

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