CITY OF SHAWNEE
CITY COUNCIL MEETING
July 11, 2016
Michelle Distler - Mayor
|Councilmembers Present ||Staff Present|
|Councilmember Pflumm||City Manager Gonzales|
|Councilmember Neighbor||Deputy City Manager Charlesworth|
|Councilmember Jenkins||Assistant City Manager Sunderman|
|Councilmember Kemmling||City Clerk Powell |
|Councilmember Vaught||City Attorney Rainey|
|Councilmember Meyer||Finance Director Rogers|
|Councilmember Sandifer||Development Services Dir. Wesselschmidt|
|Councilmember Kenig||Planning Director Chaffee|
|Public Works Director Whitacre|
|Parks and Recreation Director Holman|
|Stormwater Manager Gregory|
|Police Chief Moser|
|Deputy Fire Chief Scarpa|
|Police Captain Tennis|
|Police Captain Hein|
|Business Liaison Holtwick|
|Fire Marshal Sands|
|Deputy Parks and Recreation Dir. Lecuru|
|Police Captain Larson|
|Police Captain Mendoza|
|Battalion Chief Vining|
|Battalion Chief Hoelting|
|Police Captain Brunner|
|Deputy Police Chief Orbin|
|Management Analyst Schmitz|
|Human Resource Director Barnard|
|Sr. Accountant Oldham|
(Shawnee City Council Meeting Called to Order at 7:30 p.m.)
A. ROLL CALL
MAYOR DISTLER: Good evening and welcome to tonight's meeting of the Shawnee City Council. I would ask that you please silence your electronic devices at this time.
I am Mayor Michelle Distler and I will be chairing this meeting. I will do a roll call at this time. Councilmember Neighbor.
COUNCILMEMBER NEIGHBOR: Present.
MAYOR DISTLER: Councilmember Pflumm.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: Present.
MAYOR DISTLER: Councilmember Jenkins.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Present.
MAYOR DISTLER: Councilmember Kemmling.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Present.
MAYOR DISTLER: Councilmember Vaught.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: Present.
MAYOR DISTLER: Councilmember Meyer.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Present.
MAYOR DISTLER: Councilmember Sandifer.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: Present.
MAYOR DISTLER: Councilmember Kenig.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Present.
MAYOR DISTLER: Thank you.
B. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE AND MOMENT OF SILENCE
MAYOR DISTLER: Please stand and join us for the Pledge of Allegiance followed by a moment of silence.
(Pledge of Allegiance and Moment of Silence)
MAYOR DISTLER: Thank you. Before we begin our agenda, I'd like to explain our procedures for public input. During the meeting I will offer the opportunity for public input. If you would like to speak to the Council at any of those times, please come forward to the microphone. I will ask you to state your name and address for the record, then you may offer your comments. So that members of the audience can hear your comments, I would ask that you speak directly into the microphone. By policy, comments are limited to five minutes and no person may speak more than twice to any one agenda item. After you are finished, please sign the form on the podium to ensure we have an accurate record of your name and address.
I would also like to remind Councilmembers to wait to be recognized before speaking. When you are recognized, be sure to turn on your microphone. Please turn the microphone off when you are done speaking.
In addition, while we won't do a roll call vote on every vote, I will state Councilmembers' names who vote in minority so that our listening audience will have a clear and accurate record of the vote.
I also want to state that we do not need to have an Executive Session tonight as shown on the agenda.
C. CONSENT AGENDA
1. APPROVE MINUTES FROM THE CITY COUNCIL MEETING OF JUNE 27, 2016.
2. APPROVE MINUTES FROM THE COUNCIL COMMITTEE MEETING OF JUNE 21, 2016.
3. REVIEW MINUTES FROM THE PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING OF JUNE 20, 2016.
4. CONSIDER EXTENSION OF SUP-03-95-05, A SPECIAL USE PERMIT PREVIOUSLY ISSUED TO SHELLY HOOG FOR THE OPERATION OF SHELLY’S HAIR SALON, A ONE-CHAIR IN-HOME BEAUTY SALON LOCATED AT 22110 WEST 64TH PLACE.
5. CONSIDER EXTENSION OF SUP-06-89-05, A SPECIAL USE PERMIT PREVIOUSLY ISSUED TO FAMILY TREE NURSERY FOR ACCESSORY RETAIL SALES AT 7036 NIEMAN ROAD.
MAYOR DISTLER: The next item on the Agenda is the Consent Agenda. Does the Council have any items they would like to remove? Seeing none, I will accept a motion.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: Motion to approve.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: Second.
MAYOR DISTLER: A motion has been made and seconded on this item. All those in favor say aye.
MAYOR DISTLER: Opposed nay. Motion passes.
[Therefore, the motion was made by Councilmember Sandifer and seconded by Councilmember Pflumm to approve the Consent Agenda. The motion passed 8-0.]
D. MAYOR’S ITEMS
MAYOR DISTLER: The next item is Mayor's Items and I do not have any items tonight.
1. CONSIDER APPOINTMENT TO THE PLANNING COMMISSION
MAYOR DISTLER: The next item on the agenda is Appointments. Item Number 1 is to Consider Reappointments to the Planning Commission.
I am recommending the appointment of John Smith with a term expiring on June 30, 2019. Is there any discussion from the Council? Anyone from the audience want to comment on this item? And Mr. Smith is in the audience tonight it you would like to be recognized. Thank you so much. Seeing none, I will accept a motion.
COUNCILMEMBER NEIGHBOR: So moved.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Second.
MAYOR DISTLER: A motion has been made and seconded on this item. All those in favor say aye.
MAYOR DISTLER: Opposed nay. Motion passes. (Motion passes 8-0)
[Therefore, Councilmember Neighbor moved and Councilmember Meyer seconded to approve the appointment of John Smith to the Planning Commission with a term expiring on June 30, 2019. The motion passed 8-0.]
2. CONSIDER REAPPOINTMENT TO THE DOWNTOWN PARTNERSHIP
MAYOR DISTLER: Item Number 2 is to Consider the Downtown Partnership. The Shawnee Downtown Partnership is recommending the reappointment of Jeff Vaught with a term expiring July 8, 2019.
Is there any discussion from the Council? Anyone in the audience want to comment on this item? Seeing none, I will accept a motion.
COUNCILMEMBER NEIGHBOR: So moved.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Second.
MAYOR DISTLER: A motion has been made and seconded on this item. All those in favor say aye.
MAYOR DISTLER: Opposed nay. Motion passes.
[Therefore, Councilmember Neighbor moved and Councilmember Meyer seconded to approve the reappointment of Jeff Vaught to the Shawnee Downtown Partnership with a term expiring July 8, 2019. The motion passed 8-0.]
F. BUSINESS FROM THE FLOOR
MAYOR DISTLER: The next item on the agenda is Business from the Floor. Is there anyone who has comments on an issue that is not on tonight’s agenda? Please come forward. State your name and address for the record, please.
MR. ERLICHMAN: Ray Erlichman, (Address Omitted) here in Shawnee. Madam Mayor, members of the Governing Body. I actually have four items. But rather than get up, sit down, get up, sit down, get up, sit down, I was going to try and get it all done in one shot.
These are just some things pertaining to the history of the City and our heritage. And I’d like to ask the City Attorney, if you don’t mind, sir, because you’re closest, could you unfurl the flag behind you, the white one?
MR. RAINEY: Do you want me to hit anybody with it?
MR. ERLICHMAN: That’s the City flag. And something that’s been bothering me for quite a number of years, I even brought it up a few years ago, is that on the flagpoles here in front of City Hall and -- that’s okay. Thank you, Mr. Rainey. Out at the Justice Center down by the old Safety Center, we don’t have the City flag flying. We have an advertisement banner. Now, it’s nice, you know, Shawnee, Good Starts Here. That’s not a flag. To me that should hang between the lights like the Old Shawnee Days banners and everything else. And we have flags flying half-staff in memory of individuals that were killed in the line of duty. We have the Kansas flag flying at half-staff. We have the American flag at half-staff and we have an advertising banner flying at half-staff.
And when I brought this up a few years ago, I was told that we still had a couple extras of those flags around, or those advertising banners. Some people call them flags, I don’t. And that after those extras were gone through that we would look into maybe going back on the City flagpoles to that. I think the time has come and I just, you know, that’s just my personal opinion that the City flag belongs on the City flagpole, not the advertising banner. That’s the first one.
Second one. We spent a lot of money redoing this Council chambers. It looks, actually looks pretty decent. And for a couple weeks or a couple months coming in here something just seemed wrong. I couldn’t pinpoint it. It finally hit me. What happened to the pictures of all the mayors? We’re missing all the mayors’ pictures. And that’s part of the history and heritage of Shawnee. People go to the Thomas Soetaert, and I have trouble pronouncing his name, Aquatic Center, the Jim Allen. They come in here, they get a chance to see who these people are. Jeff Meyers, your predecessor, probably served one of the longest terms around or number of years as a mayor. And then even our current mayor has set history here by being the first woman to become elected. I think when people do the tours of City Hall it’s nice to have a little bit of that history and people find out who was the mayor, what happened during their terms and things like that. So, I’d like to see those pictures back up on the wall. All right. And I’m moving along here pretty good.
Item Number Three. Shawnee Town 1929. The City staff that’s involved with Shawnee Town and the volunteers have developed I think a fantastic display out there. It’s really, really becoming a premier go-to place for people to visit and see and everything else. And I think a lot of people need to be patted on the back a couple of times for what they’ve done to make it happen. And I think it’s fantastic. The only thing about it, and this is maybe just personal, but every time I hear Shawnee Town 1929 I cringe because of the year. That’s one of the worst years in American history. The stock market crashed, the beginning of the Recession, the big recession, or Depression and all that. So, I know the concept was to have it relate to the farming community in the 1920s, and I was just wondering, you know, maybe somebody could change it to Shawnee Town, the 20s, Shawnee Town 1925. And when people ask me about it, I still call it Shawnee Town. Just the 1929 just turns me off because I think it takes away from what all the folks that have put all the time and effort into making it what it is. All right. That’s three. Three out of four.
Number four. And it came up a couple of months ago, July 4th fireworks. We discontinued fireworks in the City I think it was around 2009, we were going partnership with Lenexa. And I think that’s about when we stopped in 2009-2010, because of the cost involved. And the cost would still be kind of high. And the way things are going around now where we’ve had to ask the people in Shawnee to pay additional sales taxes for this thing and that thing and what you, and possibly a mill levy increase and everything, it probably is not functional to have it come out of the City’s coffers. What I would like to see if possible is if our Chamber of Commerce would get with their counterpart in Lenexa, and maybe the Governing Body could ask them to look into it, and maybe get the businesses to sponsor a local July 4th like we used to have at Shawnee Mission Park with Lenexa and Shawnee. Or maybe even make it a combination businesses as sponsors and ask for donations from the citizens. Because that’s a beautiful venue out there. It could bring a lot of people. We could bring food trucks, whatever and, you know, let the celebration happen in our City again. It’s been so many years, and I think it would be good. And I think there is enough feeling out there, I would hope, that between the business and the citizens we could probably raise the money as a sponsorship program rather than it coming out of public funds.
And those were the four things I wanted to bring up. Thank you.
MAYOR DISTLER: Thank you. Is there anyone else tonight that has any comments on an issue that is not on tonight’s agenda? Okay. Seeing none.
G. PUBLIC ITEMS
1. CONSIDER A DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT WITH OAK MEADOWS, LLC FOR RENOVATION OF THE B&B SHAWNEE 18 THEATRES AND ADDITIONAL RESTAURANT/RETAIL SPACE AT WESTGLEN CENTER.
MAYOR DISTLER: The next time on the agenda is Public Items. Item Number 1 is to Consider a Development Agreement with Oak Meadows, LLC for renovation of the B&B Shawnee 18 Theaters and additional restaurant retail space at WestGlen Center.
The WestGlen Center at Renner Road and Midland Drive was developed in the 1990s. It includes an 18 screen theater, various restaurants and a hotel. Oak Meadows, LLC and B&B Theaters are planning major renovations and are requesting City assistance. Renovations include interior and exterior theater upgrades, parking lot improvements, and 6,000 square feet of new restaurant/retail pad site development along Midland Drive. The estimated cost for the Theater Project is $6.4 million, with $4.9 million in private investment and proposed $1.5 million in public assistance. The cost of the new restaurant/retail pad site development is unknown at this time, with a proposed $300,000 in City assistance.
The recommended action is to approve and authorize the Mayor to sign the Development Agreement.
Andrew Nave, the Executive Director of the Shawnee Economic Development Council has a brief presentation and will introduce the developer and the theater owners to share a little bit more about the project.
MR. NAVE: Thank you, Mayor, members of the Council. We have before you tonight a Development Agreement, which I think is going to be rather unique in its significance for economic development in Shawnee because this project is going to not only continue to provide what has been historically a first class amenity in our City and it has gotten a little older, but will also enhance the investments to both public and private that we’ve been making for attracting visitors to Shawnee.
As you all know this site, and I’ll just pull it up on a quick map for you. This site is right in the middle of Shawnee, right off 435 at Midland and Renner. And you know well that the two hotel properties that have been here for a number of years, a third that has just opened and two more across the street that are opening up. So, this is -- when visitors come to Shawnee this is often the primary shopping center that they engage with. And WestGlen 18, which is what it was originally sited and built and -- originally built and sited as WestGlen 12. And then with its success a few short years later they expanded it another six screens to WestGlen 18, and then recently renamed to Shawnee 18, has been a major draw for our visitors. Whether it’s folks coming from the ball fields and all of our sporting facilities, folks just staying at the hotel coming down the highway, certainly folks from the Legends and the Speedway, this is the shopping center, this is the area that many folks come to know Shawnee through. And this is an opportunity to I think really enhance that. So, from both a visitor and a resident perspective, I think this has a lot of appeal.
Give you a little background, just a very few highlights on WestGlen. This is the third largest shopping center in our City at 225,000 square feet. So, this is a major shopping center. Certainly anchored for many, many years by WestGlen 18. About year and a half ago, late 2014, Dickinson, who was the theater operator for many years of WestGlen was acquired by B&B Theaters out of Liberty, Missouri. B&B is one of the largest theater operators in the country and you’re going to hear from them tonight. But they acquired all the assets and the leases of Dickinson and have been operating our theater since that time.
And tonight, I’m really excited, they’re going to share a little bit about their plans and what they want to do with the property in moving it forward into the next generation. And I think you’re going to be just blown away by what they want to do.
But this is a, and like any project, this has certainly been a partnership. I want to introduce a few people here that are a part of that. Starting kind of at the bottom of your screen, the folks that are here, the private lender, the banker on the project is Dennis Monahan of Central Bank of Midwest. Many of you know Dennis. He’s a Shawnee banker and has been intricately involved in this project. Bob Bagby and Brock Bagby are going to speak in just a minute from B&B Theaters and from the ownership group. And a man that hardly needs an introduction, but I’m going to do it anyway, is Jack Waters of Parkway Real Estate has developed so much in our community, both in the eastern part of the City and here in the middle part of Shawnee and certainly in western Shawnee, all over. So, Jack Waters is the owner of the shopping center under Oak Meadows and has owned Parkway Real Estate for many years. So, I’m going to let Jack introduce -- give his thoughts and introduce the Bagby’s. Jack.
MR. WATERS: Thank you. Madam Mayor and the City, thank you for allowing us to have this time before you tonight. I’m here really to introduce a marriage, a wondering marriage between the WestGlen Shopping Center and the WestGlen Theater. And with me tonight, we’re lucky to have Mr. Bob Bagby, who is the president of B&B Theaters, and his son Brock Bagby. They’re a 92-year-old company. They’re in the fourth generation of management within the family. And I think their story is their story, and so I’m going to let them tell you what they’ve got planned. And with that, I’ll introduce Bob and Brock Bagby.
MR. BOB BAGBY: Thank you, Jack.
MR. BROCK BAGBY: Hi. I’m Brock Bagby. I’m the Director of Programming and Business Development for B&B Theaters.
MR. BOB BAGBY: And I’m Bob Bagby. I am President, CEO and owner of B&B Theaters. And we want to thank you, Madam Mayor, and this Council for giving us the opportunity to talk to you.
MR. BROCK BAGBY: Our company, like everyone has said, started in 1924, so we’re 92 years old. This was our very first theater that my great-grandpa built in a little down called Salisbury, Missouri called the Lyric Theater. So, we just like to show a little bit of history. Like we said 92 years. And B&B stands for Bagby and Bills, which I’m going to let my father tell the history on that.
MR. BOB BAGBY: If we go to the next slide, I think. This is the family. This is my bride in the middle there several years ago I guess. On her left are her parents and on the right are my parents. And in 1924, his grandpa bought the Lyric Theater in Salisbury. My dad, who is on the end, went to work for him when he was 10 years old, that was before the days of child labor laws, selling popcorn. And then my wife’s dad was born and through the years my dad and my -- Elmer Bills, my wife’s dad, became really good friends. After the war, dad started his own chain of theaters in western Kansas. The Bills families had theaters here in Missouri. Our families were great friends. We went to theater conventions together. There were times we shared, you know, got hotel suites, you know, aside each other. And through the years my wife and I at that time were just good friends. We talked a lot in college together. And somewhere along the line we decided that we couldn’t think of anybody else who would understand our backgrounds like we did. And we got married. And in 1980, we formed B&B, which stands for Bills, which is her maiden name, and Bagby, which is my name, and formed B&B Theaters. We have 50 locations now, 407 screen. We’re the ninth largest theater circuit in America based on screen count. Those are the states we operate on. And this is the fourth generational leadership. And he also has two siblings that are involved with the company. His sister Brittany, who is our Director of Business Affairs, and our -- my daughter Bobbie who lives in L.A. where we have an office there. She can work directly with the film studios since she’s our V.P. of Marketing. This is just the family at one of our openings.
We actually have nine locations here in Kansas City, 85 screens. And you can see those listed, including two drive-in theaters and the Extreme Screen down at Union Station. And so based on location of screens here in Kansas City we’re the biggest operator now in Kansas City. There’s another chain here that’s might have a few more national screens. But in Kansas City, we’re [inaudible].
MR. BROCK BAGBY: This is just some of the before and afters of a few remodels we’ve done recently. This is out in Dodge City, Kansas. That was the lobby before and after, just to show you kind of some drastic changes. And then in Hutchinson, Kansas, which was a Dickinson theater, before and after. And then kind of what we’ve proposed here in Shawnee. There’s a long list of things. But to get straight to the point, it would be completely gutted, the interior and the exterior with several upgrades. And I think the best way to show that is some renderings of what it will look like. So, this is the current box office and then kind of what we’ve proposed for that box office area. That you can see the current lobby and what we’ve proposed. And we’re designing it very similar to our brand new theater in St. Louis that we built in Wentzville that’s very popular. So to give you an idea of what it would really look like that’s the actual photo of Wentzville. So, kind of show you with lighting and things like that. And then a side view of the lobby, kind of closer up current, closer up what it’ll look like. That’s current.
MR. BOB BAGBY: This is the big one. Luxury, electric reclining chairs in every auditorium with reserved seating. So, customers can go on line Tuesday or Wednesday before the weekend or whatever and they can reserve their seat. They can pick their specific seat that they want to sit in and have their chair waiting for them when they arrive at the theater.
MR. BROCK BAGBY: Every single auditorium will have these. So, our slogan is “Get Ready to Recline” when we announce the remodel. So, it’ll be, “Get Ready to Recline, Shawnee.” And that’ll be with every post we do on Facebook. Every media campaign will be, “Get Ready to Recline, Shawnee.” So, people kind of get used to that campaign that we do. And it’s been very successful in the other remodels that we’ve done.
MR. BOB BAGBY: And I think the exciting part is that we want to make this one of the premier theaters in Kansas City. We believe we can double attendance over what we have now, which will be drawing people to this area to go to the movie as well keeping people from leaving the area to go elsewhere. I mean, we’ve talked to a lot of people that say, yeah, we like your theater, we go occasionally, but we really like to go down the road to one of these theaters that have recliners. So, we know there’s a lot of leakage, that people are leaving. And, you know, when they leave town they’re eating out of town, they’re buying their gas along the way, they’re maybe stopping and doing some shopping. And if we can keep all that business here in Shawnee, we know that we will be very successful.
Again, we’re just very honored to be here. And Jack has been wonderful to work with. And the City, everybody has been very welcoming to us. The City was one of the first cities to contact us after we bought Dickinson welcoming us and saying what can we do to work together to make the theater better. And so we appreciate that. And thank you for the opportunity to speak.
MAYOR DISTLER: Thank you.
MR. NAVE: So, I think you’ve heard from them, and I’m glad they kind of wrapped that up perfectly. A marquee theater and a marquee investment. They want to make this a showcase like nothing else in the Kansas City market. And so I think that’s extremely appealing for us. Not just from an economic development standpoint, from a quality of life and community standpoint.
I want to highlight the agreement. So, what we’ve done is looked at City sales and property tax increment projected over a period of time. So, what you’re considering is a development agreement much like other incentive tools that projects or depends on future increases of sales and property taxes. So, that’s essentially the construct or the theory behind kind of this agreement and that we’re projecting it out over 20 years. We sat down with their team and looked at their sales projects of what they’re going to be doing. And as you hear Mr. Bagby say conservatively expecting to double the amount of revenue, double the amount of tickets sold at the theater.
We also looked at with the larger seats, with those recliner luxury seats, they’re larger. And so you can’t fit as many in the same theater as there is today. So, they’re actually going to lose, come down a little bit in total seat count because of the increased size of each individual seat. And so that has an impact on our parking ratio. So, we started talking with Jack about, hey, there’s not going to be the same parking requirement on this theater than maybe there previously was, so what opportunities does that lend us for other retail development, specifically pad site development. And so we started to project, and certainly at the EDC we have a lot of numbers and a lot of data on having a marquee anchor like B&B with a first class theater will add a lot of interest in some pad sites. So, we have also conservatively projected potentially one or -- potentially two or one large pad site. Maybe that’s a pad site of two fast casual restaurants. Maybe that’s a large full service restaurant. Maybe that’s another retailer. But we think conservatively there is certainly room there for pad site development.
So, the increment that is just speculated, but is projected on new buildings and new pads and the sales tax revenue that is associated with that when combined with the theater increment is conservatively $1.87 million over the next 20 years. So, that was a number we started talking about when we started looking with the Bagbys and Mr. Waters about the private investment that’s $6.5-6.5 million private investment that they’re looking at. Running kind of how we break out the -- and then the pad sites will be additional to that. So, the pad sites could be anywhere from a million. Could be upwards of $2 million depending on the size and the finish of those retail pads. So, all in you’re looking at 7½ - 8 million, maybe $8.5 million total capital investment in this project. And looking at the agreement number and what we think the increment could be, conservatively, we think it’s going to exceed that. But conservatively we’re looking at 20 to 25 percent of this partnership is truly public funds versus 70 to 75 percent of this is going to be private dollars. So, we think that’s a smart partnership for a city to pursue.
The $1.5 million is broken out in your agreement in the detail there. Looking at just the theater and the schedule, the time schedule for those site improvements around the theater, including the parking lot, those costs will be reimbursed much like any of our other development tools. Those will be submitted to the City’s finance team. And then once those are authorized or approved, then funding from the Economic Development Fund will happen for a period of ten years. So, this isn’t all up front money. Again, this is something that protects the City and is cautious and is careful.
Special sales tax are not kind of speculated in this projection and in this calculation, so the specials that Parks, Pipes and Pavement and the Justice tax are all additional over and above kind of what this agreement calls for. So, conservatively that’s $25,000 a year that we think that that could bring in just through the special sales taxes.
And then another way to look at this agreement is we think it’s a good investment because of just the size and the construct of it. It was such that some of those other development tools that we often utilized weren’t quite appropriate or maybe were a little too heavy for this kind of a project. But the real benefit is that this tool out of the Economic Development Fund only affects directly the City of Shawnee. It doesn’t affect the school district or the county or the library or any of the other taxing jurisdictions. Not only will they benefit they’ll benefit significantly when new pad sites are developed and when the theater’s appraised value goes up as we easily expect it will, those other taxing jurisdictions will benefit greatly. So, we think it’s a win-win-win. Certainly there’s also clawbacks in place if the project were to dramatically change. But that’s just a very, very, high, quick recap of that agreement.
I’m happy to stand for questions. And certainly Mr. Waters or the Bagbys would be happy to answer questions as well.
MAYOR DISTLER: Okay. Is there anyone the Council that has any questions or comments?
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Just that one slide there. Andrew, I do have a question on that slide you just showed.
MR. NAVE: Okay.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: It’s talking about disbursements from the ED fund over ten years.
MR. NAVE: Sure.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: And so we’re going to be making disbursements over a ten-year period, although the project, in accordance to the agreement, has to be built out in no more than six years?
MR. NAVE: That is correct.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: So, I don’t know if it’s a set-out on some prorated basis like 180,000 a year, or how is that structured?
MR. NAVE: Well, it depends. But the way we think the structure might play out would be 150,000 a year for the theater portion of the costs. And then when the pad sites are developed, and that’s kind of the unknown of the X-factor is when those pad sites will be developed. I’m hopeful and optimistic that they’ll be built relatively quickly because of the interest in being out in front of the new and improved theater. But they would be -- the additional 300,000 would be added to that payment schedule, that ten-year payment schedule and on a pro rata share. So, if it comes in in year seven or three years in rather and has seven years left of the theater reimbursement, that 300,000 would be divided by seven and added to their reimbursement at that time. If it comes in the last year, then it would be added 300,000 at the last year, but I don’t anticipate that.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: And some of these funds are intended to be used on repairing the parking lot, is that correct?
MR. NAVE: It includes a lot of things, the whole list of things that you saw them highlight in terms of interior improvements. But exterior improvements, there’s some way-finding, some signage, some façade improvements and parking. I don’t know about landscaping. Some of these approvals have to yet go through Planning Commission. But, yes, parking and exterior improvements are included. It all has to do with the redevelopment of the entire property to really make it --
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Yeah. Just because I had a little bit of a problem with the parking lot. I was just over there last night as a matter of fact. I took my wife to a movie. And there were some holes in that parking lot over by the theater you could lose your Volkswagen in. And I find that to be an issue because that should have been taken care of. That should be an ongoing expense and maintenance that is performed by the owner that’s leasing these properties out. And that should have been taken care of. And it really bothers me that’s going to be -- it’s almost like rewarding somebody for poor behavior. You know, you should have taken care of this. And now we’re expecting to pony up and help you repair things that should have been taken care of on an ongoing basis.
MR. NAVE: Right. Yeah. And I won’t presume to speak for Mr. Waters. But I think what I could say is the little bit I know about that agreement, the previous tenant, the previous occupant where a lot of that deterioration of the property came into being was Dickinson was on a triple net lease. And so on those triple net leases that maintenance is often required of the tenant. And so I know there was a lot of financial difficulties that that previous tenant, that previous operator experienced to where they weren’t able to do some of those improvements that were their responsibility. So, I couldn’t speak to any more than that, but I know that that’s been an issue.
MAYOR DISTLER: Mr. Neighbor and then Mr. Pflumm.
COUNCILMEMBER NEIGHBOR: Yes. First of all, I’d like to thank Mr. Waters and Bob and Brock for bringing this project to us. I wholly support it, I think it’ll be good. One thing I’d like to point out here. City of Shawnee Policy Statement PS-65 establishes the Economic Development Fund. “The establishment of the Economic Development Fund provides resources which the City can use to support strategic programs which will encourage the retention and expansion of existing businesses, the attraction of new businesses and the growth of new businesses in the community.”
I think this exactly does that. I think this is exactly the reason why the Economic Development Fund was instituted and I completely support this project.
MAYOR DISTLER: Mr. Pflumm.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: Yeah. I just want to thank Oak Meadows, Jack Waters, John and B&B for bringing your project to Shawnee. I think it’s -- it looks awesome so far. I wish I would have came in earlier. I had another meeting, so I couldn’t come in. Would have liked to have had a lot more time to evaluate this. Normally these -- I’m under the opinion that I think this should have came to a committee meeting before it came to a City Council meeting so we had a little more time to add input. I think I brought up with our staff several times that, you know, we’ve done a couple of CIDs in town. And I’ve brought up probably when we were doing the Ten Quivira Plaza one that the area that we need to use it is transient areas and things like that without a grocery store, just like the development down on Midland Drive and 435. And that would prevent us from, you know, just taking money directly out of, you know, out of our checking account and, you know, and doing, you know, economic development with that. So, I mean, that’s kind of where I’m at. Did we look at that? I mean, where, you know, we got no input on that or anything.
MR. NAVE: That was discussed and we looked at a wide variety of the tools that are kind of in our toolbox. And CIDs and TDDs were one that was discussed. Given the shopping center and kind of the scale of the shopping center, we have a lot of small shops there and talking with Mr. Waters, we wanted to weigh the benefit of making an incremental tax on like a CID or a TDD on just the theater versus the retailers themselves that are kind of out front. And that was something that we had to kind of balance and weigh against some of those small mom and pop businesses that are out in front of the theater. So, was a CID district or a TDD district the best use of a tool? Really the unique nature of this tool and the Economic Development Fund is that you kind of craft and create a tool that fits the scale of the development. And as great as this development is and it’s a huge investment by the Bagbys and Mr. Waters, it’s a smaller redevelopment compared to some of the others that we’ve done even here in Shawnee. And some of those other tools, kind of the horsepower that they have and the cost and the time just weren’t quite the good fit for this project.
MAYOR DISTLER: Ms. Meyer and then Mr. Kenig.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Yeah. I just want to echo everyone’s comments and I thank you all for coming and I think it’s an awesome project. And what I hear time and time again is what’s happening with the theater, when are we going to have something happening at the theater. So, I’m excited to be able to tell my constituents now that’s the case. I would also echo Councilman Neighbor that I think that this is a really quite an appropriate use for the Economic Development Fund money that we’re using. And I would support that over something like a CID which I think definitely has its place. But when we have the opportunity to use funding that we’ve already sort of set aside for economic development, it seems like that would be more prudent than adding an additional tax burden to everyone who comes into that shopping center effectively. So, rather than adding additional tax, I think we should just use the resources that are already set aside for this purpose. So, I think it’s a great project. Thank you.
MAYOR DISTLER: Mr. Kenig and then Mr. Vaught.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Yes. I’d like to echo my appreciation, too, to Oak Meadows and to Jack for taking the time to talk to us about this project. Very excited. It’s a Ward IV just down the street from me. I’ve been going to this theater since I was a kid. I saw Star Wars there in 1997. It would be great to see it again when it comes back out this year. But, you know, I want to echo --
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: Way back in ‘97?
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: But I’d like to echo Councilmember Meyer’s comments as well. I do like that we’re using existing funds for this. I think it’s a pertinent use of those. And then also this is a prime commercial corridor. I know we’ve talked about that several times. But being off of 435, it has the ability to draw traffic from the business end from Lenexa, the development that’s going on down there, as well as north with the Legends. And we all know it’s very timely too with the new Holiday Inn, two more hotels that are under construction right now with the Comfort Inn and Residence Inn. We know that hotel guests look when they’re choosing hotel properties, they look at amenities nearby, restaurants, retail, entertainment. Often it’s walkable. This is walkable. It adds to that. The addition of the pad sites puts the whole development in perspective. And the other factor is that, you know, if that’s attractive those hotels can be filled. That’s greater revenue for the City with the hotel guest tax, too. So, I think it’s a win-win situation. So, thank you.
MAYOR DISTLER: Mr. Vaught, then Mr. Sandifer.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: Yeah. And I just echo what everybody else -- thanks. Thanks for bringing the project and doing what you’re doing and I’m also in support of it. I agree. It’s definitely a -- that’s why we created the Economic Development Fund. This is what I had envisioned for it when I voted for it was having a project like this where we can go outside the box where other tools don’t fit or the expense of them don’t make sense. And it’s just basically a fund we have that says, hey, let’s do this. So, I’m excited about it. Andrew, can you, you know, one of the things we struggle with in Shawnee is restaurants. And restaurants other than what people call fast food or fast casual. You know, you look at AMC in Olathe, you look at some of the cinemas and you see the restaurants that have positioned themselves in front of it. So, with that, I don’t know if you can say much, but what do you anticipate? What do you see in your targets of restaurants that might be interested in pad sites?
MR. NAVE: Oh, I don’t know. In terms of specific brands or names I don’t know. I will tell you that two concepts that we keep hearing, and there was an article, I wish I had thought to pull it up. But there was an article not that long ago in the Kansas City Business Journal about kind of the new face of retail development. And as e-commerce continues to take a bigger, bigger chunk of the marketplace and the consumers, well, maybe they go to that shopping center, the mall to buy that outfit or those consumer goods, what will always drive people out are entertainment and eating out. Those two -- when you look at any national statistic and some of the national real estate organizations have continued to promote this. The entertainment venues and places to eat are going to continue thrive. And so -- and that’s what we’ve seen. Some of the last few developers that we’ve been talking to about, some of our properties around Shawnee have said the lion share of who we want to bring or who we want to talk to are destination based businesses and then restaurants. And there’s a whole slew of restaurants that want to be in our market.
All you have to do is look at any new shopping center around Johnson County and you’re seeing a whole new plethora of pizza concepts, a whole new plethora of your kind of like a Mexican quick service cuisine concepts. You’re seeing -- there’s still kind of be those kind of full service steak restaurants and kind of sit-down places that you might go to on occasion, but that ease and convenience is going to continue to I think expand. And from the economic development staff we can barely keep up with a new restaurant concept or a new chain, a new franchise has been started in Kansas City and how do we get in front of that real estate broker, that franchisee. So, I’m very confident that this location will have a number of good concepts to pick from.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Mr. Sandifer.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: Yeah. Well, about eight or nine years ago I sat down with Jack trying to put something together. And as he said he had to find the right theater people to do this. And I’m tickled to death with what’s going on. I think the Economic Development Fund that we have is the proper fund for it. I’m glad to finally see it come to fruition and working through it. I’d still like to see a seafood restaurant. As you said you’ll still fishing.
MR. WATERS: Always fishing.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: But thank you for bringing it to our City and thank you for getting involved with our theater. I’m all for it.
MAYOR DISTLER: Anyone else on the Council have any -- Mr. Kemmling?
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Just a comment. I have a triple net lease and I pay for parking lot repairs and it’s not fun. But I don’t understand, I mean, I’ve only been there six years and I’ve paid to replace a good part of my parking lot where I’m at. So, part of me is a little bit discouraged because we’re seeing here that this was built in the mid-90s, so this is about a 20-year-old parking lot and it hasn’t been in good shape for a long time. And we’re talking about a 20-year payout or a payback. So, how do we have any kind of -- what kind of guarantees do we have that this isn’t going to need another set of funding for remodeling in 20 years when we finally get our money back?
MR. NAVE: Well, I don’t know there are guarantees. We have talked extensively with both the developer and the applicant about making their investments and making this a first class theater that they are proud of and that we are proud of. So, I have every expectation that the property will be well maintained and will be a showcase theater for many years to come.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: All right. Well, I mean, I personally like more of a guarantee than that because I don’t like the idea of telling my constituents I’m going to give away $1.8 million of their tax money for the remodel that -- for an area that was neglected and wasn’t properly maintained and then just hope that it will be maintained properly this time around. So, I guess that’s just my commentary. I think it is a great project. I think it’ll do really well there. I don’t see this being inside the role of the scope for government to be handing out money to the private business. It’s not how I believe government should be run. So, that’s why I would be opposed to it. So, that’s my thoughts.
MAYOR DISTLER: Mr. Neighbor?
COUNCILMEMBER NEIGHBOR: Yeah. I would just like to point out that the Economic Development Fund is not tax money. It is money from the impact fee with the landfill.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: I believe the impact fee is a tax that we’re receiving from the -- landfill and from Waste Management. I don’t know how else we get money if it’s not through taxation.
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: I’d just clarify. It’s not truly a tax. It’s a development agreement that we have with the landfill. So, it is revenue they are paying us.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: It’s revenue we generate and we’re raising the mill levy this year because we can’t afford other things. So, we have a set number of dollars here in the City to work with. And like I said, I think it’s a great project. I’m glad that B&B bought this out because it needed to be, I mean, something had to change there. I just -- I’m just not a fan of giving the tax money away.
MAYOR DISTLER: Any other comments from the Council? Mr. Vaught?
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: You know, I could probably just sit here and not say anything because I understand where you sit on this, Mike, or Mr. Kemmling. And typically on projects like this you have that opinion and it’s one that a lot of people share that government should not be involved in economic development at this level or use public funds or incentives. But the reality is, and that’s Lenexa and Overland Park and Olathe and every other community around us have come to the same consensus, so we’re not going to do that. If we’re the only ones that do, then we may as well shut the lights off because we’re not going to grow. You know, all you got to do is look down 435 a couple miles and you got Lenexa building City Center. And I guarantee you they would give a lot more than 25 percent of the cost of a project to move that cinema to the middle of the project than what we’re doing. And I think that’s things that we all need to consider. You know, I understand your point and it’s a philosophical issue. You know, I don’t think any of us think that, and I’ve read plenty of things that it’s a very compelling argument that says should we -- should we be doing this as a government. But unless somebody steps in at a federal level and evens the playing field for everybody, I don’t want to be the only community sitting here saying, no, we’re not going to do anything and watch everybody go to other communities and we’re not going to grow and they’re all going to. I just don’t think that’s, you know, that’s not -- that effect is not the feedback I’m getting from residents. They want to see growth and they want to see retail opportunities and they want to see restaurants. And this is the only way you’re going to get it. And if you can think of another way I’m all for it. But this is how we make it happen.
MAYOR DISTLER: Mr. Sandifer.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: Mr. Jenkins.
MAYOR DISTLER: Oh, Mr. Jenkins.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Yes. I just want to be really up front with what’s going on here because I think we need to be. We’re talking about putting up $1.8 million in economic development funds. And at some point in time after 20 years we may be returned $1.866 million. Those are going to be in 2036 dollars, not 2016 dollars. So, frankly, this is going to cost the City money to do this. This is not going to be a free deal. So, what you’ve got to do is weigh out, okay, it’s an amenity. It’s a beautiful project. And so is that okay that we want to get this really nice amenity for the community? Maybe we do. Maybe that’s where we want to go. But to try to sell it as something that’s revenue neutral, this is not revenue neutral. This is costing us money in the long haul. I mean, the average return on the investment is 0.0018 percent per year. It’s like negligible, 3.6 on the whole project over a 20-year period and we know what inflation does. So, we are going to be putting out a significant investment as a community in this project out of our Economic Development Fund. It’s part of our money that we could be spending on other things. This may be a good thing to spend it on. I mean, obviously it’s the kind of project we -- it’s already there. And we like the idea of having a great theater and a nice place for people to go and get dinner and catch a show and stuff. So, maybe we say, okay, we don’t care if it’s going to cost us some money. That’s fine. We’re going to move ahead because we think the value or the benefits from the amenities are worth the cost. So, I think where we have to look at it from instead of -- it’s not revenue neutral. We are going to be paying for it to a great extent. We’re putting up 23 percent of the money for the project basically.
MAYOR DISTLER: Mr. Sandifer and then Ms. Meyer.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: Since I’ve been discussing this with Jack about nine years ago I’ve had a couple of elections, I’ve been door-to-door to a lot of people. And when I go door-to-door, I bring up the issues of things of what we’re, you know, what I’d like to see in our ward and what would they like to see. As was told they like the amenities. They like nice restaurants and a lot of things. And I had brought up the point of what if we were to do something to help get the theater back in shape. And I did not have -- and I talked to hundreds of people and I did not have one person say no. They said if it’s cost efficient and it’s going to work out, do what you think is best. Most of them would say, yes, we would love the theater to be nicer and to be a great theater. Now, tonight there’s probably going to be somebody in my ward that’s going to say, no, he doesn’t like it. But I’ve never heard that when I was going door-to-door. And I think it’s a fantastic project. And in my eyes the constituents in my ward, the majority of them have said go ahead and do it. So, I’m for it.
MAYOR DISTLER: Ms. Meyer.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Yeah. I just also want to be clear about what we’re doing. I echo what Councilmember Jenkins said, but I completely disagree with the construct. I do not believe that this is just a pure outlay of $1.6 million over the ten years. I think that the City is going to reap rewards from it as with any economic development project. The idea of it is it’s going to generate additional revenue as they’ve talked about. Their ticket sales will increase. There’s going to be an additional pad site. All of those businesses generate tax dollars that come to the City of Shawnee. So, I think that it is not completely accurate or, frankly, accurate at all to say that we’re not going to get anything out of the project aside from just a blank amenity. That goes against all evidence and the entire goal of economic development.
MAYOR DISTLER: Mr. Kenig.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Yeah. I think I would just add that, you know, remember that this isn’t just the theater itself. I mean, this is -- the scope of this affects the entire development, so the WestGlen Shopping Center. A potential three pad sites and parking lot improvements. That theater is really the anchor for that shopping center and it’s key to remember that if anchors start to struggle, you know, that impacts the surrounding businesses within the shopping center. We have past cases to look to, you know, around. I mean, you don’t have to go far. You can go to 75th and Nieman to see what happened when that anchor left and what happened with that shopping center. And it’s much more difficult to try to bring a business in when you have a shopping center that’s struggling. So, I think this is about warding that off as well and ensuring that that WestGlen Shopping Center is vibrant and thriving for years to come. It’s much difficult to bring a shopping center back to life and it’s much more expensive in terms of economic development dollars down the road.
MAYOR DISTLER: And I would like to add, too, so not only the impact of the businesses in that shopping center, but Mr. Nave and I had met with a business that’s just up Renner and they are very excited about this. Because, you know, and they have several locations and they’re always analyzing and looking the best use of their locations and is this the best use for one of their -- is our location the best use for one of their locations. They don’t know if they quite had the visibility and things like that. So, they were extremely excited about this because they feel all the people that are coming to the theater will see them there and perhaps grow their business. Like I said, and then that in turn grows our tax revenue. And then additionally, you know, and even, I don’t know if it was -- they were the ones that mentioned it or if it was you, Mr. Nave, but, you know, all these millennial young professionals living in the Lenexa City Center, this is the theater they’re going to come to which is going to be driving past that business on Renner that wants that additional. So, it’s going to impact all the businesses right around there in that 435 and Renner area and beyond. It’s going to expand even beyond that area. And to Mr. Sandifer’s point, you know, just a little over a year ago I went to almost 6,000 homes and that was -- so, good news for you as one of the things that did keep coming at the doors is what is going to happen with this theater. We need a nicer theater. And I mean I don’t even think they were thinking as nice as what you were going to do, they just wanted something nicer than what it was. So, I do know the residents are excited about it. I know the surrounding businesses outside of this particular property is excited about it. So, that’s -- I just wanted to put that out there as well. Mr. Jenkins.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Yeah. Just a point of clarification on Councilmember Meyer’s comments. Obviously we’re going to get -- we’re estimating $1.866 million to be returned to the City in the Economic Development Fund at some point. I acknowledged that. What I said was those will be in 20-year-old dollars when we get them in return. So, it is going to cost us some money. So, there is going to be an initial -- there is going to be an outlay and we’re not going to get back what we put into it. That’s why I also -- it was my comments that then it becomes a point of whether we like the fact that the amenities do increase quality of life or they do -- there’s a factor associated with that, not just economic. Because if we go with straight economics this is a bad deal. We’re not going to lose on money it. And if you look at the sales tax, I’ve heard sales tax here and I’m looking at the Springsted report here, memorandum from Tom Denaway, Assistant Vice President. And they’re scraping to come up with $1.866 million. So, do we like the project? We may like the project and I’m not saying we don’t like the project. I’m just saying we need -- I just want to be on the table, lay it out on the table that this is not a -- like a moneymaker. This ain’t a really -- this is not a really great deal financially for the City of Shawnee. It may be a good deal for us in terms of us having amenities. There’s definitely going to be some benefits for a lot of the business owners in there because it’s going to increase the volume of business hopefully because this really nice new theater is going to make more people want to come to the theater and they’re going to stop at Paulo & Bill’s or they’re going to stop at Jose Pepper’s or whatever and that’s going to make those guys really happy. But as far as dollars and cents-wise, it’s not a real good deal dollars and cents-wise. It may be a good deal in many less tangible ways. And I think that’s fully recognized.
MAYOR DISTLER: Ms. Meyer.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Just to I guess comment on that as well. All of those folks who are stopping at the restaurants that you mentioned are going to be bringing in additional tax dollars. I understood your point quite clearly. I understand what you were saying and I just happen to disagree with that. I think, yes, it is going to be 1.86 in 20-year-old dollars, however it is. But to say my understanding of what you said was we’re basically writing a check for this amount and we aren’t going to get anything financial in return. And I disagree with that premise because I think there will be additional tax dollars that come in from more business, the existing businesses, increased businesses at the pad sites. I just think it is disingenuous to say we’re just simply writing a check and we’re cutting our losses.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: $1.866 million. Isn’t that included in the $1.866 million, those numbers? The increased taxes?
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: No. The Springsted study just focused on the theater and the pad sites, not the additional residual in the neighboring areas.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Okay.
MR. NAVE: It doesn’t speak to the increase in Paulo --
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: That’s helpful.
MR. NAVE: To your example, Eric, it doesn’t speak to Paulo & Bill’s increase in revenue, nor does it speak to, as I mentioned --
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Well, it mentioned Paulo & Bill specifically, so I thought it did. It literally does. I mean, it’s right there in the report. It talks about Paulo & Bill’s increasing two percent. I mean, it’s got numbers in there.
MR. NAVE: Right.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: So, that led me to believe that those numbers are including the entire WestGlen.
MR. NAVE: Right. And I think that, I don’t want to go through the minutiae of that report, but I think the Springsted report was looking at the economic vitality of the whole area and they were using that as a guide and as a model and were using some of those projections, so. What the calculation is based off of is just the theater and just the pad sites, that 1.866. It’s based off those. And that is just the City’s one percent General Fund Sales Tax, does not include the specials, which again I estimate at a conservative 25,000 a year or, you know, a half a million dollars over 20 years. And again, these are conservative projections. We fully anticipate that this will outgrow these projections.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Okay. Thank you for the clarification. That’s helpful.
MR. NAVE: Yes.
MAYOR DISTLER: Mr. Kemmling, Mr. Vaught and then Mr. Kenig.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Yeah. Clarify that one more. So, the Springsted letter says it takes into account a three percent increase from the Hampton Inn and a two percent increase from Paulo & Bill’s. Are you saying it doesn’t or am I reading that incorrectly? I assume that this was accounting for all the sales tax growth in that area.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: That’s what I did, too, so.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: On page 2 of their letter under Proposed Redevelopment.
MR. NAVE: Right. I see it. Yeah. Yeah.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: You can see my confusion there.
MR. NAVE: Right. Yeah. It does. No, I stand corrected. It does capture kind of some of the surrounding businesses. I guess the point was that we didn’t stretch that beyond to other surrounding developments, the Eggtc. across the street. We didn’t stretch that beyond, but it does include that. I was mistaken.
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: It looks like just those two.
MR. NAVE: Right.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Thank you.
MAYOR DISTLER: Okay. Mr. Vaught and then Mr. Kenig.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: I don’t know if you can speak to this or not, Andrew. So, I kind of get the impression sometimes when we enter these that the perception is that someone came to you and said this is what we want and you put it on paper and you came to us and said, here this is what they want and so do we want to do this or not. Which me being in the business and I know Stephanie deals with these now in her new industry and people don’t understand this business. You start at a totally different place than where you end up here. So, and I don’t know how much detail you want to give us, but can you kind of give us an idea that -- because I think the assumption is that we just kind of take what we get. And I’m assuming that this number that they’re asking was much bigger several months ago or didn’t look quite this way and this has been a negotiation process. So, we’ve gotten to the point where this is what has to be to make this work, not, okay, let’s just --
MR. NAVE: Sure.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: Let’s just throw something at the wall and see if it sticks.
MR. NAVE: Yeah. And that’s absolutely correct, Jeff. I don’t know that I’d use the word negotiation like it was, you know, offers back and forth in sealed envelopes per se, but I would say that we’ve been discussing this with the developer and the tenant for a year and a half. And what was talked about was a general back and forth of here is our challenges, here is what our proforma looks like when we factor in construction costs, when we factor in what lease rates generally are and they’re extremely competitive for anchors. Here is where this needs to be and there’s a gap. There’s a challenge of getting to this. What kind of assistance could maybe be brought to bear? And in speaking with the B&B folks that they’ve had a number of public-private partnerships all around the country in many states and even in our area and what do you those partnerships look like. And so we went back and forth in terms of what feels right for our community and what is the appropriate level of support for our community. And we really kind of landed on a looking at a, well, what is this going to generate from an increment standpoint. Because there are many communities that have, quite frankly, do just write a check and do just kind of pledge dollars that they don’t have or dollars that may or may not come in. We took a more cautious approach to look at what do we think this could potentially generate and does that fill a gap and does that fill a need. And there was some massaging of that over weeks and months with both parties to where we got to a point where I think it made sense for everyone.
MAYOR DISTLER: Mr. Kenig.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: A couple comments. I realize I mis-spoke earlier when I referred to the shopping center at 75th and Nieman. I meant 75th and Quivira, Westbrooke Village, mostly vacant. So, I get asked about that constantly, but just wanted to put that out on the record. But also I wanted to note that there are appropriate protections, too, in place in this agreement. The fact that, you know, termination can occur if the completion isn’t met within six -- three years for the theater and then six years for the additional project which includes the pad sites. I do appreciate the fact that there is an aggressive timeline in place for implementing this. So, residents will be -- can expect to see results pretty quickly starting this summer, which I think is also key because I think often one of the biggest hurdles is, you know, we approve projects that are years down the road. There is no, you know, results for a while. It’s difficult to see where it’s going kind of long term. But that isn’t the case with this project. There’s a very aggressive timeline in place, which I think speaks to the stake by the owners and by the developers as well to really see this done fairly quickly and to give us results. So, just wanted to note that, too.
MAYOR DISTLER: Any other comments? Mr. Jenkins.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Yes. One other comment was I think Councilman Pflumm alluded to it earlier, but I would like to make a stronger emphasis, is that I think we’re having a lot of discussion about this tonight and I would have liked to have had this discussion at a Council Committee meeting instead of here at a final approval process. Normally by the time we get to this point we all understand everything perfectly and it’s nice and clean. Right now we’re still groping around trying to find out exactly what numbers we’re using and things like that still and which report has got the right information and so on. And that’s kind of disconcerting. I would like to see this sort of thing come before the City Council Committee meetings so we can flush it out and get the input that we need to do the job because I’d like to do a good job on this and I really want to do a good job on this. And I definitely support business development in Shawnee. I love that kind of stuff, don’t we all. But I don’t think it was handled particularly well and I’m kind of disappointed in that especially. And that’s not on you, that’s on our City. I mean, we need to make our agendas and do the right thing so that we’re prepared for these meetings when we come in here. I’ve read all this stuff and that’s why -- we obviously had some issues over the letter from Springsted and we’re still not really sure exactly what the Springsted thing says at this point other than the fact that did it include some, but did it include all. You know, there are still kind of these confusions that would have -- really could have been worked out really well if we had gotten around to this a couple weeks ago and then we’d have that extra time to kind of get everything resolved. But here we are anyway.
The other concern, and this kind of echoes Councilman Kemmling. But philosophically, this is a tough issue because it does open it up. We can help every business in Shawnee that, you know, wants to do this or are we going to pick and choose who the winners are and that kind of thing. And that kind of puts you in that box which is an uncomfortable box to be put in to a certain extent, but we’re there and that’s the way it is. So, I guess we get to decide tonight one way or the other.
MR. NAVE: Eric, I will speak to the timing issue just very briefly. You know, this has been an ongoing discussion over several months, even back into the winter that we first started talking in depth with the applicant and with the tenant. I will tell you that even -- we looked at just exactly that notion of bringing it to a Council Committee meeting. I briefed Stephanie on that over the last couple months. And for a couple different reasons, primarily that the applicant and the developer, and I’ll -- because he’s staring at me I’ll throw the banker under the bus. It’s always fun to throw those guys under the bus. The financing was just literally pulled together in the last couple weeks. And I’ll say it from the applicant, the tenant’s standpoint, from B&B’s standpoint, I know they want to move really fast. Their schedule, if you know how movies work, there’s kind of a window of time here with the summer movie rush and the construction is going to start here pretty soon to get open, at least the first set of theaters open before the winter movies or kind of the holiday movie rush. So, really a tight window. So, not something that we wanted to do. We had talked about a Council Committee meeting, but it’s really at the B&B’s request to kind of move this up as quickly as we possibly can. So, that’s why we’re here tonight.
MAYOR DISTLER: Any other comments from the Council? Anyone from the audience that would like to speak to this item? Please come forward and state your name and address for the record.
MR. LYSAUGHT: My name is Don Lysaught. I live at (Address Omitted) just literally a stone’s throw away from this particular property. I have been asked by one of my neighbors to read a brief letter into the record. You all have alluded repeatedly here to just getting this information. Well, guess what, we just did too. And that was by pure happenstance and I think that’s wrong. This affects us. And there’s some things about this project I can appreciate. But we keep seeming to have a recurring theme that there’s this rush to judgment and let’s get this done. What’s wrong with getting your agenda a week, two weeks in advance so you know what it is so you all aren’t reading it over the weekend. You can talk with your constituents over the weekend. I just really think that’s a fundamental flaw in the system here. But any rate, this is from Richard and Phyllis Travers. They live at (Address Omitted) in Shawnee.
“Dear Mayor and Councilmembers: We have lived in Shawnee for over 32 years and have witnessed the development of the WestGlen complex, not to mention the widening of Midland and the addition of many other businesses in the immediate area. For the most part it has been nice having a few good restaurants and other businesses in the area.
It has been sad to see the decline of the theater facility. It appears that the owner/tenant of this business doesn’t care to invest in the basic upkeep of its building and grounds, just taking the profits. It’s no surprise that business has dropped off at the theater while other businesses in this area have grown and prospered.
When we saw the proposal to give $1.5 million to the owner of the property to renovate the theaters we were shocked. We have owned and operated a business for the past 30 years. Our business maintained the property it occupied when and as needed. We did this to maintain a safe and comfortable environment for our staff and clients. Obviously this has not been done at the WestGlen. We have also paid both property and sales and taxes which pay for the public safety services provided by our city, county and state, not the future renovation of another private building. Given that the owner and tenant of the theater have not maintained their property, it hardly seems appropriate that the taxpayers of Shawnee should be asked to help them to do so.
When we read that this proposed gift from the City to a private business was to be viewed as a tax increment financing instead and was actually a kind of investment in future tax revenues we were reminded of the salesman selling swampland with an uncertain future. Not only do the tax revenues as defined in the revenue project is far from certain, they are optimistic.
The motion picture theater industry has been in a long-term decline that is likely to continue. Movies have moved to the home. Cable and streaming devices such as Netflix make it much more convenient to watch at home. Also worth noting is that the WestGlen theater does not run any first-run movies. Thus, it is difficult to imagine what the sales tax over the theater -- what the sales tax from the theater will increase. It will likely decline over the next 20 years as it has over the past 20 years making the projected sales tax revenue very optimistic.
Given the history of neglect over the past 20 years, and we can certainly expect the same or worse if this subsidy of a private business takes place. In another 20 or so years will the owner be back for another cash injection at our expense?
As for the addition of one or two new food services that is probably a good idea. I think that a franchise would be very interested in making such an investment. However, I do not think it is the business of the City of Shawnee to become involved in such an investment. That means the City is now picking winners and losers. Even if we were to look at this project as an investment by the City to increase tax revenues over the next 20 years, it is not only optimistic it is a poor investment if the projections offered were to be met. A review of the Springsted report shows that the annualized rate of return of this gift would be about two-tenths of one percent compounded annually. If the additional gift to add the other businesses and associated revenue was added to this, the annual rate of return increases to approximately 0.8 percent. Given the risk associated with such an investment and the probability that even these modest returns won’t be met, a reasonable investor would never consider this.
I would ask that you reject this proposal and recommend to this business that they proceed to maintain the property in such a fashion that provides a safe and attractive place of business. That’s how you grow a business and increase tax revenue. When this is being accomplished by the businesses of Shawnee, the revenues of the City will grow and the City will in turn continue to provide a safe and fruitful environment from its citizens and business community. Signed, Richard and Phyllis Travers.”
I’d like to enter a copy of this into the record.
MAYOR DISTLER: Sure.
MR. LYSAUGHT: Who is to receive this? I thought so.
MAYOR DISTLER: And thank you for your comments. Is there anyone else from the audience that would like to speak to this? Please come forward. Well, the five minutes is up.
MR. LYSAUGHT: That was for the Travers.
MAYOR DISTLER: Well, we can’t do that. So, you have to sit down and allow someone else to speak and then you can come back up a second time. Please come forward and state your name and address for the record.
MR. ERLICHMAN: Ray Erlichman, (Address Omitted). I’ve addressed this Council I don’t know how many times over the past 10-11 years about two different things. Number one, lack of a destination venue and use of tax incentives. Usually my comments about use of tax incentives has been negative. And unfortunately my desire or dreams of a destination venue especially in the I-435 corridor got shot down because the land is not conducive to building real big destination venues.
This project is probably going to come closest to what I would refer, we’re going to come up with a new term, a mini-destination venue. I firmly believe that it will attract additional people into the existing businesses. Building some extra restaurants will help. The fact that we have the two new motels being built and they are built -- and again, for those that are not aware of it, they’re being built by a gentleman who owns motels up in Village West up by the Legends, so he must have some insight into the fact that this is going to be a booming thing.
And I was debating sitting there whether or not I really did want to get up here and say something else tonight. And then something that was in that letter that Mr. Lysaught read, I’m going to disagree with you, sir. The theater, B&B Theaters do run first-run movies. They’re not on the secondary or the tertiary level. And if you take a look at what is playing right now at their theaters and match them up against all the other first-run theaters in the area, you will see that that is exactly what they’re running. Okay.
Now, probably the Mayor or maybe half the Council is going to throw something at me for my next comment, but that’s okay. I’m a big boy. I can handle it. Lady friend of mine and I, we went to the movies on Saturday night. And it was a first-run movie that we wanted to see. And it was playing at the B&B and it was playing someplace else. And I don’t know if it’s because we’re getting up there in or in years or what have you, but we wanted to be comfortable and we wanted those reclining seats. And the only thing we were remiss in doing was making our reservations ahead of time because if the theater industry is collapsing, I’ll tell you as far as position in that particular screen we had lousy position. Good seats. They were comfortable, but lousy position because we didn’t have reserved seats. So, I think the fact that they’re going to be bringing first-run movies in makes a big difference. If they were going to bring in secondary or tertiary or what have you, I would probably be speaking negative. But this is probably going to be one of the first times I’m going to make a comment on the positive side about using City money. And I’m going to make another comment with regards to that, too.
We’ve used Economic Development Fund money for a lot of different projects in this City. And Mr. Nave and I were talking about it out in the hole and I came up with another new definition and he didn’t like it. I said dead businesses. What did I mean by a dead business? Small manufacturing facility, a warehouse or what have you. That doesn’t bring people in to spend money. It may bring in new employees. How many of those employees actually move into Shawnee and either buy or rent or what have you. And some of these businesses are physically located in such areas that probably a majority of their employees don’t even go out to lunch. They probably bring their lunch into work with them. And I’m referring to the WestLink Business Park. I mean, it’s nice that we got those businesses there, but those employees probably don’t even go out to lunch. So, this is a project that overall I think will have a positive domino effect. It’s not a destination venue, but it’s going to be one of the closest things that we’ve come to in this area. So, I think it’s a good idea. But get those seats in there fast so I don’t have to go down to AMC 17 anymore. Okay.
MAYOR DISTLER: Thank you for your comments. And in addition to that, besides the first run, I know and I hope you plan on keeping the retro nights because there is tons of talk on Facebook about when the Back to the Futures were running. And Top Gunis I guess the current movie that’s running. And it’s just all a-Twitter of all these people. So, it sounds like there’s many going to the retro movie nights as the new. Any other comments from the audience?
MR. LYSAUGHT: I will attempt to be brief because I think it’s real obvious where the votes are here. But I want I do want to point out a couple of things. The information that was in the packet praised B&B as being a very successful and -- well-established and successful theater group. Probably is. My question is, why are we subsidizing a well-established successful theater group. And I have nothing against these gentlemen. I’ve got nothing against the proposal in general. I just think this is the wrong use for this money.
The City is being asked to pay to rehab this. One of the questions I haven’t heard and I sort of alluded to, how much of this money is actually going into the theater, how much is going into the parking lot, how much is going into landscaping. And, oh, by the way, we’ve got a possible $300,000 out here that may be spent or not and that’s going to be maybe spent in six years. Why isn’t there something broken out so you have an accounting of where this money is going?
I drive that parking lot virtually every day. As a matter of fact, Jack probably recalls here about a month, two months ago I called him up and said, I almost lost an axle today. It was fixed. But how much of that money is being used to maintain what should have been maintained by the landlord or the tenant? And how much is really going into the façade, the other things we’re talking about here?
And why are we waiting six years for a return on an investment potentially for a restaurant and what kind of restaurant? Do we want another Taco Bell in there or something of that nature or do we want something nice? Where are the restrictions or the limitations?
This sort of takes me back to my initial point. I don’t know if this is a bad idea, but I think it’s one that’s being made very hastily and I, frankly, cannot help but think we’re sort of circumventing the TIF requirements of having a public hearing, let people speak to it, give notice to people that are interested and then make a decision based upon informed information. I’m not going to address the investment return rate because that’s abysmal.
And I note that this agreement is solely with Oak Meadows. Why is not B&B going to be asked to sign on this? Why are there not some personal guarantees if this thing goes totally south? We put out a bunch of money, we get no return on investment. At best we have maybe break even. But if it fails, there’s nothing there. I just think this hasn’t been adequately considered and really discussed. And I get the sense that this is something that’s being rushed through for whatever reason. Obviously they want to have the money. They want to build this. I get that. But your job is to look out for the interest of the City. And I don’t think that’s being done at the present time. Thank you.
MAYOR DISTLER: Thank you. Anyone else from the audience that wants to comment on this item? Okay. Seeing none, I will accept a motion.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Move for approval.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Second.
MAYOR DISTLER: A motion has been made and seconded. All those in favor say aye.
COUNCILMEMBERS NEIGHBOR, VAUGHT, MEYER, SANDER, KENIG: Aye.
MAYOR DISTLER: Opposed nay.
COUNCILMEMBERS PFLUMM, JENKINS, KEMMLING: No.
MAYOR DISTLER: Motion passes. Councilmembers in opposition are Councilmember Pflumm, Councilmember Jenkins, Councilmember Kemmling.
[Therefore, Councilmember Meyer moved and Councilmember Kenig seconded to approve the Development Agreement with Oak Meadows, LLC for renovation of the B&B Shawnee 18 Theaters and additional restaurant/retail space at Westglen Center. The motion passed 5-3, with Councilmembers Pflumm, Jenkins and Kemmling voting nay.]
2. CONSIDER ESTABLISHING BUDGET LIMIT AND SETTING PUBLIC HEARING FOR THE 2016 AMENDED BUDGET AND THE 2017 BUDGET.
MAYOR DISTLER: Item Number 2 is to Consider Establishing Budget Limit and Setting Public Hearing for the 2016 Amended Budget and the 2017 Budget. Kansas Statutes require the City to set a public hearing for the 2016 Amended Budget and the 2017 Budget. Included are the notices setting the time and date for the public hearing for July 25, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.
a) Consider approving the Notice of Public Hearing amending the 2016 Budget for July 25, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.
Two actions are required. The first recommended action is to consider approving the Notice of Public Hearing amending the 2016 Budget for July 25, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.
The Notice of Public Hearing for the 2016 Revised Budget shows that two funds require amendment. The Parks & Pipes fund increases by $230,510 to accommodate the expedited schedule on the Nieman South drainage project. The Stormwater Utility Fund increases by $187,215 in order to have budget authority for an increase in pipe repairs.
Does anyone on the Council have any questions? Ms. Meyer and then Mr. Vaught.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Less of a question, more of just a clarification. So, this evening we are just setting the date and time for the public hearing and the maximum expenditure, not approving the budget as it were. I just wanted to make that clear.
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: That’s absolutely correct.
MAYOR DISTLER: Mr. Vaught.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: I know we had extensive conversation about -- during our committee meeting kind of this, you know, we had a list of needs in front of us and we ended with a fire station. And I think, you know, we’re not being -- my personal feeling is I think we need to re-discuss some of the needs because those needs are going to go away and I don’t think we’re doing our job to ignore the needs as though they don’t exist. Obviously we can’t meet all of them, but I would like to re-discuss maybe looking at some of the ones that, you know, the public has been asking us for and some of the ones that we know we probably need to do something about. You know, I know that it’s a hard to, you know, public safety is a big thing obviously with a lot of people and so we’re approving a fire station and we know we need more officers. So, you know, we’ve got, you know, if we get one officer out of it, let’s look at that. Codes enforcement is one of those things that people have been asking for. I mean, that’s public opinion. People want to see us actively enforce codes. We’ve got the largest street improvement or mill and overlay budget we’ve had ever and we don’t have enough manpower to manage it, and staff is saying we need somebody. I mean, if you look at some of the notes we’ve -- or some of the comments, you know, we’ve pulled, you know, had pull people from other areas and double-task them to go do something that theoretically we should have a position they’re doing. So, I think this needs to be talked about. I mean, and the same with stormwater. We doubled the, you know, we’re talking about doubling the stormwater fee. This still doesn’t get us to where we need. Those pipes aren’t going to go away. It’s still, I mean, it’s infrastructure. Our job is to protect that asset. We are charged with protecting the assets of this city. And, you know, a lot of people want to look at it as raising taxes. It’s raising services and services need to be paid for. And that’s what we’re doing. I mean, it’s our job. I don’t, you know, nobody wants to run out and say I’m going to raise your taxes, but the conversations I’ve had with people in Ward III and I’ve been -- every opportunity I’ve had in the last month and a half to talk about mill levy increases and this is what we’re doing with it, I’ve had no push-back because people out there that have spent a lot of money on a house want services. You know, we’re expanding -- we’re expanding areas and to do that we need to manage them. So, I don’t know what everybody else is -- feels. I know, Jim, it looks like your hands up and just kind of get an idea if there’s some consensus on that.
MAYOR DISTLER: Ms. Meyer and then Mr. Neighbor.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: I already spoke.
MAYOR DISTLER: Oh, sorry. Mr. Neighbor.
COUNCILMEMBER NEIGHBOR: Are we lumping everything into A, or A is just for the amended, meaning for amended 2016? Are we in consensus about that so we could set that for that time? Or is there two? The budget, are we putting them together or are we going to talk about the other things for ‘17 as a second item?
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: [Inaudible; talking off mic]
COUNCILMEMBER NEIGHBOR: That’s what I was -- that was my point.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: Are you making a motion?
MAYOR DISTLER: Does anyone else on the Council want to speak to that item before you -- to the ‘16, the revised ‘16? Does anyone from the audience want to speak --
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: All you’re doing is setting a hearing, right?
COUNCILMEMBER NEIGHBOR: Yeah.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: Okay.
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: [Inaudible; talking off mic]
MAYOR DISTLER: Okay. Well, I just want to give anyone the opportunity to speak now.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: I just wanted --
MAYOR DISTLER: All right.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: I thought, you know, he was talking about stuff, I don’t know if we’re adding.
MAYOR DISTLER: I’ll accept a motion to the Revised ‘16. Mr. Neighbor.
COUNCILMEMBER NEIGHBOR: Yeah. I move that we publish the Notice of Public Hearing amending the 2016 Budget for July 25th meeting at 7:30 p.m.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: Second.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: 2016.
COUNCILMEMBER NEIGHBOR: 2016. Thank you.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: And I’ll third it.
MAYOR DISTLER: Okay. A motion has been made and seconded. All those in favor say aye.
MAYOR DISTLER: Opposed nay. Motion passes.
[Therefore, Councilmember Neighbor moved and Councilmember Sandifer seconded to approve the publication of the Notice of Public Hearing to amend the 2016 Budget for July 25th meeting at 7:30 p.m. The motion passes 8-0.]
b) Consider approving the Notice of Public Hearing for the 2017 Budget with a maximum mil levy of 26.97 to be discussed on July 25, 2016.
MAYOR DISTLER: The second recommended action is to consider approving Notice of the Public Hearing for the 2017 Budget for July 25, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.
The numbers included in the 2017 Budget Notice represent the budget as discussed throughout the budget process, and include the items that were recommended by the Committee: the construction and staffing of an additional fire station, an increase to the Stormwater Utility Fee, and the construction related costs for expediting the Nieman corridor drainage and street projects.
Is there any discussion from the Council? Mr. Neighbor?
COUNCILMEMBER NEIGHBOR: I sort of concur with Mr. Vaught there. As we come to setting a mill levy for 2017 and reviewing the presentations we have received, several facts are apparent to me.
In the last ten years since the Shawnee mill levy was increased, the Missouri Kansas Consumer Price Index annual average is up, gone from 190.1 to 222.3 in 2015. And it started in 2006. That’s an average increase -- that’s a 32.3 points or 3.2 percent per year, which includes the ‘08 recession. As far as comparisons, we had -- we were given employees per square mile. Core city, first class cities without Shawnee, the average is 14.6 employees. Shawnee has 7.6. The national benchmarks we were given, they have 13.3 employees for -- and so Shawnee with our 7.6 as far as core cities, we’re 48 percent below that and with a national benchmark we’re 43 percent below. As far as expenditures per capita, again, from the comparison, the core cities expended $2,292 per capita. Shawnee was 1,554. That’s a difference of 32 percent. The national cities was $2,234. Shawnee is 31 percent below that.
Going forward, while we have been doing more with less, now we have hit the wall and need more to do more. We need to do more with more in order to provide the services that Shawnee citizens expect and deserve. Therefore, I support a mill increase of -- if you would put that up. A mill increase of 2.44 mills to 26.976, to include Fire Station 74, 1.77 mills; Engineering Inspector Tech, 0.09; a Street Inspector, 0.11 mills; another police officer, 0.10 mills; Municipal Court Security, 0.1 mills; Code Enforcement, 0.9 mills; Stormwater Tech Engineer, 0.11 mills, for a total increase of 2.44. At around an additional $13 per mill per capita in increase expenditures, this represents an annual increase in expenditures per capita of $31.29 to $1,585 or around $5.58 per month per household. However, even with the increase Shawnee is still over 25 percent behind core cities and per capita spending and almost 25 percent behind the national cities comparison spending. Even with this we would still have the eighth lowest mill levy in the county. It’s just we are –
We need to do something to get the money to provide the services that our people have come to expect. And I would offer part of that is the Parks, Pipes and Pavement referendum which was just two years ago where the public overwhelmingly approved because they felt it was necessary and needed. And I think that they will understand these needs and why we need to do them to keep on with all the projects we have coming.
MAYOR DISTLER: Mr. Kenig.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Yeah. I have a question. So, as I understand it, when we forward this for -- or vote on this for the public hearing, we can always reduce mill levy allotments at the public hearing, we just can’t increase them at that time, correct?
MAYOR DISTLER: Yes.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: I think there may be value in revisiting this, you know, in terms of putting it all on the table. I do think the public hearing is going to be the opportunity for members of the public to weigh in and provide feedback on what we’re going to fund. And if it’s all off -- if most of it’s off the table except the fire station, they’re not going to be able to provide that because we’ve essentially passed that point. I do think that in light of recent events last week, it’s made me kind of rethink public safety in particular. One police officer position makes a huge difference. So, that’s something I think that should be considered as well going forward. But I think there’s value in putting several of these on the table. Being able to have a thorough discussion, being able to get public feedback and input and then being able to formulate a decision based on that feedback.
MAYOR DISTLER: Ms. Meyer. Oh, I’m sorry.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: You know, I -- actually Brandon just changed my mind. So, I think Councilmember Kenig has a good point. I personally can’t see a path to me supporting this level right now, but I think that getting public feedback on this and having the options on the table would be valuable. So, I would support that, having the conversation.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Yeah. I have a problem with the whole paradigm as I mentioned in the last budget meeting. And that is that we have a basic budget that’s been proposed for this city. And in that basic budget we left out some important public safety items. They’re not in that budget. They’re on an unmet needs budget that’s been provided supplemental to that budget. And I have a real problem with that because since that’s our number one and number two priority for this city, public safety and infrastructure that should be in the base budget, boom. And then if we got other needs, those needs should be on that other sheet of unmet needs. And I think we’re catawampus on this. I think it’s a real problem. And I’m very unhappy with the way that budget is being presented from the standpoint that we have our top priority projects showing in the unmet needs. That’s ridiculous. That belongs in the base budget. And I don’t -- you take some of that stuff that’s already in the base budget and you put that in the unmet needs and we’ll talk about it and see if that’s appropriate for a mill levy increase. And I’ll be willing to listen and talk to you about that. But by god, we need to have our public safety and our infrastructure needs right there in the base budget. They’re non-negotiable. That should be in there. And I don’t like this bait and switch thing like we’ll put public safety stuff over in this unmet needs because everybody will vote for that because we always take care of public safety and stuff. I think it’s a bait and switch operation and I don’t like the way it’s being done and I think it’s inappropriate. And I think I’m being sold a bill of goods here and I don’t appreciate it particularly. I’ve raised this issue a number of times and it’s about time we lay our cards on the table, folks, because those are absolute priorities. John Maddox, the fire station, by god, that belongs in the primary budget, not in unmet needs. If Rob needs some police officers, that belongs in our basic budget, not in unmet needs. We’ll talk about unmet needs. Maybe it’s a noise abatement. Maybe it’s all these other things that we’ve got in our budget right now. Maybe they belong in the unmet needs. But I think we’re really backwards on the way this budget is being presented. And if you want to open up the bag of worms, I’m happy to talk about it because by god, this budget is backwards. And that’s not the way it’s supposed to be presented to our citizens. They deserve public safety. They deserve a good fire department and adequate stations. And by god, we’re supposed to give that to them. That’s a mandatory requirement right out of the box. And it’s not being presented that way in this budget. And that’s not right.
MAYOR DISTLER: Mr. Kemmling and then Mr. Neighbor.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Real quick. I’d like a clarification on the process we’re going through right now. The Committee approved a budget. The Committee submitted a budget for the Council to approve.
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: The Committee didn’t actually recommend a full budget. There was not a motion on a full budget. The Committee did poll votes on several key items and those poll votes were then incorporated into this notice amount for this Council to vote on --
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: Okay.
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: -- whether to move this number forward or a different number forward.
COUNCILMEMBER KEMMLING: And so the motion here is to move forward -- okay. I get it. Thank you.
MAYOR DISTLER: Mr. Neighbor.
COUNCILMEMBER NEIGHBOR: Yeah. I would like to, you know, take issue with what Eric said. You know, here we have in priority based budgeting, what, 264 different programs that add up to our total amounts of what it costs us to do business and using this as a basis in the budget process. And to me it seems to work good. I like it because I can go and figure out where everything is. I would also throw in the fact that the Kansas Legislature this year passed a law to institute priority based budgeting. So, it obviously has some merit because many other places are using it. Yes, public safety is extremely important and I agree with it. But there is a point, I go back. We have been doing more with less for a long, long time and now we just can’t do anymore. And some of these things that were described as needs and that’s what the opportunity for when the public comes and talks about this what the needs and to help us with the public hearing. But, you know, I -- whether we decide which one of these things we want to put there or put off because basically tonight we are just establishing a maximum limit that the mill levy can be. And I think we all understand that there is going to have to be some sort of increase someplace, probably even beyond just a fire station and some of the other things.
MAYOR DISTLER: Mr. Vaught.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: You know, I don’t necessarily agree that everybody in the general public thinks that all they want is public safety. And I think a lot of people, and if you asked them are you more concerned with the condition of the road in front of your house or building another fire station, they would probably say, well, I want my road paved in front of my house. It’s up to us to make sure that we look at everything. It’s up to us to make sure that we look at everything. But I would just like to ask Mr. Jenkins what, you know, you talk about -- I’m confused what you’re saying because you’re saying that should have been in the budget. So, are you saying that stuff should have presented us with a budget? I mean, if we look at public safety, we’ve got 1.77 or 1.8, or whatever it is for a fire station. And it would take half a mill to, you know, original ask was five police officers, so that’s a half mill. So, we’re at 2.4, 2.3, 2.4 mills. So, would staff have presented us a budget saying public safety is number one, so here is a budget and this budget requires a 2.3 or 2.4 mill increase because this is non-negotiable, this has to happen because that’s kind of what I’m hearing. I don’t know how else we get there. How do we get that into the budget unless we vote to increase the mill levy?
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: You get that way because some of this stuff in the budget should be listed as an unmet need instead of these items being unmet needs. It’s pretty simple. I was very straightforward about that.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: No, I understand that. But we’re saying is all these --
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: There are items in our budget that was proposed to us by the City staff.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: Uh-huh.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: They made choices on what they wanted to put into that budget, recommendation. And they selected the items that are in there including abating storm -- train whistles and other things that are in there. Go ahead and look at the budget, it’s in there. And they elected to take out and put off to one side for additional -- for a mill levy increase items that absolutely don’t -- are not negotiable. They don’t believe in the unmet needs thing that we’re going to discuss mill levy increases. They belong in the budget. And some of that stuff in the budget needs to be extracted from the budget and put over in this unmet needs area.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: Okay. But --
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: And we can analyze that and review that and say do we want to meet those needs. And that’s where we should be looking at possibly increasing the mill levy. Not on base requirements. Public safety is a basic requirement. That’s the reason a city exists is to protect its citizens and to provide communications. Communications being roads, bridges as one which promotes commerce and interaction within the community. Those are like the primaries. They don’t go on the unmet needs list. They go on the ‘gotta have’ list, part of the basic budget. And then we have the other items that we can sit here and discuss that are not absolutely mandatory required items. They can be on one side. And I listened to Jim talk about, you know, we only have half the staffing cost of a lot of other cities. We’re at 7 and they’re at 14 and all this kind of stuff. Well, right now our staffing requirements makes up 72 percent of our General Fund. That’s our personnel cost, 72 percent of General Fund. If we double it to what you’re telling me we ought to double it, where are you going to get the money? We’re going to have double taxes.
COUNCILMEMBER NEIGHBOR: No.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: We’re in the personnel business. We don’t build widgets.
COUNCILMEMBER NEIGHBOR: Excuse me. Madam Mayor.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: No. Excuse you is right.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: Our business is -- we’re in this -- well, hold on. I was still speaking.
MAYOR DISTLER: Mr. Jenkins.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: I had asked a question, so.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: He asked me.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: So, in response to that, we’re in the service business. That’s what cities do. So, yeah, the majority of your costs are going to be people. We don’t build anything. We don’t have a product cost --
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: That is a substantial -- yes.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: -- other than materials we consume. Excuse me, I’m talking. Other than materials we consume. So, yeah, I mean, that’s very normal for a city to have a high -- a big part of their budget is employee costs. But I’m going to go back to what I’m saying. So, what you’ve thrown out is train whistles. Okay. Train whistle is a one-time expense. We’re talking about mills, ongoing expenses, year after year expenses. So, we have all this -- you brought that up during the meeting that, okay, we can cut all these areas in the budget, but you still have not identified anywhere. So, we’re talking about public safety. Let’s say -- let’s just make it easy, 2.4 mills. Go and identify 2.4 mills. Not a one time, we’re going to pay for this this year, but then next year, you know, we’re not going to do train whistles this year, but then next year we’ve got to go find that money. 2.4 mills year after year, cut it out of the budget so you can fund these. Propose it and show where this money is. Because the one you threw out was Professional Services, which the most expensive item in there if I’m not mistaken was 10-10 taxi, which mostly serves your ward. So, you go tell your constituents that you don’t want to have 10-10 taxi.
MAYOR DISTLER: I thought it was Legal Fees when I was listening to the meeting.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Certainly it’s not --
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: Well, legal fees are the highest. The second highest was --
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: It’s about this big. It’s not much at all quite frankly.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: But it’s not. My point is --
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Go look at --
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: That’s a sheet you brought.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: You go look at them and you’ll see.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: And I’m not, I’m just, Eric, I’m not digging on you.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: [inaudible]
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: No. Because you’re coming at it saying this is how it should have been done. They presented it. Present an alternative. You have not presented -- other than when you said you wanted staff to bring us something else, staff has brought us what they brought us.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: No.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: So, you have not presented 2.4 mills of savings so that you can put those public items, public safety items in the budget. So, how else did they get them in there?
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Well, that’s a mischaracterization of what I’m talking about frankly. What I’m saying is that those items belong in the budget and some items in the budget belong in the needs list, the unmet needs list.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: Then identify those. Then identify them and get four other people to agree with you and we’ll move them out of the budget.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: You know, I’ve attempted to do that and I get accused of being a micro-manager. That’s why I left it up to the City staff to identify those areas that should be in unmet needs list over here and not the fire station and not the police officers. They should make that decision when they offer that up. Those are -- public safety is not a negotiable item. That’s a mandatory requirement for us to provide to the citizens of this community.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: So, are roads.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: It’s not something we’re going to --
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: So are roads.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Well, you know, I know what the game is. The game is let’s put the stuff we want in the budget and let’s put these things like public safety and stuff over here in the unmet needs because people have to vote for those, you know, that’s a game.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: Where’s the fluff?
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: It’s been played a long time. I’ve Kansas City, Missouri do it. I’ve seen all these cities do it. That seems to be a real standard operating procedure. We’ll put this stuff that the people will vote for. And we’ll put that over here in the unmet needs and we’ll pad the budget with whatever we want over here that we think we need for operating systems.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: Then identify the fluff.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Okay. You know, we can sit here and argue this all night to no avail.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: Identify it. I’m telling you to identify the fluff. Because you’re making accusations. Identify what you’re talking about. Identify the stuff in the budget that doesn’t need to be there --
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: First of all --
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: -- because you have not done that.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: -- you’re addressing it totally inaccurately. So, I’d really appreciate it if you would at least be accurate in your comments. I just said there is stuff in the budget that you may consider needs, the City may consider it needs, but it’s not Priority 1 and 2.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: That’s your opinion.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: So, that stuff needs to be --
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: Identify -- identify what those things are.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: We know what Priority 1 and 2 are. We went all through all that stuff last year.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: That’s your --
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: We’ve identified the priorities. We’re on a priority based budget. And the priorities are public safety, infrastructure. So, those are in the budget. There’s other items in that budget right now that may wind up going over and being plugged into this item on this unmet needs category. And we would discuss those as unmet needs. And we would have to make a decision on whether we’re going to fund those needs or not. That’s pretty basic what I’m saying. And it shouldn’t be -- if you want me to select them, that’s kind of crazy. Because if I do I get accused of micro-managing and telling the city what they can and cannot do. I’m asking the City to do that and take some of these items and put them over there, offsetting exactly dollar for dollar what we require for public safety.
MAYOR DISTLER: Mr. Neighbor, would you mind if I, or do you want to make your comment, otherwise --
COUNCILMEMBER NEIGHBOR: I’ll make my comment, I’ll make it brief. As I go through, again, PBB, they’re quartiles as we all know. The fourth quartile is about $7 million. That’s the lowest one. As I go to the police department and I take all the fourth lowest quartiles, it’s $805,284, which is just about one mill. And some of the things that if we took those away would be security and fingerprinting, false alarm warning, property control, court security, bailiff, the police academy, special tactics and response. Now, these are things which evidentially aren’t important. And I could go over here in Public Works and the tree program it’s only about half a mill. But the thing is all of the -- everything in this budget has been determined by the department heads of what they need and do, and their experience show, and it gives us the report. And so I submit, as I said here before, you know, we’re talking here the difference is going to take about another seven-tenths of a mill to do the things I suggested. Whether they all happen or not, that’s fine. That can be determined. So, I agree with the fire station and I think we need at least one police officer. But, you know, PBB, all of that stuff in here by department, so just tell us the ones you don’t want.
MAYOR DISTLER: And I just want to add, so, when we did the Council retreat, as we all know I’m very green. I’m the analytical one. And I could probably say I’m the single-handedly most conservative person sitting up here as I live in my small little house that’s been paid for over a decade and I drive my 18-year-old vehicle that I paid cash for 18 years ago. And I have been very conservative on my votes in ten years on this Council. I have not been supportive of tax increases. I have looked at the check register every single meeting, line item by line item. And I don’t work well in generalized statements of, we can just cut ten percent, we can just do this. So, I have looked at every single item and every statement. And over ten years there has been times when something did not look right to me and I would ask the questions. I would say, well, what is this expense for because this doesn’t -- I don’t understand this. And when the answer would come back it would make sense. It was a valid expense, it was a valid need.
I don’t see that anything that we’re investing isn’t a need, especially when in just our Citizen Service Request alone, as I’ve mentioned a few times, we have 47, some of them are getting as old as five years old, stormwater Citizen Service Requests alone of where their property is eroding and they’re having these problems and we don’t have the staff or the money to fix this. And it’s almost daily I’m hearing something.
And we can rah-rah public safety, and we do need public safety. We need fire. We need police. They save lives. They’re very important, but so is public works, so is our infrastructure, so is our internet service, so people can get on our website and see what they need to do and where they need to go. And we need the person that goes out to fix that sidewalk in front of that resident’s house. They’re paying their taxes and they want these things taken care of. And they are making these requests of us and I am hearing this daily from people. And every time I have to give the response back we don’t have the time or the money. And, you know, fortunately we want our police and our fire protection. But fortunately most residents in this city won’t ever have to call them and that’s a good thing. But the things that public works do touches every resident’s life every single day. And if our streets aren’t maintained and things like that, our public safety can’t get to our residents to take care of these things. So, you know, as far as these unmet needs, even with getting a fire station in the northwest that still doesn’t meet all of our needs. If this Council remembers correctly we lost three lives in the northeast section of our city because we need a fire station there as well. So, they’re not even, by talking this they’re still not even meeting all of the unmet needs that come in on a daily basis.
And I would challenge because although I’ve asked the questions over ten years of our semi-monthly claim at meetings, I have never heard another Councilmember ever ask another question, yet I know for a fact not one Councilmember sitting here has ever, ever voted against any of the semi-monthly claims ever. So, why if there is $10 million worth of waste going on or $1 million worth of waste going on would a Councilmember not want to be the -- or a resident. We have a watchdog blogger that watches every single thing that we do. And if he saw in this monthly check register that this kind of waste was going on and that money was being sent in areas that are not needs, he would call us on this. And as Councilmembers, if you see $10 million worth of waste as you’re reviewing your packet every two weeks, or $1 million worth of waste, $100,000 worth of waste, $10,000 worth of waste, $100 worth of waste, why are you not bringing it up? Why are you voting in support of where this money is being spent? Because if it’s there, if all these generalized statements are true, why would you not be the hero and say, I have found it?
Any other comments? Mr. Kenig.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: I just know cost cutting is, you know, something that’s valuable year round. I don’t think it comes up -- it’s not just valuable at budget time, it’s something we need to look at year round. I still don’t see how that -- if we look at the stormwater costs that we need address and the fire station, both of which we -- this body voted on and supported last time around, that’s over $16 million worth of cost right there. So, whether we look at, you know, what -- line item by line item in the current budget, I don’t see where we get to $16 million in terms of cutting. And that doesn’t affect anything else, but that’s just based on what’s been voted so far. So, we’ve already as a body voted for a mill levy increase.
I think there’s definitely value to opening this up for the public to provide input and say, hey this is what the factors are important to us. This is what we’re seeing in our neighbors and be able to weigh in on and that and then be able to determine there. I think this is a difficult conversation, but that doesn’t mean that it ends now. It should be difficult and it should be messy. And that means that we continue it forward into the public hearing and we battle it out. But, you know, there is clearly unmet needs here. I don’t think the conversation should be closed. We shouldn’t close the door. That doesn’t mean, you know, and obviously we can reduce, we can go down. We can start at that limit and work our way down.
But we haven’t had the conversation we need to have about this. It’s been limited I think. And it’s something that needs to be had. And then, you know, I think that having that, I think nobody can accuse of not doing our due diligence of going through all of this. And at the end of the day there’s a decision to be made. But we will have battled it out. We would have significant opportunity for the public to provide feedback because I would like to hear more public feedback frankly. I haven’t heard -- I’ve heard very little. And so I don’t know if that’s a case that the public is fine with what we’ve decided, or if it’s a case of, you know, they were just waiting to come to the hearing. But the fact is the hearing is going to be too late because we’ve -- if we don’t open this back up.
MAYOR DISTLER: Any other comments from the Council? Any comments from anyone in the audience?
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: Please approach the podium and state your name and address.
MAYOR DISTLER: Okay. Seeing none, seeing none, I will accept a motion. Mr. Neighbor.
COUNCILMEMBER NEIGHBOR: Please restate what you said. You’re looking for a motion?
MAYOR DISTLER: Yes.
COUNCILMEMBER NEIGHBOR: Okay. I would move that we can -- let’s see. How do I say this? I would move that we set a maximum mill levy of 26.97 to be further -- to be discussed at the Public Hearing for 27 of -- I’m sorry. I move that we set a maximum mill levy 27.97 for the --
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: 26.97.
COUNCILMEMBER NEIGHBOR: 26.97. Thank you. For the 2017 budget for the period.
MAYOR DISTLER: Do I have a second?
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: Second.
MAYOR DISTLER: A motion has been made and seconded. All those in favor -- Mr. Pflumm.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: I have a question. I don’t know that we can vote on this just the way this is. I’m pretty sure we cannot. I think it has to have a dollar number associated with that because that is what we are going to vote on I believe.
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: I was just going to say the notice will actually -- the number is actually the amount of ad valorem tax, which on page 47 shows 26.306. We will make the numerical calculation. That brings that up to a mill levy of 26.97. So, that would be the number that we would post. These would be items for discussion as part of the Public Hearing.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: Because we’re talking about the Public Hearing.
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: You’re actually correct. We will convert that number back to a tax levy amount.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: Okay.
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: Absolutely.
MAYOR DISTLER: Okay. So, do I have a motion and a second? Okay. A motion has been made and seconded. All those in favor say aye.
COUNCILMEMBERS PFLUMM, NEIGHBOR, VAUGHT, MEYER, SANDIFER, KENIG: Aye.
MAYOR DISTLER: Opposed nay.
COUNCILMEMBERS JENKINS, KEMMLING: Nay.
MAYOR DISTLER: Motion passes with Mr. Jenkins, Mr. Kemmling -- did you do a nay?
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: I didn’t do a nay.
MAYOR DISTLER: Okay. Mr. Jenkins and Mr. Kemmling voting in opposition.
[Therefore, Councilmember Neighbor moved and Councilmember Sandifer seconded to approve the Notice of Public Hearing for the 2017 Budget with a maximum mill levy of 26.97 to be discussed on July 25, 2016. The motion passes 6-2, with Councilmembers Jenkins and Kemmling voting nay.]
MAYOR DISTLER: Next --
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: And for the record, we were not voting on anything there except for --
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Having the hearing.
COUNCILMEMBER NEIGHBOR: The maximum.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: -- we drew a line in the sand and you cannot go over that land.
COUNCILMEMBER NEIGHBOR: That’s correct.
H. MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS
1. RATIFY SEMI-MONTHLY CLAIM FOR JULY 11, 2016, IN THE AMOUNT OF $2,073,567.19.
MAYOR DISTLER: The next item is Miscellaneous Items. Item Number 1 is to Ratify Semi-Monthly Claim for July 11, 2016, in the Amount of $2,073,567.19. Does anyone on the Council have any questions?
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: I feel like I should.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: Do you have a full breakdown of that?
MAYOR DISTLER: It was part of your packet, sir. It’s a line item, item by item.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: No questions.
MAYOR DISTLER: Is there anyone from the audience that would like to speak to this item? I’ll accept a motion.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: Motion to approve.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: Second.
MAYOR DISTLER: A motion has been made and seconded. All those in favor say aye.
MAYOR DISTLER: Opposed nay. Motion passes unanimously.
[Therefore, Councilmember Sandifer moved and Councilmember Vaught seconded to ratify the semi-monthly claim for July 11, 2016, in the amount of $2,073,567.19. The motion passed 8-0.]
2. MISCELLANEOUS COUNCIL ITEMS
MAYOR DISTLER: Miscellaneous Council Items. Does anyone on the Council have an item they would like to discuss? Mr. Kenig and then Mr. Vaught.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Yes. So, just for anybody who is listening at home I just wanted to make a pitch. I checked the website today. I think the Citizens Police Academy is accepting nominations. I think 17 out of 26 of those slots have been filed as of the last time I checked. The numbers may not be completely accurate, but just wanted to highly again recommend that program for any citizens who -- well, actually to participate in that program you can be a resident or work in the City, 18 years of age and have no criminal background. So, just can’t recommend that highly enough. Stephanie and I were graduates of last year’s program. Immensely beneficial. The insights you gain, the exposure you get and I would not even call it a class. I mean, it’s full immersion and it doesn’t feel like a class at all. So, really appreciate the work that the Shawnee P.D. does because it’s time that they give up themselves to do that. So, it’s very much appreciated. But I learned more than --
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: There are other graduates, too.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: Yeah. Mickey as well.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: And Jim.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: And Jim.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: And the Mayor.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: But I learned more from that than I think I’ve had in a lifetime in terms of just the commitment and what goes into the day and day of the police force. So, if you haven’t, I know that’s rapidly closing, so get your applications in.
MAYOR DISTLER: Well, I not only graduated, I volunteered the five years following just so I could keep going. Mr. Vaught.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: Mr. Kemmling brought up several months ago we talked about fireworks. Of course we just had the Fourth of July and we talked about obviously legalizing fireworks. And I was opposed to it and this Council was. And I’m still opposed to legalizing. But obviously we’re not going to stop people from using them. So, I would like to throw out possibly bringing back to a Committee the idea of much like what Amsterdam does when it comes to marijuana, it’s tolerated. It’s not legal. A lot of people think it is. It’s actually tolerated so they can un-tolerate it anytime they want. They can tweak and adjust anytime they want. So, tweak, I don’t know if that’s a good word or not. That’s a totally different drug. But it would be interesting to talk about because the reality is, and I’ve talked to a few officers and, you know, I don’t know if they want to see speak publicly about it. But, you know, standing there writing somebody a ticket, and we talked about this. Writing a ticket for fireworks when, you know, they’re shooting over your head over here is kind of tough. And I know they don’t like to delve into that. But it would be interesting to look at this idea of kind of a toleration policy that says, yes, they’re illegal, but we’re going to tolerate it and really tighten up our timeline and when you can and can’t. And then so if it does get completely out of hand it’s a lot easier to un-tolerate than it is to change a law again. That’s an expensive process and an arduous task. So, I don’t know if that’s somebody maybe wants to bring it up. I know -- I’m sure Mike would like to bring it up again, but it’s, I mean, I sit in my neighborhood and it’s like a fricking war zone and I’m just laughing going, you know, yeah. I mean, it’s -- let’s just figure this out so we’re not selectively picking on people. And so, you know, you tighten up those timelines. And if people -- and then it’s a lot easier to write a ticket, you know. If we say nothing after midnight and at 12:30 a guy is doing something, that’s a big ticket. We said this is it. This is our timeline and so we kind of force people into following that and then the threat is always we can always un-tolerate it next year with a pretty quick policy change, so I don’t know.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: Did you light some off?
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: Huh? Me? No. I watched my neighbors though.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: Okay.
MAYOR DISTLER: Mr. Jenkins.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Yes. Interesting we were talking about the police right there because my comments were regarding the police as well. And after what’s transpired in this nation in the last week, I’d like to tell our police officers that you have our heartfelt appreciation. We got your back. Everybody on this Council I’m sure feels the same way. You have a hard job made harder by these people that just are so out of control. I don’t understand, but we don’t really get it, but we have to deal with it and you have to deal with it. Rob, I appreciated the comments you made back to one of the people. I saw that you answered one concerned citizen and that was a very nice response you gave, very comprehensive, it was great. But you guys are very special to this community. You’re a brotherhood, so I’m sure you’re feeling the pain of losing some brothers even though they don’t live here in Shawnee. And God bless you guys and God bless those that are not with us anymore as well.
COUNCILMEMBER NEIGHBOR: Amen.
MAYOR DISTLER: Yes. Thank you.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: Yep.
MAYOR DISTLER: And on a lighter note, I guess I’ll go ahead and share, too. There’s a new momentum going on in Shawnee. And so if you go out to the Facebook group Shawnee KS Rocks! In less than a week we’ve got like 350 members and all these comments are being posted about that they are finding parks in Shawnee they didn’t know existed. They’re getting exercise. They’re doing things with their family and it’s been this really fun scavenger hunt. So, it’s a game where you paint rocks. And on the back you put the little Facebook symbol and you put Shawnee KS Rocks! So, if they find the rock they know where to go to post a picture of the rock or themselves with the rock or whatever. And then they can either leave the rock there or they can hide it in a new place. But we like them to be hidden visible because we want people to find them. Or they can keep the rock if they really like it and then paint one of their own and hide it someplace in Shawnee. So, all the Shawnee parks, the City Hall, the Civic Centre, the pools, they’re being hidden all around Shawnee. And like I said, in less than a week there’s 350 members and this is just blowing up and all of these comments, which is really exciting being National Parks Month, so it’s really exciting. Especially to see that they’re finding parks they didn’t know Shawnee had and they’re Shawnee residents. And then on top of that I mean I personally painted hundreds of rocks myself, me and my daughter and the resident that brought it to my attention the Friday before Fourth of July. So, that’s what we spent our weekend doing was painting rocks. But I’ve also -- as the 23rd Mayor, I painted 23 specific Mayor rocks. They’re number 1 to 23 that have my personal key painted onto them hidden around the City as well to be found. So, if you want to join in the fun and hopefully bring some rainbows and unicorns to Shawnee, we’ll -- you should join us. Mr. Sandifer.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: You brought up a good point because in the morning we’re having a glass breaking.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: Go find some rocks.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Bring your rocks.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: You could bring your rocks and throw them through the glass at the glass breaking in the morning on Shawnee Mission Parkway.
MAYOR DISTLER: That’s not what they’re for.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: You know, everybody -- we can --
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: That kind of sounds like fun.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: Yeah.
MAYOR DISTLER: That’s not what they’re meant for.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: We’ve been trying to get Shawnee Mission Parkway cleaned up for quite some time and we have a glass breaking in the morning that’s for all of the older buildings, the old Texas Tom’s, the pawn shop and all the things down there and get things cleaned up. But a good place for your rocks.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: I have one more thing.
MAYOR DISTLER: No. That’s not what they’re for.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: Ms. Mayor.
MAYOR DISTLER: Mr. Pflumm.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: I just have one more thing. I mean, we do have, speaking of online and everything, so we do have a food truck event that’s going to happen on July 29th right out here in front. And there has been -- it’s been posted for, I don’t know, I’m going to say three, four days and there’s 140,000 people that it has reached already. So, I think we’re in a very good geographic area. And I think people are excited.
MAYOR DISTLER: And Dodge City Beef is sponsoring that, right? I don’t want to misspeak.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: Dodge City Beef posted it. Okay. And there’s 140,000 people that have seen it.
MAYOR DISTLER: But I mean it’s just --
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: Well, how many is going to show up --
[Inaudible; talking off mic]
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: There’s been over 300 people say I’m coming. Okay. And there’s thousands of people that have said they liked it. So, I don’t know what the exact numbers are. I’ll get them for you, Mickey.
MAYOR DISTLER: Okay. If there’s no other items I will accept a motion.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: Motion to adjourn.
COUNCILMEMBER NEIGHBOR: Second.
MAYOR DISTLER: A motion has been made and seconded to adjourn. All those in favor say aye.
MAYOR DISTLER: Opposed nay.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: Nay.
MAYOR DISTLER: Motion passes. We are adjourned. Mr. Pflumm voting in opposition.
[Therefore, Councilmember Sandifer moved and Councilmember Neighbor seconded to adjourn. The motion passes 7-1, with Councilmember Pflumm voting nay.]
(Shawnee City Council Meeting Adjourned at 9:30 p.m.)
I certify that the foregoing is a correct transcript from the electronic sound recording of the proceedings in the above-entitled matter.
/das July 19, 2016
Deborah A. Sweeney, Recording Secretary
Stephen Powell, City Clerk