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The Kenig Konnection

May 2016

A vote here, a new business opening there...

<<First Name>>,

It's that time of year - most kids will be home for summer break in just a few short weeks and parents will be juggling summer camp and sports schedules, as well as vacations. This year is also an election year, with an unbelievable (and really, unthinkable) presidential election as well as elections for U.S. Senator, U.S. House, and state legislature. Ensure that you not only vote this November 8th, but also on August 2nd - Primary Day in Kansas. This election cycle is already shaping up with multiple primary contests on both the Republican and Democrat side of the ballot for many races. In Kansas, if you wish to vote in the Republican or Democrat primaries on August 2nd, you MUST register as a member of that particular party by filling out a new voter registration form and returning it to the Johnson County Election Office by noon on June 1st. The early registration requirement does not apply if you are an unaffiliated voter and wish to vote in the Republican or Democrat primaries - you simply can show up to your polling place on Election Day and re-register as a member of either political party on the spot and then vote in the primary.




At the city level, we are starting annual budget preparations as we review current revenues and expenses leading up to our vote on the 2017 budget later this July. I'll be emailing updates and information on this year's budget throughout the summer as we review and dissect it piece-by-piece leading up to the vote. As always, feel free to reach out to me with any questions.

Lastly, I've re-organized my newsletter content below for ease of reading. In this email, I review recent votes, such as the recent changes to our dangerous dog breed ban, followed by general city news and resources, and lastly, I highlight new businesses and economic development initiatives.

If you have a chance, stop by The Device Shops later today at 10316 Shawnee Mission Parkway from 4-10 pm for the KC Startup Crawl. The Device Shops, a local incubator and co-working space for hardware-based startups, is one of two locations for the startup crawl in Johnson County and the first year Shawnee is included in the program. I'll be there along with several Shawnee Chamber representatives, as volunteers, touting all Shawnee has to offer startup businesses to the hundreds of entrepreneurs participating in the crawl.

       ✔ RECENT VOTES ✔      

Council Leadership Election

Council President & Vice Chair Elected

Last month, we voted on a council president and council committee vice chair to lead us through next April. The Council President develops the agenda for all committee meetings and works with the Mayor and the City Manager on crafting public policy. The Council President also serves in the role of council committee chair and presides over our committee meetings, where we actually debate and develop recommendations that eventually become resolutions and ordinances, and also acts on behalf of the Mayor and represents the city in instances when the Mayor is not available, since she is first in the line of succession if something happens to the mayor, followed by the most senior member of the council based on length of service.

The council committee vice chair's main duty is to preside over and lead council committee meetings if the Council President is absent or unavailable.

Incumbent Council President Stephanie Meyer was re-elected to another one year term on a 7-1 vote.
(Councilmember Sandifer was the lone NO vote). Incumbent Vice Chair Mike Kemmling was re-elected on 5-3 vote (Councilmembers Pflumm, Jenkins, Kemmling, Meyer, and I voted FOR; Councilmembers Neighbor, Vaught, and Sandifer voted AGAINST). It has become somewhat of an unofficial tradition for leadership to serve two terms, since one-year terms are fairly short.

Congratulations to both Stephanie and Mike on being re-elected to their respective roles.

Pit Bull Ban Repealed

Ordinance modified to dangerous dogs

Shawnee's ban on pit bulls was enacted in 1985 and has sparked controversy in recent years, as many residents with mixed-breed pit bulls have been deterred from relocating to the city and adoption agencies have even been reluctant to adopt out dogs to Shawnee residents. Additionally, the new owner of U-Wash Puppy in Shawnee spoke to us on the detrimental impact on her business, since she cannot technically service customers with pit bulls since they are not allowed in the city. Most cities in Johnson County have repealed their breed-specific bans as greater knowledge and evidence has surfaced that dog behavior is a product of environment and upbringing rather than breed.

At our April 11th council meeting, we voted unanimously (8-0) to repeal the breed-specific pit bull ban, replacing the ordinance with a general ban on dangerous dogs.

Vehicle Charging Stations

Electric vehicle charging stations fails

One of my first votes last May as a new councilman centered on whether or not to approve the installation of electric vehicle charging stations at several locations on public property, including City Hall. KCP&L agreed to pay the installation and maintenance costs, leaving the city responsible for annual electricity usage costs. At that time, we voted to table any action until this year.

This month, we revisited the proposal of installing 10 electric vehicle charging stations at four city-owned public facilities (Sisters City Park, Civic Centre, Justice Center, and Johnson Drive & Barton parking lots) at a total estimated electricity cost of up to $4,000 per year for two years, or up to $8,000 total. I appreciate and support the use of alternative energy, but just like last year, I opposed this for a number of reasons. I do not believe this serves a public need and that there is a major benefit to the public at large for this (since the number of electric vehicle owners is still very small) and as such, it is not the role of government to install these on public property. Additionally, within the last year, KCP&L has worked with private business owners to install 11 charging stations on private property throughout the city, including the Hy-Vee on Pflumm and Wal-Mart on Maurer. These are highly-trafficked locations where the stations will be utilized, unlike the proposed locations on city-owned property,which I think would be underutilized if utilized at all. The marketplace has adequately addressed this with more than enough locations throughout the city, and I think the thousands we would spend in electrical costs can be better benefit the public by being budgeted for repairs to our sewer system, major road projects, or economic development projects such as the downtown revitalization, especially at a time when sales tax receipts are down infrastructure needs require urgent attention.

The Governing Body voted 7-1 against moving ahead with the electric vehicle charging stations, with Councilmember Vaught as the lone no vote.

Prioritizing Road Projects

Funding for capital improvements to 2020

The Governing Body recently approved city staff's prioritization of major street projects in our Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) up to 2020, which allows the city to apply for county funding through the CARS program.

All of us on the Governing Body individually prioritized projects and handed those to city staff to determine a master prioritization as you see below:

After hearing from several residents, I personally prioritized and advocated for addressing needed improvements to Monticello Road (widening the road, adding shoulders), from Shawnee Mission Parkway south to 79th street, so I'm glad to see it on this list. The city is applying not only for county funds for the Monticello road project, but federal funds as well (that application will be made in 2019). As always, this schedule is liable to change and projects may commence sooner based on funding availability and completion of other projects.


State of the City Address

Mayor's Update is now available online

Mayor Michelle Distler summarized major accomplishments in 2015 and outlined her vision for growing the city in 2016 this past February. Her state of the city address was video recorded and is available to view in the link above and the text of the speech can be read HERE. The speech highlights the direction we're going in 2016, particularly in economic development, major infrastructure projects, street maintenance, and downtown redevelopment and revitalization. 

Train Horns Update 

1 crossing closed, 2 others on hold

The crossing at 59th street has been closed and is now silent. The 73rd and 75th street crossings are on hold as the city waits for a decision on approving an exception to requirements for a 60 foot median at 73rd street. The city is also waiting to hear from neighbors on possibly supporting and funding a low-water bridge on the personal property of one of the impacted homeowners, and the city is waiting on information on purchasing an easement from BNSF Railroad to construct a trail to increase access in the area. 

We're expecting answers and resolutions on these issues sometime this summer, and I'll keep you informed as we have further updates.

Traffic Safety Award 

AAA gives award to Shawnee Police 

AAA recognized the Shawnee Police Department's traffic efforts by awarding them their "gold" award for the 5th time. Only 22 agencies across the state have been recognized by AAA for traffic safety and Shawnee Police Department is one of only 2 agencies in Johnson County to receive the "gold" award - AAA's second highest.

Congratulations to Police Chief Rob Moser, Sgt. Walsh, and the entire traffic unit. Their good work in protecting and serving our community and patrolling the streets does not go unnoticed - by residents or by external organizations.


New Business in Shawnee 

Ribbon cuttings, relocations,  growth

This past March, Federated Rural Electric Insurance Exchange filed rezoning and plat applications to allow them to move their headquarters to 79th and Renner Road, just east of Shawnee Mission Park. The limestone and glass building will encompass 36,700 square feet, incorporating several LEED-certified and energy-friendly features and employing 60 people.

Proposed Site Plan for Federated Rural Insurance

I was pleased to make the motion to approve and authorize Mayor Distler to sign the excise tax abatement agreement for this major relocation to Ward 4. The same evening, we also approved $45,000 in Shawnee Entrepreneurial & Economic Development (SEED) incentives for the project and issued $17.5 million in bonds to aid in acquiring the site and constructing the property.

Proposed building entrance for Federated Rural Insurance

Meanwhile, several other businesses opened over the last eight weeks to much fanfare:

Ribbon Cutting for McAllister's Deli

Ribbon cutting for Nuts & Bolts Hardware, anchor tenant for Shawnee Parkway Plaza redevelopment

I had the opportunity to speak to Tim Haake, regional president for True Value Hardware, the parent company for Nuts & Bolts, as I was shopping at the store and he was emphatic in his praise for city staff and chamber staff. Tim says they opened two other stores recently - in Independence and Olathe - and by far, this was the smoothest and most stress-free process for locating a new store, from the permitting and licensing process to the grand opening. The owner of Planet Fitness made similar comments about city staff, that they were responsive and accommodating.

We are fortunate to have great people who work to bring new business and new jobs to our city, and hopefully that message will resonate across the region and enable us to attract more opportunities for residents and workers in our city.

  About Brandon

Ward 4 Map

Click here to view a city map with boundaries for Ward 4.
Submit Citizen Service Request

Potholes? Broken traffic signal? Sewer drainage issue? Report it to the city.
Upcoming Events

City Council Meeting -
7:30 pm,
City Hall
City pools open - Soetaert Aquatic Center & Splash Cove/Jim Allen Aquatic Center
Friends of Shawnee Town Bloody Mary Party, 5 pm
Old Shawnee Days, June 2-5, Shawnee Town grounds
My Recent Travels
Head Start Bright Futures           Annual Banquet
JoCo Legislative                         Breakfast, Overland Park
Planning Commission Site        Plan Review, City Hall
Device Shops Tour with            visiting FCC                                  Commissioner Ajit Pai,              Shawnee
Planning Commission Site        Plan Review, City Hall
☆ Public-Private Partnership        Summit, Santa Monica
Young Professionals                  Cofffee with the Mayor,              Shawnee Chamber office
New Businesses
Congratulations to the following businesses that have have recently opened in Shawnee. Welcome!



Brandon Kenig
Councilmember - Ward IV
City of Shawnee

Copyright © 2016 Brandon Kenig for Shawnee City Council, All rights reserved.

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