Merriam clarifies definition of residency, household to set membership fees for new community center

Anna Slocum
Anna Slocum, Merriam parks and recreation director

In preparation for establishing memberships for the new community center, Merriam city leaders have clarified definitions for residents and households within the city.

The council on Monday expanded the number of ways residents can prove they live in or own taxable real estate in the city, and also changed how the city defines a household from “more than one person” to “two adults and up to four dependent children.”

Construction of the parking structure for the new community center in Merriam is nearly complete.

The city previously only accepted a valid driver’s license with photo identification as proof of residency in Merriam. Now, residents can provide one of the following:

  • Valid driver’s license
  • Valid state-issued non-driver’s license
  • Current utility bill (electric, gas or water)
  • Current city business license or Notice of Appraised Value issued by the Johnson County Assessor’s Office

Anna Slocum, director of parks and recreation, said the changes provide clarification for staff when residents apply for community center memberships.

“We wanted something that provided a clear direction of documentation,” Slocum said.

The city slightly adjusted the policy to include state-issued non-driver’s licenses as an option to provide proof of residency. Councilmember David Neal had asked if the new policy would accept residents who don’t drive but have state-issued photo identification instead of a driver’s license. Slocum said she would be brought into those conversations if that occurs.

Ken Sissom
Merriam Mayor Ken Sissom

Mayor Ken Sissom echoed Neal’s sentiments, adding that many people have state-issued identification but don’t have a driver’s license.

The city also created new definitions for a household so residents and non-residents can receive a household membership rate.

The city’s previous definition separated residents from non-residents; a household for residents was defined as more than one person living at the same address, whereas a household for non-residents may include no more than six household members.

The city’s new definition — which is now the same for residents and non-residents — includes two adults and up to four dependent children. Children ages 18-24 must provide proof of residency.

Slocum said the goal of the proposed definition was to be specific enough for administrative efficiency but also broad enough to include all families.

Councilmembers asked how the membership fees would be applied to households with more than two adults or more than four children. Slocum said the city needed to first clarify a baseline definition; staff will consider establishing add-on fees for extra individuals.

The council voted 7-0 to accept the changes for residency and household definitions as related to the community center.

City staff reported that the $36.6 million project remains on time and on budget. Assistant City Administrator Meredith Hauck said the parking structure on site is complete, while grading within the site is still underway. Construction now turns to creating the internal road network and working on the foundations for the community center building.  The community center will begin going vertical mid-summer and is set to open in summer 2020.