Olathe News Briefs

February 22, 2010

This Edition of E-News
• Earth Day Event Set for April
• Residents Saving on Prescription Drug Costs
• Vendor Open House Friday

City Council Agenda
The Olathe City Council will next meet on Tuesday, March 2nd in the Council Chamber at City Hall for a regular session meeting at 7:00. There will be no meeting on February 23rd. Regular session meetings are broadcast live on OGTN (Comcast channel 7, AT&T channel 99 and on the City’s website). Meeting agendas for Tuesday Council meetings are posted on the City's website on the preceding Friday.  


Earth Day Events Set for April
Released 2/22/10

The City of Olathe and the Olathe Chamber of Commerce are partnering to host a 2010 Earth Day event on April 22nd from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Corporate Ridge Office Park.

This year’s event will include a hands-on presentation on composting and yard care tips by the Johnson County Extension Service master gardeners and tips on reducing home energy costs from John O’Herron of Johnson Controls, Inc.

In addition, participants will have opportunities to have their vehicle’s gas caps checked to ensure a proper fit and fuel savings, drop off e-waste for a modest fee, and recycle ink and toner cartridges as well as used cell phones.

Dozens of earth friendly businesses and organizations will be on hand with information as well. Lunch will be available for purchase, and local farmers will be selling locally grown fresh produce.


Residents Saving on Prescription Drug Costs
Released 2/22/10

Last January alone, 81 Olathe residents took advantage of the Olathe’s National League of City’s Prescription Drug Program. The program provides an average savings of 20% on prescription drugs not covered by insurance at nearly every Olathe pharmacy. In total, the participants saved nearly $900.

The program is free, and discount cards are available at Olathe City Hall, both Olathe Public Library branches as well as other City buildings.


City Working to Have More Vendors Bid
Released 2/22/10

When more companies bid to provide services or goods, the City can have a broader choice and better opportunities to ensure high quality and a better price. As such, the City is partnering with Public Purchase, a web based electronic procurement service offered by the Public Group. The new service includes online registration for vendors wishing to be notified of bidding opportunities and electronic responses to bids.

Companies interested in learning more about the new service are invited to visit the City’s purchasing office on the City Hall’s first floor for open houses scheduled for:

• Friday, February 26, 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

• Wednesday, March 3, 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

• Wednesday, March 10, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 Noon.

In addition, companies can visit the City’s website, www.OlatheKs.org to register online, or call (913) 971-8714 to register by phone.


Stay informed by subscribing to automatically receive Olathe News releases via email. To subscribe, click here or visit Olathe’s website at http://www.OlatheKs.org/News/List.


February 12/15, 2010

This Edition of E-News
• Applications Now Being Accepted for New Housing Opportunity
• Citizen Survey Results Show Improvement and Continued High Satisfaction
• Development Forum Scheduled
• City Offices Closed for Presidents Day: Trash Collection Not Impacted

City Council Agenda
Released 2/15/2010

The Olathe City Council will meet Tuesday, February 16th at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber at City Hall for a regular session meeting. Regular session meetings are broadcast live on OGTN (Comcast channel 7, AT&T channel 99 and on the City’s website). To see the complete agenda for this meeting, visit the City’s website at www.OlatheKs.org .


City Turning Foreclosed and Abandoned Houses Into Homes
Released 2/15/2010

The City of Olathe’s Housing Services Division has been working on a new program that uses federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds to purchase foreclosed and abandoned houses in Olathe. Those houses, in turn, will be rehabilitated and either sold to qualified families or used as rental properties in the City’s housing program.

The City will be taking applications from families interested in renting or purchasing homes beginning 9:00 a.m. next Tuesday, February 16th. Qualified applicants must meet income guidelines. Twentyfive percent of families in the program must have income of less than 50% of the metropolitan area average income, and the remaining families must have income less than 120% of the median. In addition to meeting income guidelines, families interested in purchasing or renting a house are required to attend a homeownership training program and pass a criminal, credit and background investigation. In all, the City plans to purchase up to three homes to be sold and five to ten homes to be used for rentals.

Applications will be accepted until February 26th on a walk-in basis at the City’s Housing Office located at 201 N. Cherry Street. After the 26th, interested families should call (913) 971-6267 to schedule an appointment. Additional questions about what is needed to complete an application should be directed to (913) 971-6260.


Residents Say Olathe Still Headed in the Right Direction
Released 2/15/2010

The results of Olathe’s most recent citizen survey were presented to the Olathe City Council Tuesday evening showing the trend of continual improvement in citizen satisfaction continued again in 2009.

The survey showed Olathe’s overall satisfaction index increased to 126 from the original baseline of 100 in 2000. The City rated at 123 in the 2008 survey. In contrast, the overall satisfaction index for the metropolitan area declined from 100 in 2000 to 93 in 2009.

The survey, DirectionFinder, is conducted by ETC Institute and included responses from over 1,200 Olathe residents. It has a +/-2.8% margin of error and was administered in October and November of 2009. Olathe is one of over 200 cities and counties in the United States using DirectionFinder to gauge citizen satisfaction and priorities.

Once again, Olathe has the metropolitan area’s highest rating in satisfaction with overall city services and is at or near the top in nearly every other major category. Improvement in east/west traffic flow, a City Council priority, was a key factor in the increased satisfaction levels. The Council has invested heavily in projects such as the 127th Street Overpass over I-35 and the railroad grade separation project, as well the Automated Traffic Management System, each designed to ease congestion.

Citizen satisfaction increased despite nearly three years of City budget and staff reductions which ETC Institute Executive Vice President Chris Tatham attributed to several factors. He said, “The City has continued to be very strategic in making sure its limited resources are being used on what is most important to residents, and that has been a major driver.” But according to Tatham, that was not the only factor. He said, “The City has been very proactive and transparent in communicating about the economic situation and involving residents in the budget process, and residents realize that some areas will be impacted.” He continued, “However, residents indicate they are seeing more value for their tax dollars, and that tells me they truly appreciate how the City’s performing in the current economic climate.”

Tatham also attributed the improvement to the direction residents see the city headed. He said, “The City has transformed itself over the last decade in terms of quality services, strategic infrastructure investments and its position as a regional leader, and that has created a lot of good will.” Tatham added, “Olathe has moved from average at best in 2000 (when the survey was first conducted) to one of the region’s and nation’s leaders in resident satisfaction.” He said, “No other city we survey has seen this level of satisfaction improvement.”

According to City Manager Michael Wilkes, the survey remains a valuable tool. He said, “Our City Council has always worked very hard to make sure our limited resources are being used on areas most important to our residents, and DirectionFinder is a tremendous tool.” He continued, “It’s also critical to staff, so we can identify areas where we can improve and make changes.”

Wilkes was particularly pleased with the City’s high marks in customer service. According to Tatham, Olathe’s customer service level is unique. He said, “In many cities, residents who contact their city government have lower satisfaction levels, but it’s clearly different in Olathe….people who contact Olathe with a concern or problem usually end up actually having a higher opinion of the City.”

Complete survey results are available in the Accountable Government section of the City’s website, www.OlatheKs.org.


Development Forum Scheduled for March 11
Released 2/15/2010

Continuing efforts to make the development process more efficient, practical and user friendly, the City of Olathe is continuing its series of development forums. The forums are designed to share information and receive feedback from the development community.

The next forum is scheduled for Thursday, March 11th in the City Council Chamber at Olathe City Hall. It will run from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

This forum will focus on changes to development ordinances, tips for expediting building permits and planning applications, and opportunities to visit with staff involved in the development process.

The event is designed for individuals involved in development including: developers, contractors, architects, engineers and others. For more information contact Development Services at 971-8750 or visit the Development Services section of the City’s website, www.OlatheKs.org.


City Offices Closed Monday, February 15th
Released 2/15/2010

City of Olathe offices will be closed on Monday, February 15th for the Presidents Day holiday. The City’s trash and recycling collection schedule will NOT be impacted.

Stay informed by subscribing to automatically receive Olathe News releases via email. To subscribe, click here or visit Olathe’s website at http://www.olatheks.org/News/List.


For Immediate Release
February 8, 2010

This Edition of E-News
• City Offices Closed for Presidents Day, Trash/Recycling Collection not Impacted
• New Director Named to Lead Merged Departments
• Citizen Survey Results to Be Presented 2/9
• New Partnership Makes it Easier to Bid on City Projects and Contracts
• Help Crews Clear Streets

City Council Agenda
The Olathe City Council will meet Tuesday, February 9th at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber at City Hall for a study session meeting. To see the complete agenda for this meeting, visit the City’s website at www.OlatheKs.org.


City Offices Closed Monday, February 15th
Released 2/8/10

City of Olathe offices will be closed on Monday, February 15th for the Presidents Day holiday. The City’s trash and recycling collection schedule will NOT be impacted.


Director Named for Merging Departments
Released 2/8/10

Late last year, the City of Olathe began a process to evaluate reorganizing a number of operations to increase efficiency and continue providing excellent services in the face of declining revenue. One of the results is plans to merge two of the City’s larger departments, public works and municipal services.

The City of Olathe announced today that Ron Norris has been hired to help implement that merger and lead the new combined department. Norris is scheduled to begin on February 22nd.

As the new department’s director, Norris will oversee the current public works functions; streets, traffic, construction, and engineering as well as municipal services functions; water, sewer, vehicle maintenance and solid waste (trash and recycling).

Norris comes to Olathe with extensive experience. He served as Public Works Director in Lenexa, Kansas from 1996 until 2009. Prior to that, he served as Deputy Director of Public Works in Clark County (Las Vegas), Nevada. In addition, Norris was Director of Design and Construction for the State of Missouri, and Director of Transportation Policy for the Mid-America Regional Council.

He has been active in public works professional associations as well, including serving as the National President of the American Public Works Association and National President of the National Association of State Facility Administrators. Norris has been recognized both regionally and nationally for his work. He holds a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Kansas and a Bachelors of Science in Engineering from the University of Missouri.

According to City Manager Michael Wilkes, Norris is a great fit. He said, “With the retirement of two excellent leaders (Don Seifert and Rick Biery) and merging two departments into one, we were looking for a proven leader that has an exceptional grasp of not only the challenges, but also the opportunities the new department faces.” He said, “It’s great to have someone with Ron’s extensive experience and strategic approach to providing services to lead our new department.” Wilkes continued, “Both departments have set a very high standard for service to our customers, and I know that will continue under Ron’s leadership.” Wilkes said, “For us to continue providing the highest level of services in the face of today’s economic reality, we have to do things differently, and Ron Norris is the right person to do just that.”

According to Norris, he welcomes the challenge. He said, “For the last few years, Olathe has truly been a leader in innovation and service delivery.” “I’ve noticed a true strategic approach to finding solutions and delivering excellent services, and I’m looking forward to joining such a cutting edge organization,” he said.


Citizen Survey Results to Be Released Tomorrow
Released 2/8/10

Chris Tatham, ETC Institute Executive Vice President, will present the results of the City’s most recent citizen survey during the Olathe City Council meeting on Tuesday, February 9th. The survey gauges resident satisfaction with City services and identifies resident priorities. Olathe has been using this survey since 2000 as a tool to align resources to meet what residents say is most important to them. A copy of the survey will be available on the City’s website on Wednesday, February 10th.


City Working to Have More Vendors Bid
Released 2/8/10

When more companies bid to provide services or goods, the City can have a broader choice and better opportunities to ensure high quality and a better price. As such, the City is partnering with Public Purchase, a web based electronic procurement service offered by the Public Group. The new service includes online registration for vendors wishing to be notified of bidding opportunities and electronic responses to bids.

Companies interested in learning more about the new service are invited to visit the City’s purchasing office on the City Hall’s first floor for open houses scheduled for:

• Friday, February 26, 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM

• Wednesday, March 3, 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM

• Wednesday, March 10, 9:00 AM to 12:00 Noon.

In addition, companies can visit the City’s website, www.OlatheKs.org to register online, or call (913) 971-8714 to register by phone.


Help Crews Clear Your Street by Parking in Driveway on Snowy Days
Released 2/8/10

This winter, the City of Olathe is placing more emphasis on plowing snow during daylight hours to take better advantage of sunlight’s impact on snow melting materials and offset overall costs. To assist in snow removal, residents and visitors are encouraged to park vehicles in drives during the day when there is snow falling.

The City uses three levels of response when responding to snowfall, depending on the amount of accumulation. Initial snowfall treatment begins when snow has a depth of two inches with additional accumulation expected. This response focuses on clearing and maintaining major streets, followed by business and commercial collector roadways.


Stay informed by subscribing to automatically receive Olathe News releases via email. To subscribe, click here or visit Olathe’s website at http://www.OlatheKs.org/News/List.

 

 

For Immediate Release:
February 1, 2010

 

 

 

This Edition of E-News
• City Partners to Present “A Triumph of the Spirit” at MNU
• Plenty to Enjoy at Olathe’s Parks in the Winter
• Recycling Day Email Reminders from the City
• Park and Recreation Program Text Alerts Available

City Council Agenda
The Olathe City Council will meet Tuesday, February 2nd, in the Council Chamber at City Hall for a regular session meeting. The Council will convene at 6:30 p.m. for an executive session, and the public portion of the meeting will begin at 7:00 p.m. Regular session meetings are broadcast live on OGTN (Comcast channel 7, AT&T channel 99 and on the City’s website). To see the complete agenda for this meeting, visit the City’s website at www.olatheks.org.


Two Act Play About Harriet Tubman Set for 2/12
Released 2/1/10

The Olathe Human Relations Commission and the Olathe Public Library have teamed with MidAmerica Nazarene University to present “A Triumph of the Spirit”, a two action play about the life of Harriet Tubman. The play, written and performed by Shirley E. Oglesby Smith Johnson, features American Icon Harriet Tubman narrating stories from her childhood, adolescence and young womanhood.

The production is free to the public thanks to underwriting support from community organizations and businesses. It is scheduled on February 12th from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Bell Cultural Events Center on the MidAmerica Nazarene Campus.


Winter Is a Wonderful Time for Bird Watching in Olathe Parks
Released 2/1/10

Olathe parks and trails support diverse habitat suitable for a variety of bird species. Bird watching in winter can be quite enjoyable and it might also serve as the only time for some species to be viewed in this area.

According to Olathe Parks Services Manager Paul Krueger, there are many benefits to venturing out in the Winter to view birds. The parks are usually not as busy as they are in the summertime making for a more enjoyable time in nature. With the leaves off the trees, prime viewing locations are easier to access and birds can be viewed better.

Olathe parks are open year round for day use unless snow and ice make for unsafe driving conditions within the park.

Park locations and popular winter species available for viewing:

Location                             Address                                     Species

Mahaffie Trail              KC Road to Northgate                    Cedar Waxwing, various hawk species

Stagecoach Park         1205 N. Kansas City Rd Redwing       Black Bird, various blackbird species

Indian Creek Trail        Pflumm to south of 151st                Belted Kingfisher, various hawk species

Frisco Lake                1100 E Dennis                               Trumpeter Swan, various waterfowl species

Lone Elm Park             21151 W. 167th                            Barred Owl, various hawk species

Cedar Lake                15500 S Lone Elm Rd                      White Pelican, various waterfowl species

Lake Olathe               625 Lakeshore Dr.                          Bald Eagle, various waterfowl species


Create On-line Account and Receive Email Recycling Day Reminders
Released 2/1/10

Residents interested in receiving an automatic email reminder the day before their recycling pick-up is scheduled can sign-up on OlatheKs.org as well. The service is free. Simply create an on-line account and check the “recycling reminder” box at the bottom of the form.


Immediate Information Available through Texting
Released 2/1/10

Olathe recreation patrons can now sign up to automatically receive a text message with important and timely information about programs and services. The “Olathe Connection” allows patrons to sign up to receive texts on PDAs or cell phones about weather cancellations, registration deadlines, class updates and/or special event updates.

Signing up is free and simple. Visit the Parks and Recreation section of the City’s webpage and follow the two-step process. Users can subscribe to receive texts on one or all categories listed.

The service is SPAM free, and personal contact information is protected and will remain private. The direct link to sign-up is http://my.textcaster.com/ServePopup.aspx?id=1631.


Stay informed by subscribing to automatically receive Olathe News releases via email. To subscribe, click here or visit Olathe’s website at http://www.olatheks.org/News/List.