The questions that readers would like to see candidates for city council in Prairie Village and Mission answer this election season have connections to recent events in each of the cities.
In Mission, the most common questions – repeated often – had to do with the East Gateway project. Residents want to know how candidates feel about all aspects of the Gateway development. In Prairie Village, the most repeated question centered on building restrictions that are now being considered by the city.
We received dozens of suggestions for questions in our call-out to readers. Thanks to all who submitted a question. Those suggestions have been synthesized into five questions posed to the candidates. The responses from Mission and Prairie Village city council candidates will run next week.
We plan to follow that with questions for Westwood candidates – mayor and city council – the following week. We could still use a few more Westwood questions, so feel free to keep sending those in for the next few days.
Here are the five questions that we sent to Mission and Prairie Village candidates:
1. What are your views on tax incentives for the East Gateway development? Specifically, do you favor using Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and Community Improvement District (CID) financing to pay off bonds? The developer has indicated he will ask for $29 million in bonds, backed by these sources, to support the project. The city council has been evenly divided on whether the East Gateway plan meets the intent of the city’s mixed use zoning. Do you believe the current plan meets that intent and is a good project for the city?
2. Trails for walking and biking were a priority item for many Mission residents in the parks master planning and in a resident survey last summer. The city council turned away from exploring a Mission section of the Turkey Creek Trail. How do you propose the city satisfy the desire for trails from its residents? Should the city set a priority on connecting to other regional trails or focus on connecting destinations inside Mission?
3. The Johnson Drive rebuild has attracted some new businesses. What is the next step the city needs to take to strengthen the business community? What about the residential community?
4. The Transportation Utility Fee (TUF), sometimes known as the driveway tax, was dropped in the city’s 2016 budget and the revenue replaced with a property tax increase. The TUF is tied up in the courts. If it is found to be legal, would you be in favor of bringing it back or do you favor using property tax and/or sales tax to support street work? Should the city debt-finance the needed street work?
5. What do you see as the biggest untapped opportunity to improve the City of Mission?
1. What are your views on the city’s role in regulating new construction in the city, including the tear-downs? Please be specific. Should different restrictions apply to the south end of the city from the north end because of varying lot sizes?
2. Other cities in northeast Johnson County pay a stipend to the mayor and city council members for their service. Prairie Village pays a ceremonial $1. Because of the cost of running for office and the hours required for the service, some residents argue that it is time to end the $1 practice. Do you favor paying more than the $1 to the council and mayor or do you want to keep it the same?
3. Please name one topic or issue you plan to tackle in the next four years and explain your particular stance.
4. What are the spending priorities that the city should be addressing? Please provide some detail about your priorities.
5. This year, the city will build a walking trail along Mission Road from the Village Shops to SM East. Do you support the idea of extending that trail to Corinth and then Meadowbrook Park? Should adding trails and bike lanes be a priority for the city?