by Murrel Bland
Wyandotte County will continue indefinitely under the restrictions of Phase 3 of the Ad Astra Plan to Reopen Kansas.
That was the message that Mayor David Alvey conveyed to members of the Congressional Forum Thursday, June 18, during a special teleconference via Zoom.
The forum usually meets the third Friday of each month. However, Mayor Alvey, along with several other Unified Government employees, have been furloughed because of budget restraints.
Mayor Alvey will not work Mondays and Fridays for the next five weeks. Lack of sales tax revenue, particularly from the Village West areas, has caused the Unified Government to be about $23 million short for its 2020 budget. Estimates are it will mean an $18 million shortage for 2021.
Gov. Laura Kelly submitted the Ad Astra Plan May 26 to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. Under Phase 3 of the plan, Mayor Alvey urged residents to wear masks, maintain a six-foot distance during indoor and outdoor activities, avoid socializing with groups of more than 45 persons and to wash their hands regularly.
Mayor Alvey said the Unified Government will be guided by medical personnel whose actions are data-driven. He said there has been a recent increase in the number of COVID patients in Wyandotte County.
Mayor Alvey said a class of 24 police cadets will not be hired as officers because of the
budget shortfall. He said that is unfortunate as the Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department conducted an extensive recruiting effort to attract these police recruits who live here.
Mayor Alvey praised the many groups that he met with, via teleconference, including area clergy, business leaders and public officials.
Mayor Alvey said despite the pandemic, various economic development projects are moving ahead including the Turner Logistics and the American Royal developments.
The Congressional Forum is a committee of the Kansas City, Kansas, Area Chamber of Commerce. About 50 persons were registered for the teleconference.
Murrel Bland is the former editor of The Wyandotte West and The Piper Press. He is executive director of Business West.