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Observer Corps 

Eileen Marshall, chair

Observer Corps iconBoard of County Commissioners

Observers: Leonore Rowe, Kathleen Morrow, Joan and Jerry Gilson, Karen Wiederaenders


October 24, 2019


The BOCC has been developing its priorities to support in the upcoming Kansas legislative session. The priorities are:

  1. to support increased funding for mental health services and community mental health center grants; 
  2. to support Medicaid expansion in Kansas;  
  3. to support legislation facilitating the collection of sales tax from purchases made from sellers with no physical presence in Kansas;  
  4. to support expanding the eligibility of the Homestead Act and SAFESR and tying those programs to federal poverty guidelines; and 
  5. to support funding of a comprehensive transportation plan including highways, airports, trails and transit.

During the discussion on Medicaid expansion, two commissioners were opposed, so that item was considered separately.  There was a 4 to 3 vote, so the item remains as one of the priorities.  

The resolution to conduct a public hearing to receive comments on the county’s CDBG application was discussed at length.  Commissioners Fast and Hanzlick noted that the application requested an insufficient amount for home repair funding. 


You may want to watch the progress on the new county courthouse.  The exterior is almost complete and interior work is progressing.


October 31, 2019

The County Commissioners approved amending the Capital Improvement Program for 2019-2023 to include the Central Library Renovation project.

The Commissioners discussed and approved adopting the 2020 Johnson County State Legislative Platform, which included wording in favor of maintaining the status quo for advance mail-in ballots. The issue of support for Medicaid Expansion was also raised and approved. 

The Committee of the Whole met for the Transit Report, which included information about bus routes dropped and added, plans for micro transit, ridership, fuel cost and more.  https://transitpowerpoint


November 8, 2019

The Board authorized contracts with Security Transport Services and U.S. Corrections to provide prisoner transportation services, for $245,828 for a period of 12 months

They authorized the county mental health director to sign the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Mental Health Department and the Sheriff’s Office for the provision of behavioral health services at the Johnson County Adult Detention Center. The Board also authorized the Mental Health Department to add 12.5 FTEs,  budget $1.5 million.  

The county Storm Water Management Program updated the Board on the strategic plan to move the program from an organization based on city government boundaries over to a watershed organization by 2020, the culmination of a four year project. 


November 14, 2019

Chairman Eilert announced that the final vote canvass for the November 5 would be that afternoon, unless a recount was necessary. Also, a community survey will be conducted in 2020.  

For more information see: https://boccmeetings.jocogov.org/


Observer Corps iconShawnee Mission School Board

October 28, 2019

Observer: Caroline Fuss


As the Shawnee Mission School District celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, the district recognized 14 high school seniors that were awarded the honor of qualifying as National Merit Semifinalists. The Shawnee Mission Education Foundation’s new program, “Scholarship Shawnee Mission,” connects students with scholarship opportunities from participating colleges. Thus far, the program has presented approximately 1,200 seniors with scholarships from 27 participating colleges and universities. 

To learn more, click here


Observer Corps iconLenexa City Council 

October 1, 2019

Observer: Jill Quigley


The city proclaimed October as Fire Prevention Month. The fire department’s theme is “Not Every Hero Wears a Cape.”  We were reminded to close our bedroom doors to increase the chance of escaping a fire

The city attorney presented three items for the council’s consideration: 

  • A nondiscrimination ordinance expanding employment, housing and public accommodations protection to include sexual orientation and gender identity with a complaint process, 
  • A hate crime ordinance enhancing penalties for crimes with a targeted bias, and 
  • An amendment to the city’s certificate of nondiscrimination in contracts to include sexual orientation and gender identity. Here is a link to that presentation


One person spoke against the ordinance and five spoke in favor, including State Representatives Brandon Woodward and Susan Ruiz.  Both measures were passed by an 8 to 0 vote of the council. Lenexa became the 10th city in Johnson County to extend protections to the LGBTQ community.

You can see the emails received by the council on this issue here.

The council unanimously approved the preliminary plan for Jayhawk Ridge, a mixed-use development located at the southwest corner of Prairie Star Parkway and Ridgeview Road. The 22-acre development includes a five-story mixed use building, a three-story self-service storage building with 410 rental units, and unspecified restaurants or multitenant retail stores. A more general concept plan covered the remaining 24 acres.

You can find the city council agenda and packet here.


Observer Corps iconOverland Park City Council

October 21, 2019

Observer: Janet Milkovich


Prior to the city council meeting, the Finance, Administration and Economic Development (FAED) Committee called a special meeting to review city staff comments about the proposed Brookridge Development agreement. This proposed development is a $1.8 billion renovation of the Brookridge golf and fitness club into a mixed-use development centered around six to seven new office buildings plus apartments. This development plan for 103rd Street and Antioch Road has been in the works for nearly five years.  

The FAED Committee included their recommendations in the regular agenda for the council meeting. The council voted to approve four resolutions for four public hearings to be held on Dec. 2 so that citizens can make comments and ask questions. 

The resolutions requiring public hearings for the Brookridge Development are: 

Resolution No. 4560  – regarding the advisability of the creation of a Community Improvement District (CID No.1)*

Resolution No.4561* – regarding the advisability of the creation of a Community Improvement District for Brookridge (CID No.2)

Resolution No. 4562** – concerning the consideration of a Redevelopment Project Tax Incremental Funding (TIF Project Area 2)

Resolution No. 4563** – concerning the consideration of a Redevelopment Project Tax Incremental Funding (TIF Project Area 2)


*Community Improvement District (CID) is a public-private partnership tool. CID funds can augment existing services such as public safety and be used to leverage additional funds.

** Tax-Increment Financing (TIF) subsidizes companies by refunding or diverting a portion of their taxes to help finance the development of a project site. 


Observer Corps iconOverland Park City Council

November 4, 2019

Observer:  Janet Milkovich


There are two main items to report.

  1. The city council voted to approve the 2020 State Legislative Program and the 2020 National Legislative Program. The council will continue to advocate for the protection of home rule authority to ensure OP citizen’s needs are met. The council favors governance at the local level and supports positions as outlined and will advocate for them on behalf of our community.
  2. The council voted to approve Unified Development Ordinance Amendments No. PLM2019-00082 regarding modifications to notices to surrounding property owners and modification to posting signs for rezoning and special use permits. Also approved was Resolution No. 4569 to establish standards for the design and wording of signs for pending rezoning and special use permit applications.

These ordinances were proposed by a task force comprised of developers, city staff and citizens in response to protests about the notification process, the types of cardboard signs used, and the language used.

To learn more, click here


Observer Corps iconPrairie Village City Council

November 4, 2019

Observer:  Eileen Marshall


Notable items:

  1. The mayor reported that NE Johnson County elected officials are discussing a possible legislative solution to the “dark store” property tax issue. Expect further information later.
  2. In the previous meeting, a bond issue was approved in the amount of $10 million for construction of the new public works facilities on the existing PW campus. At this meeting, the council approved a term of 30 years for the bonds.


To learn more, click here