Your Overland Park City Council election primer

The candidates running for seats on the Overland Park City Council representing Wards 1, 2 and 3 took part in our forum at the Johnson County Public Library Central Resource Branch.

Advance voting in person began Monday, Oct. 28 in Johnson County and Election Day is Tuesday, Nov 5. As residents start heading to the polls to cast their ballots for Overland Park City Council, we’re putting together our election primers to give people an easy way to find out where the candidates stand on the issues.

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Who’s on the ballot

The candidates running for seats on the Overland Park City Council representing Wards 4, 5 and 6 took part in our forum at Lakewood Middle School.

All six seats up in this year’s cycle have contested elections. You can find a map of the city council’s ward boundaries here, and you can look up your sample ballot via the Johnson County Election Office here.

The candidates for each ward are listed below. We’ve linked to their campaign websites where possible.

Ward 1

Ward 2

Ward 3

Ward 4

Ward 5

Ward 6

Candidate Questionnaires

Earlier this month, we published the candidates’ responses to the questionnaires we developed with input from our readers. You can find each of the five questionnaire items linked below:

Question 1: Neighboring cities give residents access to “open mic” time where they can make comments on any issue during city council and/or committee meetings. Should Overland Park offer this opportunity to its residents? If so, how would you like to see this implemented? See the answers here.

Question 2: The ForwardOP vision calls for the community to be “welcoming,” where people of all ages and from diverse backgrounds are engaged in the community. What policies would you enact to realize this vision for Overland Park to be a welcoming city? See the answers here.

Question 3: Living expenses in Johnson County have seen double digit increases in the last 4 years. Home ownership is becoming a challenge for people working in a number of professions such as teachers, firefighters, and police officers in Johnson County. Costs for individuals, including those on fixed incomes, who own their home without a mortgage have continued to rise. How would you address the need for more varied priced housing options in Overland Park? (This question was submitted by the Johnson County Health Equity Network, which is focused on housing affordability, stability and safety). See the answers here.

Question 4: Should Overland Park have adopted a city-level non-discrimination ordinance with legal protections for LGBTQ+ individuals? Why or why not? See the answers here.

Question 5: In recent months, city officials from across the metro area have been coordinating on ideas that local governments can take to address climate change. Do you support the idea of city government taking steps to increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions? Why or why not? See the answers here.

Candidate forums

Earlier this month, we hosted in-person forums for the candidates running for seats on the Overland Park City Council — one for the northern three wards, and one for the southern three wards. You can watch the video of the forums below. Topics covered during the forum are noted with time codes below.

Overland Park City Council Wards 1, 2 and 3 Candidate Forum

  • What’s the biggest challenge facing the city of Overland Park, and what should city government be doing about it? Discussion starts at 9:19.
  • What should the city’s goal be when informing neighborhood residents about a development project? What requirements should it put on developers for getting input from residents? Discussion starts at 19:30.
  • What standards would you apply as a city councilmember when considering whether to approve a tax incentives request from a developer. Discussion starts at 30:20.
  • Should the proposed Brookridge development get tax increment financing incentives? What can be done to mitigate the threat of Indian Creek flooding on the site? Discussion starts at 41:30.
  • Is the city granting too many variances and deviations for development projects? Discussion starts at 53:00.
  • Did you support the non-discrimination ordinance that came before the city council this week? Discussion starts at 55:45.
  • Should the city council be granting more permits to keep chickens in northern Overland Park? Discussion starts at 58:10.

Overland Park City Council Wards 4, 5 and 6 Candidate Forum

  • How should the city be preparing for the possible impact of “dark store theory” on the city’s budget? Discussion starts at 9:20.
  • What standards would you use to determine whether or not to grant tax finance incentives requested by developers? Discussion starts at 22:40.
  • Where do you stand on the Brookridge redevelopment proposal and tax finance package? Discussion starts at 35:45.
  • Would you support more open mic time for resident at city meetings? Discussion starts at 49:00.
  • How will you assure residents that your are making decisions on their behalf and not being influenced by developers or attorneys? Discussion starts 54:45.
  • With mental health issues growing in our community, should the Overland Park police department get more training on use of force? Discussion starts at 1:00:00