January 18, 2020

Mallory Herrmann

The City of Lee’s Summit is in the process of reviewing their process for engaging in public service agreements.

There are currently PSAs in place with five organizations: Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street, Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council, Velocity Lee’s Summit and the Downtown Lee’s Summit Community Improvement District.

Steve Arbo, city manager, presented an overview of the agreements to the city council at their Jan. 14 meeting. He explained that PSAs are a useful tool for the city to engage community partners who can provide services more quickly and efficiently than staff could in-house.

“This is the epitome of what I consider our public/private partnerships in Lee’s Summit,” said Councilmember Rob Binney.

The agreements are scheduled to expire at the end of this fiscal year on June 30. At the same time, the city is going through a strategic planning process and the city council would like to take the opportunity to revisit how they’re used.

“It’s very difficult for us to stop thinking in increments and sometimes think in – I hate the word paradigm, but I’ll use it – in paradigm shifts,” Arbo said. “And this is our one time to do that.”

The current total cost to the city for all PSAs is $613,543 annually. The city’s 5% business and industry tax for hotel stays generates funding used to pay these costs, though it hasn’t always covered the full cost. The 2019 actual tax totaled about $579,000, though the projected revenues for 2020 are about $613,000.

Councilmember Bob Johnson suggested that there should be clearer objectives and metrics, noting that even terms like “economic develop” are defined in pretty broad language – making it difficult to pin down how successful efforts toward marketing and tourism have been.

Johnson also raised questions about whether any duplicate work is occurring across the partnerships with each of the organizations.

Mayor Bill Baird asked that staff continue discussions with the five organizations (individually and as a group) and to consider the best practices, scope and metrics the city might want to pursue in renewing agreements for the future.

All councilmembers were present; no formal action was taken.