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I would like to extend my appreciation and gratitude to the Shawnee Mission Post for allowing me the opportunity to provide more information to my Prairie Village neighbors.

The Shawnee Mission Post ask all three candidates the following questions.  Below are my answers.

Question 1.) A majority of residents say they are concerned about the teardown-rebuild trend and the impact it’s having on neighborhoods. Should the city be taking additional steps to ensure new homes “fit” the neighborhoods where they are built? Should the city being looking at ways to reduce disruption to neighbors from new home construction?

Question 2.) What’s your view of the role of a mayor in a city like Prairie Village? Should the top elected official be setting a bold vision for the city? Primarily minding spending? Focusing on some other priority?

Question 3.) Prairie Village homeowners have seen their appraised home values increase faster than most of the rest of the county the past few years. What’s your view of the city’s property tax rate in the face of these rising home values?

Question 4.) The governing body has considered a number of initiatives in recent years to expand bike and pedestrian trails throughout Prairie Village — but has backed away from some projects after the objection of homeowners. Do you think expansion of bike and pedestrians trails is a priority for the city? If so, what would you do to see such projects become a reality?

Question 5.) If you were elected mayor, what’s the top thing you hope you could say about Prairie Village at the end of your term that you can’t say today?

 

Prairie Village mayoral candidates on the issues: Managing ‘fit’ of new homes into existing PV neighborhoods

Jay Senter - July 16, 2018 9:19 am

Question 1.) A majority of residents say they are concerned about the teardown-rebuild trend and the impact it’s having on neighborhoods. Should the city be taking additional steps to ensure new homes “fit” the neighborhoods where they are built? Should the city being looking at ways to reduce disruption to neighbors from new home construction?

Answer 1.)

Yes, we need to ensure the new homes “fit”.

I am supportive of keeping our Prairie Village charm. As our aging housing is replaced, it is important that new homes maintain the charm of our community. The city currently is in Phase 2 of public participation for residential guidelines. The City Council reduced the building heights and elevations, extended side setbacks, as part of Phase 1 in 2016.

As mayor I will support the creation of an architectural review board. We need to make sure this board keeps the Prairie Village charm by ensuring homes are built with four side construction and quality materials that meet or exceed the standards our residents expect. We need to continue to address drainage to protect surrounding neighbors from runoff water.

In 2018, our current permits in Prairie Village are 27% Roof, 25% Fence, 19% Remodel, 8% Building Additions, 8% New Home/Duplex (6% if your remove Meadowbrook), 5% Demolition, 4% Shed and 4% Decks. I support reducing disruptions in our neighborhoods during construction.

I do not support restricting, changing, or adding an ordinance for residents who may want to work on their own home, fence, deck or remodel. As Mayor I would support limiting work hours for contractors that perform construction services, traffic measures, educating contractors, posted signs with work hours and phone number residents could call to complain.

We also need to look at the entire permitting process from start to final inspection to ensure we are doing everything possible to allow construction to be completed as quickly as possible. I also support a web-based program where residents could check on their progress. This software could streamline the process between public works, building permits, inspectors, and contractors, while keeping the neighborhood residents informed.

We need to clarify our codes and look at the procedure used to go forward. Such process must balance growth along with being a community that attracts new residents while maintaining what makes our city charming in the first place.

Prairie Village is bursting with undeniable potential. It’s going to take careful listening, creative thinking, and the acknowledgement of our shared values and our hopes for the future to ensure that our city maintains its special “Prairie Village Charm” while embracing the new voices joining our neighborhoods.

What’s important is what matters to you. Please vote for Serena Schermoly for Mayor on August 7. Please visit www.serenaschermoly.org for more information.

 

Prairie Village mayoral candidates on the issues: What’s the role of the mayor in PV?

Jay Senter - July 17, 2018 9:42 am

Question 2.) What’s your view of the role of a mayor in a city like Prairie Village? Should the top elected official be setting a bold vision for the city? Primarily minding spending? Focusing on some other priority?

Answer 2.)

The role of Prairie Village mayor requires leadership, listening, communicating, and building community engagement. Our amazing city runs like it does because of its employees who are committed to the Prairie Village way.

As your mayor I will work with staff and Council to ensure our residents’ expectations are met. I support Ward Meetings in each ward to facilitate community engagement. After being elected I will meet with each City Committee to hear our volunteer’s goals for the committee and our city. I will engage our Merchant’s Association and the Northeast Johnson County Chamber, and let them know I am supportive, and offer my assistance and leadership to help our businesses grow and succeed.

It is important the Mayor work with Johnson County and neighboring city officials to see how we can ensure we are making services available to our residents.

Absolutely, the Mayor should have a bold vision for our city. Mine is to find ways to engage our residents and to provide them the resources and tools to help shape their community. It isn’t about what the Mayor wants, or what the Council wants, it’s what the residents want that matter. Without the appropriate forums and opportunities to voice their concerns and opinions, residents can feel left out of the decision-making process. With these and other engagements we can make the best decisions for the city going forward.

As a Council Member I am about saving, looking for grants, and being mindful that each dollar is an investment given by our residents. We have many items in our budget, including some long-term plans that we should be looking and applying for grants and other capital support. If you have followed my voting history or have heard me speak on this issue, I am very passionate about this.

As Mayor there are many priorities. Our City Council does a great job at maintaining our fiduciary excellence, but as they arrive at budget decisions, it is essential that we are listening to residents and not our own personal vision for the city. Just a few priorities residents have expressed to me are Keeping the Prairie Village Charm, making sure new construction fits the neighborhoods, bike and pedestrian paths, and street and sidewalk maintenance.

My priority will always be what is important to you, is what matters to me. Please vote for Serena Schermoly for Mayor on August 7 – Visit serenaschermoly.org

 

Prairie Village mayoral candidates on the issues: Rising home values and city property taxes

Jay Senter - July 18, 2018 9:15 am

Question 3.) Prairie Village homeowners have seen their appraised home values increase faster than most of the rest of the county the past few years. What’s your view of the city’s property tax rate in the face of these rising home values?

Answer 3.)

The rapid rise of appraised home values has shocked many residents but is the result of several positive factors coming together. The value of our housing stock is increasing. Prairie Village continues to rank among the highest rated communities in the state for public safety, quality of life, and our schools are nationally recognized.
The City of Prairie Village current mill levy rate is 19.311. In March, Lisa Santa Maria, Finance Director, projected a 4.5% increase in revenue to the general fund in 2019, amounting to $908,053. She explained about 80% of this additional money comes from increased assessed property values.

Compounding the increase in property taxes was the State Legislature’s failure to pass a bill at end of session that would conform Kansas tax code to the new Federal tax code passed in 2018. This will result in many Prairie Village residents not being able to deduct their property taxes, mortgage interest, or medical expenses on their 2018 Kansas Tax filing.

Residents hear all too often that the Mil Levy was not increased or was decreased, but our residents do not pay their property taxes with mils. They pay in real dollars. The city must be disciplined to control cost, and not view the $900 thousand as a windfall that can be used to grow city government. Instead, we must explore avenues to protect residents from skyrocketing property taxes.

One approach may be establishing a percentage cap on annual property tax revenue growth that would protect residents from excessive increases. Another approach may include providing a percentage tax discount for our seniors who have lived in their homes for an extended, defined period. I’m sure there are other ideas the community may have, and I will listen and present these to the appropriate bodies.

Bottom line, as Prairie Village continues to realize tear down / rebuilds, increased property assessment values for the whole community will be realized. The city must be responsible in ensuring additional revenue is used in part to lower taxes for our residents, and as Mayor I will work with City Council, the County, and our legislators to ensure we are tackling this problem that is squeezing our residents.

What’s important is What Matters to You. If you have any comments, questions or concerns please give me a call (913) 777-9597, Please vote for Serena Schermoly for Mayor on August 7 serenaschermoly.org

 

Prairie Village mayoral candidates on the issues: Improving bike- and walkability

Jay Senter - July 19, 2018 10:30 am

Question 4.) The governing body has considered a number of initiatives in recent years to expand bike and pedestrian trails throughout Prairie Village — but has backed away from some projects after the objection of homeowners. Do you think expansion of bike and pedestrians trails is a priority for the city? If so, what would you do to see such projects become a reality?

Answer 4.)

I firmly agree with our residents that the expansion of bike and pedestrian trails is a priority for the city. Over 65% of the respondents to the city’s recent survey rated this important or very important. On May 7, the Council voted to approve the Master Plan for Bike and Pedestrian Path Expansion. I voted against this because of the concerns many residents had brought about its implementation. The proposed removal of many of our older trees and the widening or additions of sidewalks on the right-of-way shocked some surprised residents. We approved the concept of a plan, but the details were far from forth-coming. Public Works has provided the basic framework for where paths are intended, but not the specifics. I was not comfortable approving a concept without a plan. We still need to make the decisions and allocate funds for whatever we choose to implement.

Johnson County’s Bike Path Plan intends to link the county parks and greenspaces to provide extensive corridors for travel and recreation beyond our city limits. By linking to current paths and working with neighbors and residents to find the best routes for widened lanes and sidewalks, we can develop a trail system that will be safely used by the community. Connecting trails in Johnson County to Meadowbrook and to the Corinth and Village Shops opens avenues to activities and supports a broader outdoor living community.

I am committed to making this project a reality. Last month I made a motion that was approved, to allocate $75,000 in the 2019 budget to start the signage and marking process. There are questions about the routes and installation, but these can easily be addressed by engaging the residents involved. The benefits of a well-planned and well-designed bike and pedestrian network will be felt by everyone. Families, seniors, singles and children will be able to easily access schools, events, businesses, community buildings, and each other as they benefit from exercise and being outdoors. Working closely with our residents near these proposed paths is the key to developing a plan we can be proud of.

What’s important is what matters to you. Please vote for Serena Schermoly for Mayor on August 7. Please visit serenaschermoly.org for more information.

 

Prairie Village mayoral candidates on the issues: Top goal while mayor

Jay Senter - July 20, 2018 11:30 am

Question 5.) If you were elected mayor, what’s the top thing you hope you could say about Prairie Village at the end of your term that you can’t say today?

Answer 5.)

At the end of my first term, we can expect to see a more engaged and responsive city. Our Village does a great job of meeting the expectations of the residents as it relates to public works, public safety and infrastructure maintenance. Our council has always provided excellent financial management and solid governance.

I will have appointed a committee to assist with aging in place. The committee will have identified the needs of those residents and explored the ways we can offer assistance to our seniors, allowing them to stay in their homes, and offering a connection outside of their home. That volunteer committee will be working with other committees and the Volunteer Corps to implement these solutions.

I will challenge each one of you to think of ways that we can work together to make our Village a better place to live. There are so many ways to engage our residents in improving our community; from cleaning and maintaining our statuary, planting trees, helping residents with home maintenance, or getting to a doctor appointment, grocery story or a community gathering.

As a city, we can encourage “Clean Up Saturdays” each month when we focus on our common areas and neighbors who need extra assistance. We need volunteers for our events, ad hoc committees, additional qualified people to sit on new committees, mentors for the Teen Council and so many others. We are the Prairie Village Charm. The way we love our community and show that, is what makes us a desirable place to live.

It will be an honor to serve you and I will end my term by making sure that it is easier to be a part of public service. Whether on a committee or as a volunteer, or just an engaged resident, we can expect greater economic development, better parks, more events, bike and pedestrian routes to be proud of, the lowering of code violations and most importantly, Keeping the Charm as a result of residents being more engaged in their city, and city government.

As I end this final question of the week, I would like to extend my appreciation and gratitude to the Shawnee Mission Post for allowing me this opportunity to provide more information to my Prairie Village neighbors.

I want to hear from you, I want to know what matters to you. Please vote for Serena Schermoly for Mayor, August 7. To learn more visit serenaschermoly.org

 


Paid for by Committee to Elect Serena Schermoly for Mayor, Treasurer Shelly Trewolla

5105 West 72nd Street
Prairie Village, KS  66208
(913) 777-9597
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