News about what is happening in Blue Springs, MO

Blue Springs Councilmembers Appointed to NLC Committees

clock January 8, 2014 15:47 by author Jeff Quibell

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CITY OF BLUE SPRINGS , MISSOURI

PRESS RELEASE

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DATE:             January 8, 2014

CONTACT:      Kim Nakahodo, Communications Manager

                        Phone: 816.655.0497, Cell: 816.651.6449

                        Email: knakahodo@bluespringsgov.com

Blue Springs Councilmembers Appointed to NLC Committees

Blue Springs , Mo. – National League of Cities (NLC) President Chris Coleman, mayor, St. Paul , Minn. , has announced the appointments of two Blue Springs Councilmembers to 2014 steering committees. 

Councilman Chris Lievsay has been appointed to the Finance, Administration & Intergovernmental Relations Steering Committee. This committee has the lead responsibility for developing NLC federal policy positions on issues involving national economic policy, general financial assistance programs, liability insurance, intergovernmental relations, census, municipal bonds and capital finance, municipal management, antitrust issues, citizen participation and civil rights, labor relations, Native American sovereignty and municipal authority.

Councilman Jeff Quibell has been re-appointed as Vice Chair of the Information Technology & Communications Committee.  This committee is responsible for developing policy positions on issues involving telecommunications and information systems (and public access to these systems), privacy concerns, cable TV, phone services, spectrum issues, communications tower siting, universal service, broadcasting, and defense of city rights-of-way from degradation caused by installation of communications facilities.

“As a members serving on these important committees, Blue Springs’ councilmembers play a key role in shaping NLC’s policy positions, while advocating on behalf of America’s cities and towns on Capitol Hill, with the Administration, and at home,” said NLC President Chris Coleman. “Their experience and commitment bring great value to NLC, communities around the country, and the efforts of the committees on which they serve.”

For more information on NLC’s other committees and councils, visit http://www.nlc.org/influence-federal-policy/policy-committees.

The National League of Cities (NLC) is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.

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Kim Nakahodo

Communications Manager

City of Blue Springs , Mo.

903 W. Main Street

Blue Springs , MO 64015

Phone:   (816) 655-0497

             (816) 651-6449

Fax:       (816) 228-7592

Email:    knakahodo@bluespringsgov.com

www.bluespringsgov.com

Twitter:  bluespringsgov

www.facebook.com/bluespringsgov


Council District 1 Residents Invited To Attend a Town Hall Meeting

clock September 25, 2013 16:58 by author Jeff Quibell

Blue Springs , Mo. – District 1 Councilmen Dale Carter and Jeff Quibell will host a town hall meeting on Thursday, September 26 at Pointe of Hope Church, 1215 NW Highway 7, beginning at 6:30 p.m. to talk with community members about city government issues.  The councilmen will provide information about the Dedicated Parks Sales Tax Initiative, field questions from residents and facilitate dialog about district priorities. 

“This Town Hall meeting is a great way for residents to learn more about the Dedicated Blue Spring Parks Sales Tax Initiative and other city initiatives,” said Councilman Dale Carter .  “I invite all Blue Springs residents to attend and bring their questions, concerns and ideas not only about our district, but about our community as a whole.”

“Town Hall meetings are a great way for elected officials to get out there, talk with residents in a one-on-one format and hear their thoughts, concerns and priorities,” said Councilman Jeff Quibell .  “We hope to create a two-way conversation about important issues in our district and help to make Blue Springs the best community it can be.”

Refreshments will be available at this meeting.  For more information about the town hall meetings, email Councilman Dale Carter at dcarter@bluespringsgov.com or Councilman Jeff Quibell at jquibell@bluespringsgov.com.

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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


Correction of the facts regarding how Blue Springs has funded Ambulance Service over the years

clock July 17, 2013 12:54 by author Jeff Quibell

Following the distribution of my July 17, 2013 Newsletter, Councilman Fowler contacted me to let me know that I had misstated the information in his motion that I referred to in my newsletter. He is correct, I said he was talking about a sales tax, his motion was regarding the city’s property tax. The remainder of my comments remains accurate as to how I viewed his motion.


What are the facts regarding how Blue Springs has funded Ambulance Service over the years?

clock July 17, 2013 05:00 by author Jeff Quibell

636V0684 4x5 @ 72 Res

In 1974 the city passed a general sales tax.  The ballot language was as follows:

“Shall the sales tax ordinance be approved?

Ordinance No. 760 of the City of Blue Springs, Missouri, passed September 19, 1974, imposing a city sales tax at the rate of one percent (1%) on the receipts from the sale at retail of all tangible personal property or taxable services at retail if such property and services are subject to the sales tax imposed by the State of Missouri, for a period of five (5) years.”

In 1979 the ballot language for renewal was as follows:

“Shall the City’s 1% sales tax be retained?”

Both ballot measures were approved.  Over the years the city has added and removed many services that are/were paid for by the 1% general sales tax.  But as you can see, there is no dedicated tax for ambulance service in Blue Springs and there never has been.

Councilman Ron Fowler’s motion at a recent council meeting did not adequately define what amount he would remove from the general sales tax that currently only provides a partial subsidy for the ambulance service in Blue Springs.  His motion also did not make a persuasive case for adjusting the sales tax because the tax is not dedicated to the purpose we were discussing and changes in revenue distribution occur every year within our general budget.  As the needs of the city change the Council must have the flexibility to adjust funding to meet those needs.

For many years the City of Blue Springs has held the ambulance license for the entire area that is covered by Central Jackson County Fire Protection District (CJC), including areas outside the city limits.  We contract ambulance service to CJC and subsidize the service.  Until recently the city collected the fees billed to the users of the ambulance and our taxpayers subsidized any short fall out of our general fund.  There is no dedicated funding source for ambulance service.  In addition, when we subsidize this service we are doing it for areas of unincorporated Jackson County, Grain Valley, and Lake Tapawingo at no direct cost to them.  The City of Blue Springs is the only entity responsible for the subsidy.

Blue Springs has agreed to transfer the ambulance license to CJC and the issue on the ballot is how CJC is proposing to eliminate the Blue Springs subsidy.  When we transferred the license to CJC recently we also transferred the user payments to them as well.  The end result will be all of us in the CJC district will contribute directly to the service we receive including the County, Grain Valley, and Lake Tapawingo residents.  This allows money that currently subsidizes the ambulance service to be redirected to meeting needs in the Blue Springs community.

If the issue fails to pass, the license will transfer back to Blue Springs along with the fee revenue.  Things would then return to as they were before we transferred the license to CJC.   If this happens, the city will have to look at alternatives, but our options are not set in stone.  We believe the CJC provides the best service in the area and the best way to continue to receive that level of service is for it to be fully under their control.

Finally Blue Springs at 2% continues to have one of the lowest city sales tax rates in the metropolitan area. In recent years the City has also fixed our sales tax leakage problems by encouraging new retail developments in our city. Because of this, some of our sales tax revenue is paid by shoppers from outside our city. It is great to have these low tax rates and to be able to continue to provide quality services to our citizens!

I would encourage you to support CJC’s ballot issue in August and share this information with your friends. Thank you for the opportunity to be of service!

Jeff Quibell
District 1 Councilman
City of Blue Springs


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

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Local Leader’s Curious Choice–Why Single Out Our City For Legislation?

clock May 23, 2012 10:13 by author Jeff Quibell

75ES3358 4x5 @ 72 ResWhy would a state representative propose legislation that would only apply to Blue Springs?

I’m talking about trash hauling, an issue the City Council resolved nearly seven months ago. Representative Sheila Solon of Blue Springs tried to attach an amendment to House Bill 701 one day before the 2012 session ended, an amendment that by its narrow demographic definition, out of all of the cities in Missouri, would only apply to Blue Springs. If it’s fair, beneficial and appropriate legislation, shouldn’t it be applicable to more than just one city within the state?

Earlier this year Rep. Solon began discussing a bill to require a vote of the people prior to any change in trash collection mandated by city government. While on the surface this may sound like a protection for residents and for free enterprise, it presents a number of challenges. In Blue Springs, our voter-approved home rule charter assigns the responsibility for these decisions to the City Council, and it is then the duty and obligation of the council to research the issue and seek input from residents and interested parties. The council met those responsibilities in resolving this issue.

Additionally, requiring special elections on specific non-tax issues creates an additional unnecessary expense for our residents. Our council, through recommendations by the mayor’s task force, successfully concluded this issue months ago. While I respect the voice of the voter, our system of government is a republic. We elect people to represent us and make decisions on our behalf. Just as our state government desires autonomy from unfunded federal legislation and mandates, our local government must have the same autonomy from state government.

As I reviewed the proposed amendment, I kept coming back to the same question. Why? What possible explanation would there be for this amendment, focused just on Blue Springs, regarding an issue resolved nearly seven months ago?

Was the decision to file this amendment related to campaign contributions from trash-hauling companies? It’s not unusual for industries to contribute to candidates or representatives in the hopes of having their concern or issue receive a higher level of attention. While most campaign finance reports include contributions from individuals, political action committees and businesses, when you start to see a preponderance of one type of industry, questions emerge as to the motivation for the contributions. Campaign finance reports are available online at mec.mo.gov. See the campaign finance report at http://bit.ly/SolonCF20111015 for details on the contributions that have been made by trash hauling companies or their employees to Rep. Solon.

The amendment to HB 701 was defeated. While I applaud Rep. Solon’s desire to protect the residents of Blue Springs, I disagree with her methods. If more focus was placed on effective and appropriate statewide legislation and less on attempts to micromanage local government and keep campaign contributors happy, the result would be a higher level of success for an elected official who represents a significant portion of our city.