May 18, 2019

Mallory Herrmann

The voters of Lee’s Summit will be asked whether to authorize nearly $19.5 million in no tax increase general obligation bonds to support a variety of public safety projects.

The funds will be used for two new fire stations to replace existing Fire Station No. 4 (currently located on NE Woods Chapel Road, west of Interstate 470) and existing Fire Station No. 5 (currently located off Highway 150, east of SW Ward Road), new video systems for police cars and new police body cameras. They will also fund renovations and improvements of the Police and Courts Municipal Building and infrastructure improvements for the city’s wireless and fiber optic communications network.

Also up for consideration was a second bond issue to fund additional curb replacement projects. The city currently funds approximately $1.5 million in curb repair and replacement projects each year. The council discussed adding a second bond issue to request authorization of an additional $5 million. While the council agreed the need is there, the consensus was that a longer-term strategy would be more appropriate. No vote was taken for such a bond issue.

The fire stations were both built in the 1970s and need a variety of updates that would exceed their current building footprints. In order to make the necessary improvements and expansions, the fire department will be seeking new properties to build the new stations. Fire Station No. 4, including the land, construction and a new fire apparatus, is expected to cost approximately $7 million. Fire Station No. 5, including land acquisition and the building, is budgeted at $5 million.

The building housing the police station and municipal court was built twenty years ago, before many of the common security practices seen in such buildings today. The department is requesting $5.5 million to enhance security and operational efficiency within the building. The replacement of in-car video systems for police cars and body-worn cameras is expected to cost about $1 million.

And the city is working to replace aerial fiber with underground lines. The existing lines are showing their age and repairs are becoming increasingly more difficult. The funds requested as part of this bond issue would fund the first phase of the network infrastructure priorities project. New or replacement fiber would be laid to improve existing connections and to complete network connectivity among all city facilities, including Harris Park, the Longview Recreation Center and Fire Station 2.

The city council approved the language for the public safety projects bond issue with a unanimous vote at their May 14 session. Councilmember Bob Johnson was absent for the vote.

The bond issue will appear on the August ballot.