News about what is happening in Blue Springs, MO

Public Safety Advisory Board Seeks Resident Input at Public Forum – November 12

clock October 30, 2013 09:58 by author Jeff Quibell

Blue Springs, Mo. – On November 12 at 6 p.m., the Blue Springs Police Department and the Blue Springs Public Safety Citizens’ Advisory Board will host their annual public forum to discuss a series of issues related to public safety in Blue Springs. The forum will take place at the Central Jackson County Fire Protection District’s Training Center, 4715 W. Highway 40 and is open to the public.

Advisory Board Chairman Tom Echerd will preside at the forum and encourages any interested persons to attend. “Treanor Architects, MWL Architects and Burns & McDonnell will give a presentation on the status of the Public Safety Building expansion and remodeling project approved as part of the Public Safety Sales Tax,” said Echerd. “These meetings represent the Board’s ongoing efforts to keep residents informed and engaged in the activities of our Blue Springs Police Department.”

At a recent meeting, the Board established the following topics that are of great interest to the community and will be on the agenda for the November 12 public forum:

• The Blue Springs Police Department's Traffic Control Unit has made a concerted effort to reduce speeding violations in areas where accidents frequently occur, school zones and other areas in response to citizen's requests. What concerns do you have regarding the enforcement of traffic ordinances in our community? What suggestions do you have?
• What changes in coverage or services provided by our Animal Control unit would you like to see?
• What other services related to public safety would you like the Blue Springs Police Department provide or help coordinate?

“I encourage all residents to come and provide any input they may have. It is through the community’s partnership with the Blue Springs Police Department that we will be able to create and maintain the safest community possible,” Blue Springs Police Chief Wayne McCoy said. “We value everyone’s input; by working together we can celebrate our successes while gaining an understanding of those areas where residents feel we can do better.”

Blue Springs Public Safety Citizens’ Advisory Board
The Blue Springs Public Safety Citizens’ Advisory Board was created by City Ordinance in August 2009. The six-member board is comprised of two residents from each City Council District, along with non-voting ex officio members that include representatives from the Blue Springs Police Department, City Council and a student from the Blue Springs School District.

Public Safety Sales Tax
In April 2011, voters passed the 1/2 cent dedicated Public Safety Sales Tax to address needs found in the Public Safety Citizen's Advisory Board analysis. The Public Safety Advisory Board, made up of Blue Springs citizens, is charged with oversight of the tax. The Advisory Board makes regularly scheduled reports to the City Council on spending of funds collected by the tax and report on performance goals. These reports can be found on the City’s Web site by visiting www.bluespringsgov.com.

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Kansas City Star recommends a yes vote for Blue Springs Parks

clock October 24, 2013 10:49 by author Jeff Quibell

http://www.kansascity.com/2013/10/23/4572427/vote-for-better-parks-in-blue.html

The Star’s recommendation

Vote for better parks in Blue Springs

Updated: 2013-10-24T00:54:35Z

October 23

Blue Springs is one of the few large Missouri cities without a dedicated tax for parks improvements and one of the few in the Kansas City area without a community center.

City officials have put together a strong plan that would dramatically change that equation.

On Nov. 5, voters are being asked to approve a permanent, half-cent sales tax increase that would raise $3 million a year to finance parks-related projects, including a new recreation center.

The Star recommends a “yes” vote on the question.

Mayor Carson Ross recently praised the city’s park commission for spending a great deal of time evaluating the city’s needs. Members spoke to longtime residents as well as high school students to determine what activities and amenities would appeal to them.

Clear, sensible priorities emerged for this forward-looking community.

• Better maintain the city’s current parks, trails, tennis courts, playgrounds and shelters.

• Construct a community center that appeals to all ages with activities such as an indoor aquatic center, basketball and volleyball courts, an indoor track, meeting space and teen center.

Add park programs for seniors and others, and complete trails and improvements such as youth soccer fields in three existing parks.

Under a different city administration, Blue Springs officials tried but failed to pass a parks-related tax in 2001. The city has added about 4,000 people since then, and the need has grown to maintain aging parks and trails. Meanwhile, several area cities have built their own community centers.

Blue Springs voters should take advantage of this opportunity to invest in public assets that make the city attractive to residents and businesses.


Formula for calculating the effect of a property tax increase on personal property taxes such as on your car

clock July 18, 2013 14:58 by author Jeff Quibell

In order to calculate the impact of the property tax proposed by CJCFPD on personal property:

Calculation: Value of the vehicle X assessment rate for personal property tax X property tax rate /100 = Increase in property tax

Sample: $10,000 X .33 X .15/100 = $4.95

The CJCFPD tax will be implemented over a three year period, so in the above example, the new taxes would be:

2013 - $1.65
2014 - $3.30
2015 - $4.95


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


Blue Springs Kiwanis Supports CJCFPD Levy to be voted on April 6th

clock July 16, 2013 15:55 by author Jeff Quibell

By a unanimous vote today the Kiwanis Club of Blue Springs voted to endorse the EJC Fire Protection District Levy to be voted on Aug 6th.

If you’d like more info click the link below.

http://www.cjcfpd.org/cjc/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=89:2013-levy-presentation&catid=1&Itemid=100100


Exciting Development in City

clock February 22, 2012 19:29 by author Jeff Quibell

75ES3358 4x5 @ 72 ResMayor Carson Ross likes to say Blue Springs is a city “on the move,” and it’s obvious throughout our city that his statement is accurate.

With the exceptionally mild winter we’re experiencing, commercial development at Adams Dairy Landing is progressing at a brisk pace. Ulta Beauty is now open and the buildings for TJ-Maxx/Home Goods, Ross Dress for Less and additional lifestyle shops are close to completion.

The city recently began requesting bids on the long anticipated improvements for Woods Chapel Road, continuing to fulfill the promise of redeveloping this important north-south corridor. At the most recent City Council work session, the council agreed to request assistance from the Blue Springs Economic Development Corporation regarding recommendations for a strategic plan to redevelop our Missouri 7 and U.S. 40 corridors. We also agreed to complete the formal review of our city’s comprehensive plan, a review that is significantly overdue and will ensure the city is better prepared for future development efforts.

Not all politics were local last week. I had the great pleasure of going to Jefferson City to talk with our state legislators regarding a variety of issues of interest to our city.

I met with many representatives and senators and experienced a great deal of pride as I frequently heard how well our city is represented by District 54 Rep. Jeanie Lauer. Over and over again her colleagues spoke of what an effective, strong leader she is for Blue Springs. Having worked closely with Jeanie in recent years, this confirmed what I already knew about her dedication to the residents of our city and her genuine concern for the best interest of our community. It’s gratifying to know that others recognize her integrity and sincerity. We are fortunate to have her in Jefferson City!

We began interviewing candidate development teams last week, one of which will partner with the city and University of Missouri for the design and development of the 50,000- to 80,000-square foot Mizzou Center building. The Mizzou Center will focus on research, continuing education and community outreach functions in Missouri Innovation Park and will serve as the anchor tenant for this important project.

The land for the first phase of development in the park is now under control of the city, and we are on track for visible development before the end of the year. The location is just south of Adams Dairy Landing, at the corner of R.D. Mize Road and Adams Dairy Parkway.

Jackson County’s regional rail proposal now includes two potential stops in Blue Springs – one downtown and one at the southern edge of the Innovation Park. These two stops will assist Main Street Alive in downtown redevelopment efforts and help to accelerate the development of Missouri Innovation Park. This proposal is likely to be a November ballot issue in Jackson County.

Blue Springs is “on the move?” Yes, mayor, we certainly are!


Fair Share? That’s a Long Debate–Misleading Comparisons Don’t Help

clock February 1, 2012 11:30 by author Jeff Quibell

75ES3358 4x5 @ 72 ResMost people agree that everyone should pay their ‘fair’ share of taxes. The disagreement starts when we attempt to define “fair”. Webster’s dictionary defines ‘fair’ as a situation in which everyone is treated equally and in a reasonable way, and states further that ‘fair’ is reasonable and morally right. President Obama raised the issue of fairness in his 2012 State of the Union address, with the implied message that our tax rate tables are unfair because Warren Buffet is paying a lower income to tax ratio than his secretary.

Our current tax code doesn’t treat each taxpayer equally. That would be a flat tax where each taxpayer pays the same percentage of their income in taxes, including the income received from investments and capital gains. Our tax code is knee-deep with exemptions, credits, and deductions that reduce the amount of taxes we pay from the full amount owed based on our gross income, and capital gains are taxed differently than wages. It’s not equal; it wasn’t designed to be equal. However, unequal doesn’t necessarily mean unfair. A taxpayer with a large mortgage paying higher amounts of interest will pay less in taxes than another taxpayer with the same income and no mortgage. Many self-employed taxpayers take full advantage of the deductions available to them, reduce their taxable income and pay far less in taxes than the employees. When President Obama compared Warren Buffet’s tax rate to his secretary, far too much detail was omitted to fully understand the comparison. Does she have a spouse with taxable income as well? At close to 36% tax rate, she is likely to have income greater than 97% of the population. Not bad for a middle class secretary. They call it spin for a reason and it’s disappointing to me that our President would attempt to mislead our nation on such a transparent issue.

I think we can all agree that millionaires and billionaires should pay their fair share of taxes. The top 1% of taxpayers pays more taxes than the entire bottom 95% combined. Should they pay more? What is a ‘fair’ share? Fundamental tax reform may be necessary, but it will take fundamental change in how our government, Federal and State, operates and functions. In the meantime, I’ll finish my tax return and send in my fair share.


City Looking At A Year Of Progress

clock January 4, 2012 10:06 by author Jeff Quibell

2011-12-08 10-40-58.261The changing of the calendar to a new year is typically seen as a time for fresh starts and new beginnings.

For Blue Springs, 2012 will be the year in which we see visible progress on the Missouri Innovation Park on Adams Dairy Parkway. As the University of Missouri prepares to break ground at its permanent location in Blue Springs, its involvement and commitment will raise the visibility and viability of MIP to the world’s animal-health-related companies, along with other entities and organizations.

It will take time, but we anticipate the demand for locations within the MIP will result in new, high-quality jobs for Blue Springs residents and those in the surrounding areas.

This year will also see the installation of the new digital radio system for our Police Department. This system, paid for by the public safety tax that Blue Springs voters approved last year, will substantially improve our Police Department’s communication ability and will help make our city safer. The improvements to the public safety building will enhance downtown and provide an improved workplace for our police officers.

Hopefully, 2012 will see progress on the regional transit proposal, which could bring even more activity to our downtown in the coming years.

The redevelopment of Woods Chapel Road continues, and residents will see utilities relocated this spring in preparation for the widening and resurfacing from Duncan Road on the north all the way south to Walnut Street. Right-of-way acquisition is under way, and we should see work on the road begin this year, with scheduled completion scheduled for 2013. The new diverging diamond interchange at Interstate 70 will improve the flow of traffic, especially during rush hour, and the signalized intersection at Duncan Road will make that area safer and less congested.

I would also like to take this opportunity to express my sincerest appreciation for the many cards, notes, copies of the newspaper and kind words regarding the story of the Christmas ornaments from my birth mother. To Martin Augustine of KMBC Channel 9 News and Lee Hill Kavanaugh of The Kansas City Star, thank you for telling the story in such a wonderful and compassionate manner. The response has been overwhelming and very much appreciated. For those who missed the stories, they can be viewed at http://bit.ly/QuibellOrnaments and http://bit.ly/AnnChristmas.
Happy new year, everyone! I look forward to another year of sharing with you all of the great things happening in Blue Springs!