Leawood continues to attract national attention as safe place to call home with a number of great amenities — but the city is keeping an eye on a few developments outside its control that could affect the quality of life there, Mayor Peggy Dunn said Wednesday.
Delivering the annual State of the City address before more than 100 people assembled at United Methodist Church of the Resurrection — which she noted has grown to become the largest Methodist congregation in the country since its foundation in 1990 — Dunn noted a slew of recognition the city had received over the past 12 months, including being named third best small city in America by the website WalletHub.
But Dunn noted a handful of circumstances that could affect city government in the coming year. Among her top concerns was the situation surrounding the state’s K-12 funding formula. Dunn indicated that the possibility the state could have to invest an additional $600 million to address the Supreme Court’s latest ruling gave her pause.
“The state legislators [last year] passed a budget they believed would shore up the financial future for the next several years. This belief was altered dramatically when the Kansas Supreme Court rule in October that school funding is still inadequate and unfair,” Dunn said. “The resolution will undoubtedly impact each of us.”
With Board of County Commissioners members Steve Klika, Jason Osterhaus, Ed Eilert and Ron Shaffer in attendance, Dunn also noted the ouster of longtime County Manger Hannes Zacharias.
“[The departure of Zacharias] was a big surprise, since the county has long been recognized for excellence, which we anticipate and hope will surely continue,” she said.
Among the other highlights of her address, Dunn noted:
- That significant flooding over the summer had caused damage to city property, and that the city was working on a plan to address flooding issues in the future.
- The northern part of the city has seen a wave of teardown/rebuild projects. Of the 53 new single family home permits the city issued in 2017, 27 were for rebuilds in part of the city north of I-435.
- That the city had seen the opening of the new Variety KC Playground at Leawood Park, which is just the second fully accessible playground in the KC area.