News about what is happening in Blue Springs, MO

Blue Springs City Council Work Session July 29 2013 on EMS Service Subsidy

clock July 30, 2013 11:51 by author Jeff Quibell

The following video was recorded on an iPad at the work session meeting.  This is because the City of Blue Springs does not currently record and broadcast work sessions.  Note that the audio is complete, but the video is not managed like is possible with the camera equipment permanently installed in the room.  I recorded this session at the request of numerous constituents that were unable to attend the meeting and wanted to hear the council’s rational for what ever decisions might be made at the meeting.

Hopefully in the future we will broadcast these meetings using the city’s equipment.  I will certainly be advocating that during the August 2013 budget session for the 2013-2014 year and continuing forward.  Giving our citizens the opportunity to understand the rationale for the decisions we make was one of the original reasons for televising our council meetings.  Work sessions should not be treated any differently.

Sincerely,

Jeff Quibell


2012-13 Draft Community Development Block Grant Annual Action Plan available for review

clock June 25, 2012 17:04 by author Jeff Quibell

The City of Blue Springs is publishing the Draft 2012-2013 Annual Action Plan for review. The Annual Action Plan describes the specific Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) activities that the city will undertake in each fiscal program year of the 5-Year Consolidated Plan.

The purpose of this Notice is to invite the public to review and comment on the Draft 2012-2013 Annual Action Plan.

The general public has a period of 30 days from Saturday, June 23, 2012 to offer comments on the proposed 2012-2013 Annual Action Plan. The City shall consider the views of citizens, public agencies and other interested parties in preparing its final submission and attach a summary of such comments as they relate to the plan. Following the 30 days, the City Council will approve the Annual Action Plan. The Annual Action Plan will then be submitted to HUD for their review and approval.

Beginning Saturday, June 23, 2012, any interested parties may examine a copy of the 2012-2013 Annual Action Plan at the Community Development Department or on the City of Blue Springs website at http://www.bluespringsgov.com/. Written comments may be submitted to the City of Blue Springs Community Development Department, Attn: Community Development Director, 903 West Main Street, Blue Springs, MO 64015

Additional Info...


City Considers Allocation of Block Grant Funds

clock May 30, 2012 16:21 by author Jeff Quibell

When the Federal Government provides funds to local government, there are always strings attached and requirements that must be met to receive those funds.  

When the population of Blue Springs reached 50,000 residents we met the eligibility requirements to receive Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds from the federal government.  The 2012-2013 budget that begins October 1st includes an estimated $211,866 from this program.   Following a presentation by city staff regarding previous use of CDBG funds at the most recent council meeting, the City Council began the discussion regarding the best use, as allowed by the program, of those funds.

From the time when Blue Springs began receiving CDBG funds we have received nearly one million dollars from the Federal Government and have allocated those funds in the following manner:

  • Parks - $65,000
  • Streetlights - $166,884
  • Sidewalks - $563,299
  • Programs
    • Minor Home Repair - $84,093
    • First Time Home Buyer - $46,837
  • Administration - $5,556

This year we are considering the following opportunities:

  • Historic District Sidewalks - $50,000
  • Main Street Lighting -$75,000
  • Main & 15th St Crosswalks - $50,000
  • Missouri Main Street (Downtown Alive!) - $5,000
  • Downtown Commercial Façade Grant Program - $50,000
  • Historic Building Restoration - $100,000
  • Minor Home Repair Program - $60,000
  • First Time Home Buyer Program - $39,000
  • CDBG Administration Funds - $6,000

As you can see, there are substantially more opportunities than anticipated funding would support, requiring the council to evaluate each opportunity and decide the best options for our community.  This is one of the responsibilities of the city council and, with input from our constituents, the council is able to direct funding to the programs and infrastructure enhancements that meet the goals of the residents of Blue Springs.

Councilman Fowler’s comments Monday evening raised the issue of the importance of balancing the funds between commercial and residential uses.  Balance is a word we frequently hear in politics today, especially at the federal level.  Balance is important, but to be meaningful it must be clearly defined both on the federal level and locally.   Finding the appropriate balance for all funds the city administers within its budget is a complex and lengthy process, as we carefully consider all aspects of balancing the needs and wants of government and residents.  

Utilization of CDBG funds can provide benefits to our residents and businesses both directly and indirectly.  As the council evaluates and decides on the best use of these funds, I am confident we will find an appropriate balance, and your input is an important component in the process.  Please share your thoughts with your city council representatives; contact information is available at http://bit.ly/BSCouncilContacts

You may subscribe to AboutBlueSprings.com blog and newsletter at http://bit.ly/SignupAboutBlueSprings.


New Businesses Opening and Personal Achievement are Good for Blue Springs

clock August 17, 2011 01:01 by author Jeff Quibell

75ES3358 4x5 @ 72 ResGood things continue to happen in Blue Springs, in spite of tough economic times. This past Sunday I had the privilege to attend the Eagle Court of Honor for Riley Kramer of Troop 1058 at First United Methodist Church. Riley’s Eagle Scout project involved placing identifying signposts in Rotary Park at the new Arbor Walk around Railroad Lake. Of all scouts nationwide, only about 5% achieve the highest rank, the rank of Eagle Scout. It is indeed an achievement, and indicative of their commitment, involvement and leadership. Eagle Scouts often grow up to be active in their communities and leaders in industry.

Overlapping with Riley’s Court of Honor was the groundbreaking ceremony for Pointe of Hope Church, which took over the building once used as 84 Lumber, located just North of I-70. The church expects to be open for services in November. I’m sure many of us are excited to see the improvements on this site.

Next to Point of Hope, the new Quik Trip is opening soon, which many in the northern portion of the city have been excited to see. This redevelopment of the former Sinclair station along with the development of Point of Hope church is a significant improvement of this section of 7 Highway.

The City Council will have a work session on the 2011-2012 budget at the Central Jackson County Fire Protection District training facility on 40 Highway on Thursday, August 18 at 6:30pm. The council will discuss options for the allocation of resources, meeting the priorities of our residents, and planning for future projects that will occur as a result of the passage of the Public Safety Tax. The meeting is open to the public, and I encourage you to attend.


Development group is working well

clock September 23, 2009 16:43 by author Jeff Quibell

Jeff2007small During my time in office I had the pleasure of corresponding with thousands of Blue Springs residents regarding city business. On Saturday’s Examiner opinion page, one of those residents raised some good points that should be considered when talking about the Blue Springs Economic Development Corporation.

It is true. I have a bias in favor of the Blue Springs EDC. It is also true that I am one of the investing partners in the Blue Springs EDC. When the public/private partnership of the Blue Springs EDC was formed, the City Council continued the $300,000 annual budget allocation that had previously funded the city’s Economic Development Department as the public side of the venture.

The city then solicited businesses and private individuals to partner in the formation of the EDC, to be advocates for growth in Blue Springs. Those investing partners may be found at http://bit.ly/bsedcmem

From 2005 through 2011, Wanda and I have paid and/or committed $15,000 of our own personal funds through our company, CPros. As local IT professionals and custom software developers, we believe in giving back, and this is just one of the ways we choose to support our community.

Each of you living in Blue Springs is committed by the City Council to an annual contribution of approximately $5.45 (or a total of $32.70 over six years) through the taxes that you pay to the city each year.

So what is the return on the investment that Mr. Comerford is referring to in his letter, which he believes will benefit me financially? That return is economic growth for our city. And the great thing about this return is that each Blue Springs resident receives exactly the same return on your investment as I do.

Let’s talk about what that means to each of us. Is that investment worth having a new Target store in town? Is it worth getting a shopping center with Gap Outlet, Staples, Petco, Famous Footwear, Gordman’s, Maurices, Olive Garden, Chipotle, Gamestop, Arby’s, Sally Beauty Target, Lowes and Books-A-Million? Is it worth seeing three tired old strip malls totally refurbished? Is it worth capturing a science and technology park that will bring thousands of 21st-century, high-paying, quality jobs to our city and position Blue Springs as an international research destination?

I believe my investment is justified, and I’m proud to support the EDC in its efforts to provide quality growth for Blue Springs. Each one of you can communicate your belief to your councilmen. There is much more work to do, but each of you should feel confident that our EDC is effectively and professionally promoting our city and bringing new retail and employment opportunities to Blue Springs!

The Blue Springs Economic Development Corporation is non-profit, and its investing partners receive no direct financial benefit.


Why Block Economic Development?

clock September 18, 2009 09:08 by author Jeff Quibell

DSC04405 As citizens, it is our responsibility and privilege to elect our representatives. We choose those that we believe will most accurately represent our beliefs and ideals, and those who will look out for our best interest. Once elected, we have a right to expect our leaders to speak to the issues that come before them in a straightforward manner, without attempting to twist or misconstrue facts. Our most recent Blue Springs city council meeting is an unfortunate example of how issues and details can be manipulated in an attempt to inaccurately spin the facts.

Let’s look first at the discussion coming from the District 3 Councilmen. The city’s check registers are a typical item on the consent agenda. Councilman Solon requested this item be removed from the consent agenda for further discussion. Her concern, and apparently Councilman Fowler’s as well, centered on reimbursements for business lunches and dinners, and the policy of how those reimbursements should be handled. Most successful organizations and businesses require some level of business conducted outside of the office, or in this case, city hall. Perhaps her concerns are indicative of the type of business Councilman Solon does, but for most of us in business, meeting with clients or prospective clients over lunch or dinner is a common practice. It is entirely appropriate that staff members should be reimbursed for doing their job at our request. Of course, proper documentation and procedures must be followed. We are fortunate to have a talented and dedicated financial department who oversees expenditures.

As I watched the remainder of last week’s meeting a common, reoccurring theme began to appear, again with the same two councilmen. Councilman Solon advocated reducing the funding to the Blue Springs Economic Development Corporation by 10% or $30,000, suggesting that the EDC budget should be cut because of the current hard economic times. However, I recall this same suggestion from her several years ago before these hard times. What is the true motivation here? Why are the District 3 representatives so opposed to economic development?

These recommendations appear to be attempts to slow economic development in Blue Springs. The frequent no votes coming from our District 3 councilmen often focus on economic development issues. While the developments occurring in various parts of our city are designed to increase revenue and help keep our taxes low over the long term, these votes seem designed to impede those efforts and keep our citizens spending their tax dollars in other municipalities. Is this truly the will of the residents in District 3?

I encourage people to speak their mind, and believe that a spirited, open discussion will bring a better end result for all. Contact your councilmen and speak your mind. You can watch the meeting at http://bit.ly/bscc20090908.


Blue Springs to Begin 2009 Street Rehabilitation Program

clock April 12, 2009 19:39 by author Jeff Quibell

CITY OF BLUE SPRINGS, MISSOURI
MEDIA ADVISORY

903 W Main Street Blue Springs, MO 64015 |  P: 816.228.0110 |  F: 816.228.7592 | 
W: www.bluespringsgov.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DATE: April 9, 2009

CONTACT: Merideth Parrish, Public Information Officer

Phone: 816.655.0497, Cell: 816.935.4176

Email: mparrish@bluespringsgov.com

Blue Springs to Begin 2009 Street Rehabilitation Program

Blue Springs, Mo. – The City of Blue Springs will soon begin its 2009 street rehabilitation program which involves milling, patching and overlay on approximately 15 miles of residential streets in Blue Springs.

The 2009 street program is administered by the City’s Engineering Department and will be executed jointly with contractor, Superior Bowen Asphalt Company of Kansas City, Missouri.

“Each year the City identifies capital improvement projects such as street maintenance and rehabilitation through its Capital Improvements Program (CIP)” says Public Works Director Oliver DeGrate, III. “This year’s CIP again identified street rehabilitation as a key priority of both the City Council and the residents of our community. The 2009 street program is a reflection of the City’s efforts to respond to these priorities with visible action and results.”

The project map for the 2009 street program indicates which streets are scheduled for maintenance this year, barring any unforeseen circumstances. This map can be viewed through the City’s website at www.bluespringsgov.com/09streets.

Residents living on streets scheduled for maintenance will receive a door hanger prior to any street work which will include instructions for the period in which work will be performed. The maintenance process involves 3 steps. The first step is milling, a process which grinds down about two inches of existing roadway to make room for the new asphalt. Second, if needed, asphalt patching will be completed. Finally, the new asphalt driving surface will be placed. The entire process should be completed within approximately one week on most streets.

Residents should expect some traffic delays and are asked to avoid active work areas if at all possible. All work scheduled for the 2009 street program should be completed by summer 2009. The City of Blue Springs extends its thanks in advance for the community’s cooperation during this project. For questions or additional information, contact the Blue Springs Engineering Department at (816) 228-0121.

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Why spend tax dollars needlessly?

clock December 4, 2008 03:00 by author Jeff Quibell

Maybe it’s just me, but I’m a little confused. At the City Council meeting Monday evening, the council again discussed changing the status of the city attorney from a contract position to that of a full-time employee.

Councilman Sheila Solon said her primary goal was to save taxpayer dollars. While I agree with her goal, I’m confused by her logic and reasoning.

Just last year, the council explored the costs and benefits of making this change. That review included an examination of our current costs and a comparison with neighboring cities. It was determined that this change would increase the cost to the taxpayers by anywhere from $16,000 to $49,000 annually. This study is available for your review at www.AboutBlueSprings.com/page/AttyStudy.aspx. More...