e-Town Hall Responses 2012

The City's first e-Town Hall was held on July 19, 2011. Olathe residents posted questions about the 2012 Budget which were then answered by the Council live during the e-Town Hall. City staff has prepared responses to questions the City Council was not able to address during the event. To view Council's live responses, watch the e-Town Hall video.


“What are the proposed budget changes for infrastructure funding and how will they affect the community?”
(Citizen, via online forum)

Infrastructure maintenance including our streets and municipal buildings is a priority for the Council.  One of the Budget guiding principles is to maintain our infrastructure. The proposed 2012 Budget includes $318k for the building maintenance fund, and the 2012 CIP includes $7.6 million for street preservation.

“Are there plans for Olathe to apply for designation as a Bicycle Friendly Community? Seems like the City has put a lot of effort into building out a system of trails and bike lanes, and it would be encouraging to get some national recognition!
(Randy R., via online forum)

The City of Olathe has submitted no application for designation as a Bicycle Friendly Community due to the requirement for a standing citizen committee to support the initiative.  City staff does not anticipate a recommendation to pursue this designation due to that requirement. However, the City has been proactive in addressing bicycle travel as shown through bike lanes, wide sidewalks, wide outside lanes, and trails.

“My property in is next to Indian Creek trail and we are having problems with "city owned" trees hanging over the fence and on to our property. It is very difficult to clean up and I don't want to remove a city owned tree. Is there room in the budget to have a crew remove any unwanted and encroaching trees along our property lines? Thank you for your consideration. ”
(Mary, via online forum)

City staff will be happy to inspect the area next to the Indian Creek Trail where tree branches are hanging over the fence onto private property.  Please provide additional information online at Citizen Connect to facilitate an inspection of the area and communication with the private property owner.

“What are the future plans for converting the houses in the Woodland Meadows subdivision to sewers? The houses in this subdivision are all on acre lots and the septic tanks are 25 years old. The current requirement is for houses with a septic tank to be on at least a 2 acre lot to protect the ground water. The new subdivision on the other side of Woodland is on sewers."
(Karin, via online forum)

Related question: “My house is in the Woodland Meadows subdivision which is made up of one acre lots on septic tanks. What future plans are there to install sewers as the septics are now over 25 years old and do not conform to the current 2 acre requirement in an effort to protect the ground water? The subdivision on the other side of…[question cut-off].”
(Guest, via online forum)

The Woodland Meadows subdivision is in the Johnson County Wastewater District (JCW) Service Area, meaning that sanitary sewer service would be provided by them rather than the City of Olathe. 

Please feel free to contact Johnson County Wastewater.   Although the City of Olathe does not provide sanitary sewer service in the Woodland Meadows subdivision, staff at Johnson County Wastewater will be the resource for information regarding future plans for the area.

“Now that closed captioning funding through the Community Block Development Grant has been discontinued, how does the city plan to maintain transparency and accessibility to government programming?”
(accessiskey, via online forum)

Funding for Closed Captioning is proposed for continued funding by the Community Development Block Grant in 2012. 

“Olathe is really innovative. What are other innovations they're (the City) doing? Also, what other kinds of awards have they (City of Olathe) received?”
(Dylan, via online forum)

City of Olathe Council and staff integrate innovation into their long term vision and daily practices. The City was recently featured in Fast Company magazine's "Fast Cities" edition as one of the top 50 innovations in America! The magazine chose one innovation in each state, and the City of Olathe’s employee wellness program was chosen for Kansas.  In addition, City Manager Michael Wilkes is on the Alliance for Innovation’s Board of Directors, and is helping to organize the 2012 Transforming Local Government Conference scheduled to be in Kansas City in April 2012. The City Council encourages innovation among staff, and formed the “Innovation Team” who meets monthly to discuss innovation opportunities. Other innovations proposed for 2012 include a proposed pilot program for renting snow removal vehicles, and a new supervisor Leadership Training partnership with the KU Public Management Center. 

“In 2010 Olathe implemented the most significant utilities increase in city history. How can you explain to tax payers, the necessity to consider another monumental rate increase in just one year? Increase the Mil level for goodness sake. Quit trying to keep your jobs and get some money in the funds to hire more police and fire personnel and keep our city safe!” 
(Eddie G., via online forum)   

The City Manager is recommending  moderate increases to storm water, solid waste, and water and sewer rates in the proposed 2012 Budget. The proposed residential rates are as follows: 4.19% for Water, 7.16% for sewer, $.25/month for solid waste, and $.10/month for stormwater.

First, it’s important to understand that this is an enterprise fund that is not supported by tax dollars.  Rather, it relies on fees from water and sewer use, and those fees cover the cost of operation and construction.  The increase is driven by a number of factors including new construction for capacity, and state and federal mandates that increased that cost.  In addition, Johnson County Wastewater treats a portion of the city’s wastewater, and we are anticipating an 11% rate increase from them, significantly driving up the cost.  The Council is very sensitive to this issue and is putting a great deal of thought into their decision.

For more information about the rate proposal, view the proposed Enterprise Fund and Fee Budget. The City is maintaining current levels of police and fire staffing without raising the mill levy by adjusting business processes in other areas. Infrastructure and public safety continue to be high priorities for the City Council and Olathe citizens.

“The City of Olathe submitted this one-mile stretch of sub-standard arterial roadway to MARC for federal funding earlier this year, but without bike lanes.  Why?...As part of the 2012 budget, Olathe needs to continue its investment in bike lanes on 127th Street from Black Bob to Pflumm so bicyclists may safely bicycle on this corridor in Olathe and let Overland Park live with its decisions.  Bicyclists will be on this road.  Olathe needs to continue making its roadway safe for ALL legal roadway users, not just motorists..."
(Dale Crawford, via email)

Thank you for comments that have been passed on to the Council.  From a staff perspective, you are correct that Olathe has been proactive in addressing bicycle travel.  This can be seen through providing bike lanes, wide sidewalks, wide outside lanes and trails since 1982, a 2004 public survey of needs and a 2007 draft bike plan.  The draft plan was based on several public and stakeholder meetings that focused on increasing safety and providing options for bike use. The plan recommended a two-tier system for advanced and novice riders.  In late 2008, the City Council considered adopting the draft plan, but instead opted to us it as a guide instead of a requirement, directing staff to accommodate bicycles when feasible.  As a result, the City will continue to accommodate bicycle travel in Olathe in much the same way as has been evidenced in the past (see below).

Specific to your question about bike lanes on 127th Street from Black Bob to Pflumm, the City has chosen to provide accommodation through wider outside lanes for advanced users and an 8’ sidewalk for other cyclists.  While this may seem inconsistent with the recently completed section of 127th Street, it does reflect today’s fiscal realities and provides a transition to other neighboring communities.  Current fiscal constraints notwithstanding, Olathe remains committed to providing safe accommodations for all travelers.

1982 – Wide sidewalks on 151st (Black Bob Park to Ridgeview Road)
1986 – First city-wide trail plan
1988 – Mill Creek Streamway Trails
1993 – Trails & Greenways Plan Adopted
1996 – Dennis Ave Bike Lanes
2000 – Indian Creek Trail
2001 – Sheridan Roundabouts
2003 – Mahaffie Creek Trail
2004 – Bicycle Use Survey
2005 – Woodland Road Bike Lanes
2006 – 127th Street Overpass
2007 – Bicycle Transportation Plan (Draft)
2007 – Rolling Ridge Trail (Prairie Center Park to Dennis Ave.)
2007 – Eastbrooke Trail (Indian Creek Trail to 133rd)
2007 – Ridgeview Road Bike Lanes (existing pavement restriped from 143rd to 151st)
2007 – 143rd Street Bike Lanes (existing pavement restriped from Black Bob to Pflumm)
2008 – Westview Trail (Calamity Line Park to Dennis Ave.)
2008 – 127th Street Bike Lanes (Mur-Len to Black Bob)
2008 – 127th Street Bike Lanes (Hedge Lane to Lakeshore)
2009 – Lone Elm Road (151st to 159th)
2009 – South Indian Creek Trail (155th to 163rd)
2010 – Heritage Trail (Black Bob Park to Heritage Park)