Kansas City holds last Legislative Session of 2018

Elizabeth Orosco
Northeast News

City Council members gathered Thursday, Dec. 20 for the last council meeting of 2018. The docket held eight special actions, four of which were retirements of those who have served the City of Kansas City for 140 years collectively.

Mark McHenry was honored and received a standing ovation for his service in the Parks and Recreation Department for 44 years. McHenry is one of the longest-serving City employees on record having worked for the same department over his entire career and serving in a leadership capacity for over 30 years, 15 years as Deputy Director and 15 years as Director.

McHenry is a nationally-recognized industry leader and has worked tirelessly to provide the citizens of Kansas City, Missouri with 34 parks, six community centers, 1,000 acres of parkland, numerous, playgrounds, shelters, ball diamonds, aquatic facilities, fountains, monuments, sculptures, soccer field and 120 miles of trails.

Randall Edson was honored for his service of 37 years and 4 months in Public Works. He began his career with the Public Works Department in 1981 as an Engineering Aide working on a Survey Crew, and progressed to become a Professional Engineer in 2004. He created the City’s first Internet webpage for digitized Engineering Standards and Specification and will complete his work with the City on Dec. 31, 2018.

Denise Burkett was honored for her service in the Water Services Department for 29 years and 6 months. She served her entire tenure in the same department since June 5, 1989, with her positions including Engineering Aide in the Wastewater Treatment Division, Environmental Compliance/Registered Engineer and Environmental Compliance/Registered Engineer. Burkett looks forward to her retirement, beginning Dec. 31, 2018, to spend time volunteering.

Stuart Bullington was honored for his service in the Department of Neighborhoods and Housing Services for 29 years. Stuart brought family to Kansas City, Missouri in December 1989 as the Chief Housing Planner with the Department of Housing and Community Development. Bullington worked on projects including Beacon Hill, Troostwood and numerous affordable housing projects and redefined the Beacon Hill CDBG eligibility from Low Mod Area benefit to Slum and Blight, saving the City $13 million.

The Paseo name change ordinance was also on the docket, but Councilman Lee Barnes asked the Council to hold the item.

“At the request of those constituents who were intimately involved with this,” he said, “we’ve been asked to hold this until after the first of the year, so I’m petitioning the council to agree to that hold again.”

The Council unanimously agreed to hold the item until January 10.

The 18th & Vine Ordinance (No. 180825) was also placed before Council, which would approve certain projects and funding sources for Phase Two of improvements in the entertainment district. Third District Councilman Jermaine Reed sponsored the ordinance, saying an agreement was made between all parties, including his colleague, Third District Councilman Quinton Lucas after a motion to re-refer the ordinance back to the Finance Committee was made.

“I’m happy to report that successful meetings have been held with the 18th & Vine Policy Committee, and after that, there was considerable discussion between Councilman Lucas and I about the path forward for the ordinance that’s before us,” he said. “We are in full agreement, and very importantly, the 18th & Vine Development Policy Committee voted unanimously to approve the compromise which is reflected in this third committee substitute.

The long and short of it is that there are some mechanical changes to section two,  which would allocate a period of years, up to $10 million from third district PIAC. Over the past 20 months, the Development Policy Committee has been working extremely hard and we have seen increased momentum at 18th & Vine. We are hopeful for your favorable support today as we move forward in preserving and protecting the 18th & Vine District,” he concluded.

Fifth District Councilwoman Alissia Canady rose to address funding concerns, which were her same sentiments in previous meetings.

“I made the recommendation to send it back to committee last week because this is an important project and it’s one that deserved a little bit more discussion… My concerns remain consistent,” she said. “We talked about the housing policy and setting priorities in how we are going to fund certain things while this is one project that we have made commitments to. We’ve tasked the City Manager with the obligation to find $75 million to address our priority of housing. This measure calls for the City Manager to find $10 million. These will be competing uses of sources that the City Manager would have to identify, and I have some concern about that. We have competing uses of the same sources of funds and short of a new revenue source being established, these are going to be in competition with one another.”

She concluded by asking sponsors Reed and Lucas if housing was directly included in Phase Two, to which Reed responded “The answer is no.”
With 11 ayes, the ordinance passed unanimously.

The Council will reconvene for their first session in 2019 on January 10.

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