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MONDAY, JULY 9, 2007


I.                    CALL TO ORDER


A regular meeting of the City Council of the City of Liberty, Missouri was held in the Council Chambers at City Hall on July 9, 2007 with Mayor Robert T. Steinkamp presiding.  Mayor Steinkamp called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.




            The invocation was given by Council Member Fred Foster who then led the pledge of allegiance.




Roll call was answered by Paul Jenness and Harold Phillips, Ward I; Anna Marie Martin and Greg Duncan, Ward II; Lyndell Brenton and John Parry, Ward III; and Fred Foster and Nick King, Ward IV.  Also in attendance were Curt Wenson, City Administrator; Cynthia Boecker, Assistant City Administrator; Gary Birch, Fire Chief; Mike Snider, Deputy Fire Chief; Craig Knouse, Police Chief; Nathan Mulch, Police Officer; Linda Tyree, Finance Director; Diana Adams, Special Projects Manager; Steve Hansen, Public Works Director; Brian Hess, City Engineer; Chris Deal, Parks & Recreation Director; Steve Rulo, Parks & Open Space Manager; Shawnna Funderburk, Assistant to the City Administrator; Sara Cooke, Public Relations Coordinator; Chris Williams, Special Legal Counsel; Jane Sharon, Deputy City Clerk; Jason Noble, The Kansas City Star; Angie Borgedalen, Liberty Tribune and 48 members of the public.








Urban Forester Helene Miller with the Missouri Department of Conservation stated the City had removed about seventeen dangerous trees through its participation in the Conservation Department’s T.R.I.M. grant program.  This allows a healthier environment and reduces risk.  She presented a check for more than $7,000 to the Mayor on behalf of the State, representing the State’s grant to the City.


Louie A. Wright, president of Local 42 of the Firefighters Union, Kansas City, Missouri, stated he was present to voice formal concern on behalf of Liberty firefighters over the lack of progress on an agreement with the City.  After 3 years, he requested the City enter into good faith negotiations for collective bargaining.  He added that he was uncertain whether the position taken by City Administration was the position of the City Council.  Mr. Wright also referred to the State’s new minimum wage law with which he believes the City has compliance issues.  He added that a recent court decision grants the right to labor unions to negotiate agreements.  He stated Local 42 is interested in meeting with City Council to address these matters.








Mayor Steinkamp noted that Council Member King had requested some changes to the minutes from June 25, 2007 after the packets were distributed.  He also noted that there were two council members not in attendance at that meeting.  By general consensus it was agreed to defer review of the minutes from June 25, 2007 to the July 23, 2007 meeting, so that any revisions would be available to the Council.  Mayor Steinkamp asked any other council members having changes for the minutes to provide them to staff in advance of that packet being distributed.








Council Member King requested that check number 102567 be removed and voted on separately.  Council Member Brenton requested that check number 102569 be removed and voted on separately.


Document No. 6697 was read.  Council Member Brenton moved to approve the ordinance.  Council Member Martin seconded the motion.


Vote on the motion was as follows:  Council Member Phillips – yes; Council Member Martin – yes; Council Member Brenton – yes; Council Member Foster – yes; Council Member Jenness – yes; Council Member Duncan – yes; Council Member Parry – yes; Council Member King - yes.  The motion carried unanimously; it was approved by the Chair and inscribed in Ordinance No. 9156.


Council Member Martin moved to approve check number 102567.  Council Member Brenton seconded the motion.


Vote on the motion was as follows:  Council Member Phillips – yes; Council Member Martin – yes; Council Member Brenton – yes; Council Member Foster – yes; Council Member Jenness – yes; Council Member Duncan – yes; Council Member Parry – yes; Council Member King – abstained, due to a possible conflict of interest.  The motion carried unanimously; it was approved by the Chair and inscribed in Ordinance No. 9156.


Council Member Martin moved to approve check number 102569.  Council Member King seconded the motion.


Vote on the motion was as follows:  Council Member Phillips – yes; Council Member Martin – yes; Council Member Brenton – abstained, due to a possible conflict of interest; Council Member Foster – yes; Council Member Jenness – yes; Council Member Duncan – yes; Council Member Parry – yes; Council Member King - yes.  The motion carried unanimously; it was approved by the Chair and inscribed in Ordinance No. 9156.




Public Works Director Steve Hansen introduced representatives for the developer, including:  Ron Fullam, Cardon Smith and Mike Mallen with CBL & Associates Properties; Jay and John Ferguson with Ferguson Properties and Tim Kristl, the developer’s legal counsel.  He noted the City’s team included: Planning & Development Director Steve Anderson; Special Projects Manager Diana Adams; Assistant to the City Administrator Shawnna Funderburk; Special Legal Counsel Chris Williams; Financial Advisor Todd Goffoy with Piper Jaffray; and Tom Kaleko with Springsted.


Mr. Hansen stated there are two issues related to the Whitehall Station development before Council.  The first is an ordinance adopting the first amended and restated TIF Plan dated June 12, 2007 and designation of CBL & Associates Properties, LP, as the redeveloper of Project 1.  The second ordinance is on first reading only and approves Redevelopment Project 1.


Mr. Hansen noted that in September 2006, a TIF Redevelopment Plan was approved by the TIF Commission and the City Council.  The intent in approving this plan, based on a preliminary development proposal submitted by Ferguson Properties, was to market the property to a major national retail developer.  CBL & Associates Properties has since teamed with Ferguson Properties to develop Whitehall Station as an upscale lifestyle shopping center.


The developer team and the City, with its consultants, have revised the original plan to reflect the developer’s vision of a viable shopping center.  There are differences between the currently proposed and original TIF plans and no attempt will be made to compare them.


The City’s TIF policy in the newly adopted Economic Development Policy is being compared to the proposed Whitehall Station development.  A revised preliminary development plan has been approved by both the Planning & Zoning Commission and the City Council.


Mr. Hansen reviewed the proposed development comprised of a 705,000 square feet shopping center and related infrastructure improvements located generally south of the South Liberty Parkway, east of 69 Highway and bounded on the south by the extension of Flintlock Road.  The estimated project cost is $234 million, with $164 million in developer equity (including approximately $10 million in Community Improvement District funding).  An estimated $70 million is estimated to be reimbursable to the development and the City through the TIF.  The City’s reimbursable expenses include approximately $1 million for costs to extend water and sewer to the site as well as legal services.


CBL & Associates submitted cost estimates and City staff worked with the developer to refine them so that they compared favorably to recent projects completed elsewhere in the area, such as Lee’s Summit and Blue Springs and those TIF projects previously established in Liberty.  Mr. Hansen noted that expenses are reimbursed to the developer only after a detailed review by staff and an independent auditor.


Analysis has shown that if the project were not to be constructed, annual tax revenue for all taxing jurisdictions would be approximately $477,000.  If constructed, the project will provide approximately $78 million in tax revenue over the life of the TIF.  Once the debt is retired, the project will result in approximately $9.8 million paid to taxing jurisdictions on an annual basis from property and sales taxes.  It is anticipated that this would include $4.4 million in sales and property taxes to the City and $2.5 million in taxes to the School District.


Mr. Hansen then compared the amended and restated TIF Plan with the City’s TIF Policy where the following findings were noted:

--the project would result in a significant strengthening of the area’s economic and employment base by extending water and sanitary sewer to the site; improving the area roadway system, mitigating the blight created by the auto salvage yard and constructing the center.

--a related public benefit of the project would be the extension of Flintlock Road between the South Liberty Parkway and US 69 Highway as well as the improvement of Plummer Road south of the Parkway.

--eligible expenses for TIF reimbursement are in compliance with the TIF Policy and include land cost at $3.50 per square foot to be reimbursed at $1.75 per square foot; building upgrades for a higher level of finish, such as four-sided architecture; grading and site work; paving; landscaping and site amenities, which are critical to this type of lifestyle center and include adding places to gather; public infrastructure; professional services; financing fees and contingencies.  Contingencies are not typically identified as a separate item, but this was done at the request of the applicant and again, would only be reimbursed after careful review by staff and the independent auditor.

--the City’s TIF Policy outlines debt service coverage of at least 1.25 times the projected bond debt service on TIF bonds.  Based on the nature and scale of the proposed project and the current bond market, the City’s financial advisors have acknowledged that coverage of 1.2 times the bond debt service is acceptable.

--the requested TIF assistance is 30% or $70,497,610 of the estimated total project cost of $234,663,460, which is below the recommended threshold in the TIF Policy of 35%.

--the Community Improvement District (CID) anticipated to be created by the developer utilizes a self-imposed sales tax to reduce reliance on TIF.  Revenues would be used as a supplement to pay off debt service.  Revenue projections for the project are based on the conservative assumption that neither the Liberty 2010 sales tax nor the Transportation ¼ cent sales tax, would be renewed when they sunset.  Extensions of these sales taxes would likely result in a quicker payoff than the 23 year period included in the current TIF Plan.

--the Springsted firm was retained by the City to provide an independent evaluation of the applicant’s funding sources and track record of their financial and technical ability to complete the project.  Springsted concluded that the project would not be viable without TIF assistance and verified the rate of return, based on the information provided, was in an acceptable range given the nature of the project and the risk undertaken by the developer.  CBL has provided suitable verification of its financial capacity to complete the project.

--TIF policy calls for areas to be more than 10 acres and this project comprises 72 acres.


Mr. Hansen stated that staff and the TIF Commission’s review of the restated and amended TIF Plan reaffirmed the previous statutory findings – that blight does exist that constitutes an economic and social liability within the redevelopment area; the area is not subject to redevelopment without TIF assistance; the proposed project and TIF Plan conforms to the City’s comprehensive land use plan; the area includes only those parcels of property and improvements which would be benefited by the redevelopment project improvements; dates of completion for the project are not to be more than 23 years from adoption of any ordinance approving a specific redevelopment project; a Relocation Plan is included which conforms to State Statutes; a cost/benefit analysis showing the projected impact on taxing jurisdictions was prepared; and the redevelopment project does not include development or redevelopment of any gambling establishment.


Mr. Hansen stated that the TIF Commission conducted a public hearing on the amended and restated Whitehall Station TIF Plan on June 22, 2007 and unanimously approved a resolution recommending approval of the amended and restated TIF Plan, approval of Project 1 for TIF, and designation of CBL & Associates as the redeveloper for Project 1.


He stated that staff recommends approval of the amended and restated TIF Plan for Whitehall Station, approval of redevelopment of Project 1 and use of TIF for that redevelopment as the Plan meets statutory requirements and the City’s TIF Policy.


Council Member Brenton asked for clarification of land assembly costs being reimbursed.  Mr. Hansen stated that the $11.9 million encompasses the 72 acres involved with acquisition set at $3.50 per square foot, similar to what was established in the Liberty Triangle TIF.  In this TIF Plan, anything above $1.75 per square foot is eligible for TIF reimbursement.  Mr. Brenton asked about the landscaping reimbursement.  Mr. Hansen stated there is more landscaping with this project than is typical because this is proposed to be upscale in design and appearance.  It is a larger area of the development and the design is to higher standards as compared to a standard shopping center.  Also included is upscale lighting on the parking area and the cost of the public gathering areas.  Mr. Brenton asked if the landscaping is controlled by the developer.  Mr. Hansen stated it would not be City-maintained.  Mr. Brenton asked if landscaping extras were at the discretion of the developer.  Mr. Hansen said they were.


Council Member King asked if the City would be reimbursed for expenses associated with City water and sewer improvements as well as legal services associated with the TIF.  Mr. Hansen stated those have always been anticipated to be reimbursed through the Whitehall Station TIF.


Council Member Foster asked about traffic signals associated with the development.  Mr. Hansen stated the traffic signals would be the City’s responsibility and their associated expenses are also eligible for TIF reimbursement.


Council Member Brenton asked if the Council was being asked to vote on activation of the TIF at this meeting and what relation there was in that action compared to the redeveloper agreement.  Mr. Hansen clarified that the ordinance activating TIF for Project 1 was required to be brought forward with the TIF Plan amendment.  However, Council would not act on the ordinance to activate the TIF until later when the project was further along, much the same as the process used when Lowe’s was first named as the redeveloper for the Project A in the Liberty Triangle.  Special Legal Counsel to the City Chris Williams stated that the first ordinance on the agenda approves the amendment to the TIF Plan and designates the redeveloper for Project 1.  The earlier TIF Plan proposed five phases and only one phase is proposed in this amendment.  The first ordinance designates CBL & Associates Properties as the redeveloper of Project 1, conditioned on the execution of a development agreement between the redeveloper and the City.  The first ordinance also approves TIF for Project 1, but the details will be in the development plan and will take 45 to 90 days to go through with the developer.  City staff and legal counsel will walk the Council through that process.  Mr. Williams noted that CBL & Associates Properties would likely form a separate entity specific to this development and that is why the ordinance refers to the redeveloper in the manner it does.  Mr. Williams continued, stating the second ordinance must be introduced within a few weeks of the close of the public hearing, but should be held for second reading when the TIF is ready to be captured and bonds issued, as was done with the Triangle TIF recently, with Project D-1.


Council Member Brenton stated there are total project costs and reimbursement identified in the TIF Plan and asked for clarification that activating the TIF doesn’t preclude changes to the development agreement.  Mr. Williams stated that was correct, though if there were significant changes to the budget, an amendment to the TIF Plan would be required.  City Administrator Curt Wenson stated that specific projects could be spelled out in the development agreement.


Council Member King stated he appreciated all the work and effort on this project and believes it is very achievable and the projections are conservative.  He stated this is on the path to a successful project.


Mayor Steinkamp asked the applicant if he wished to make any comments.  Ron Fullam, Senior Vice President for CBL & Associates Properties (CBL), Chattanooga, Tennessee, stated his company has been in business for over 30 years, has a developer trust on the stock exchange and experience in the retail side of the business.  He stated this project is putting together a partnership between the City and CBL and it is essential not to waste the City’s money.  This development will be a star in this part of the Kansas City metropolitan area but could not be done without TIF.  He added that essential to the project’s success was the extension of the Flintlock Road overpass to get others into Liberty and that the extension of the South Liberty Parkway to M-291 Highway was extremely important.  He stated that CBL hoped to help the City accomplish those goals and, due to the competitive pressures, he requested that the City move forward with the TIF Plan on first reading of the ordinance.  Mr. Fullam stated he would be back in the market on July 20 and would love to be able to report the TIF Plan had been amended.  He asked that the Council send the second ordinance to second reading so that it could be brought forward for Council action at the appropriate time.


Council Member Brenton stated redevelopment cost contingencies of $9 million was a little less than four percent of the project and seemed skimpy.  Mr. Fullam stated CBL had the opportunity of working with knowledgeable and capable staff. The property had been assessed in terms of the environment and infrastructure and the only problem area might be the junk yard.  But the staff had done its due diligence on developing a contingency projection and the figure is based on a best guess.  CBL is comfortable with the figure.  Mr. Hansen stated that the revenue projections are sufficient to pay the debt service and the City assumes no risk on the bonds and everything hinges on debt service support.


Council Member Duncan asked if any vacancy is built into the projections.  Mr. Fullam stated a five percent vacancy is built in.


Tim Kristl, legal counsel for CBL, stated that Liberty understands TIF and CBL has been required to justify every number and projection provided.  He thanked the City for the opportunity to partner on this project.


Thomas Beckley, 1071 Maplewoods Ct., stated he is looking forward to the project’s completion, but has serious concerns about the 1.2 debt service coverage proposed.  He stated that staff is asking to waive certain portions and the bond market is not that bad.  Mr. Beckley stated he reviewed the City’s Economic Development Plan and land reimbursement is not included in the list.  He added it should have been included in the policy.  He stated that the City would be paying more than $175,000 per acre with the developer putting up $175,000 per acre.  Mr. Beckley stated that staff had reported the amended TIF Plan substantially complies with the Economic Development Plan but he disagrees.  He stated that the contingency portion should be 30 percent, because the Plan calls for 50 percent of the contingency but is 30 percent of the project.


Mayor Steinkamp stated this project is beneficial for Liberty and is the type envisioned for land along the South Liberty Parkway.  He added this is a qualified developer and he has heard firsthand about the competition to the west of the City.  Mayor Steinkamp stated for these reasons, he would hate to see any delay.




Document No. 6698 was read.  Council Member King moved to waive the rules and consider the ordinance on first reading.  Council Member Martin seconded the motion.  Council Member Brenton raised a point of information, asking for clarification of some questions before voting to waive the rules.  He stated he needed to know if certain matters would be addressed in development agreement or could be addressed after the TIF Plan is amended.  He referred to the building shells and the reference in the Springsted report to sale or lease of tenant anchor, questioning the $20 per square foot on the out lots and asking if the development agreement could include a 50/50 share in anything over a certain dollar per square foot sale or lease.  He also asked for clarification of the contingency reimbursement if the project comes in over the $234 million projected.  Mr. Williams stated that the Council can require that something sustainable be included but if Council wants to adjust the budget for reimbursement in this category, by agreement of the parties this could be addressed in the development agreement.  Mr. Williams added that the City is investing 30 percent and if the rate of return is lower than projected and the contingency inadequate, the developer bears the additional expense.  The maximum total project cost in this TIF Plan is $234 million.  If the rate of return is more favorable, the City shares 30 percent of that additional return.  Mr. Wenson added this can all be negotiated in the development agreement.


The motion to waive the rules and consider on first reading carried unanimously.


Council Member King moved to approve the ordinance.  Council Member Martin seconded the motion.  Council Member Martin stated the staff report and projected tax revenues says it all - $477, 000 if the project is not built and $ 78.7 million over the life of the TIF if it is built.  Mrs. Martin added that she appreciated Ferguson Properties and the Ferguson family making the effort to attend ICSC and find CBL.  She stated this would be good for the future of Liberty.


Council Member King stated it had been said that this TIF is spending 30 percent of the taxpayers dollars but without this project being built, those dollars would not be seen.  Mayor Steinkamp agreed that this project would not be developed without TIF and it is exciting.  He recommended the Council unanimously approve the ordinance.


The motion carried unanimously.  It was approved by the Chair and is inscribed in Ordinance No. 9157.




Document No. 6699 was read.  Mayor Steinkamp stated this ordinance would be brought back for second reading at the appropriate time.  Council Member Phillips moved to continue consideration of the ordinance to date not certain, but when all necessary information is available to proceed.  Council Member King seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.




Document No. 6696 was read.  Council Member Phillips moved to approve the ordinance.  Council Member Martin seconded the motion.  Council Member King thanked staff for providing additional information to Council related to the ordinance.


Council Member Phillips asked if this agreement would permit Unite to place visible boxes in the right-of-way.  Mr. Hansen said it does and that they would likely be similar to those already placed in the rights-of-way for use with telephone systems.  Mr. Phillips asked if the City can require them to be better buffered.  Mr. Hansen stated the City does have landscaping requirements in rights-of-way, but new statutes have limited the City’s control over where and what buffering can be required.  Mr. Phillips asked what can be done to get the company to understand the need for addressing the appearance and location of the boxes.  Mr. Hansen stated the staff would work with Unite and it must comply with the requirements of the City’s right-of-way permit and with the City ordinances.


Council Member Martin asked if a stipulation could be included with the permit to require any boxes not be placed in the front of dwelling units.  Mr. Hansen stated that if the company can get more customers by placing the box in the back of a lot, it would likely do so, but the City cannot unduly restrict access to the right-of-way.  Mrs. Martin asked if all companies would be able to utilize the right-of-way under this agreement.  Mr. Hansen stated this is an exclusive agreement with Unite and is for its access to any City right-of-way, but it is staffs’ understanding that Unite intends to focus in the downtown and commercial areas.  Mrs. Martin stated that some in the City would not have access.  Mr. Hansen stated this type of agreement does not have the same requirements as with a cable franchise.


Council Member King quoted from the agreement about it being contingent on the continued accuracy of information provided by the applicant.  He asked if the company was determined to be involved in providing video services, for example, that could require a new agreement.  Mr. Hansen stated if the company wants to provide video services, a whole new agreement would be required.


The motion carried unanimously and is inscribed in Ordinance No. 9158.






Document No. 6700 was read.  Council Member Martin moved to waive the rules and consider the ordinance on first reading.  Council Member Phillips seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.


Council Member Martin moved to approve the ordinance.  Council Member King seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.  It was approved by the Chair and is inscribed in Ordinance No. 9159.




Document No. 6701 was read.  Council Member King moved to waive the rules and consider the ordinance on first reading.  Council Member Phillips seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.


Council Member Martin moved to approve the ordinance.  Council Member Jenness seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.  It was approved by the Chair and is inscribed in Ordinance No. 9160.






Document No. 6702 was read.  Council Member Martin moved to waive the rules and consider the ordinance on first reading.  Council Member Phillips seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.

Council Member King moved to approve the ordinance.  Council Member Martin seconded the motion.  Council Member King stated it is always appreciated when a project comes in under budget.  The motion carried unanimously.  It was approved by the Chair and is inscribed in Ordinance No. 9161.




Council Member Martin moved to approve the resolution.  Council Member Brenton seconded the motion, which carried unanimously and is inscribed in Resolution No. 2307.




Document No. 6703 was read.  Council Member King moved to waive the rules and consider the ordinance on first reading.  Council Member Martin seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.


Council Member King moved to approve the ordinance.  Council Member Martin seconded the motion.  Council Member King asked how long this problem had existed.  Police Officer Nathan Mulch stated it had been quite a while.  Advances in technology make it easier for false identification to be produced.  The motion carried unanimously.  It was approved by the Chair and is inscribed in Ordinance No. 9162.






Council Member Phillips moved to approve the purchase.  Council Member Martin seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.






Council Member Phillips thanked the staff, mayor, and Chamber of Commerce for the very successful Liberty4thFest.  He noted the information received about A Highway being transferred to the City from the State and asked what timeframe was anticipated for the same to occur with M-33 Highway.  Mr. Hansen stated the transfer of these highways to the City is in exchange for the State assuming responsibility for the Flintlock overpass.  In the interim, the City will review what is necessary to maintain the transferred roadways, including the ability to plow them efficiently.  Lightburne and Leonard Streets are anticipated to be conveyed to the City soon, most likely within the next two years.


Council Member Phillips moved that the City staff purchase equipment from Professional Engineering Corporation necessary to install state of the art traffic light synchronization on Kansas Street between Clayview Drive and I-35 as soon as possible and not to exceed $50,000.  Council Member Martin seconded the motion.


Council Member Phillips stated that this is intended to override the substitute motion passed at the June 25, 2007 council meeting.  He stated he did not stipulate where the funds were to come from and trusts the City staff that the Council often praises to make the decision and report back on the best sources that balance completion of the project and protects the long-term City needs.  He stated that funds from the stormwater financing study fund could be one funding source, since budgeted funds would be adequate to pay for the study when the time comes for the study to be contracted.

Mr. Phillips stated that the stretch of Kansas Street or 152 Highway has been identified as one of the five most dangerous in the Kansas City metro.  He added it is estimated that 55,000 cars driven by Liberty residents and men and women who work and shop and live in Liberty pass through this specific area of road each day.


Mr. Phillips stated a traffic consultant from the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) studied needs and made recommendations that the additional equipment will mesh this traffic light synchronization project into the larger metro Operation Green Light program.  He added that what is now Clayview Country Club will become an additional hub of business activity and benefit to Liberty in the near future.  Mr. Phillips stated the Council needed to be pro-active when possible and not settle for reactive leadership.


Mr. Phillips stated that major banks along this stretch and shopping areas to the north, south east and west of 152 and 291 Highways have complained long and loud that one obstacle hindering them is traffic congestion on this part of Kansas.  He stated these are just some of the reasons he is proposing this action be taken.


Council Member King stated that when this was discussed at the last Council meeting, he asked if the synchronization could be accomplished within the budget and with the equipment originally proposed.  He stated that Mr. Hansen had said it could.  Mr. King stated that, because of the concerns of citizens about storm water issues, had he known this was going to be proposed, he would have asked those citizens to be present.  He restated that the original funds and equipment previously approved would resolve the synchronization issues along Kansas Street and staying within budget and doing as planned outweighs being first.  He stated that this equipment could be added anytime in the future and he hoped Council would stay within budget but meet the needs of citizens when this additional equipment is needed.


Council Member Duncan stated this is an opportunity not just to synchronize traffic signals but to do it better and more efficiently.  He stated this is a significant issue for business to get more customers into their places of business.  He stated that Alicia Stephens has noted this continues to be mentioned by businesses as a barrier to development.  Traffic control is rated in surveys from one to seven, with one being the poorest score and average rating is now down to a two.


Council Member Parry stated spending the $75,000 already allocated achieves the objective and spending funds allocated to address stormwater is not wise and not warranted.


Council Member Duncan stated this amount of money isn’t going to solve storm water issues, but it can do something to improve the traffic flow issues on Kansas Street.


Council Member Foster agreed that the original amount approved was sufficient to address the problem on Kansas Street and, though he would love to have the best equipment, the City can’t afford it right now.


Council Member Brenton asked what the $50,000 can fund.  Mr. Hansen stated the original project was estimated at $75,000 to $78,000 and included engineering work in reprogramming the traffic signals along Kansas Street to make it more coordinated as well as providing limited optical detection cameras and related work along the corridor.  The new equipment can not only detect vehicles but also has processing units that adapt and adjust timing.  This is at the same cost as proposed for one intersection and there is $26,000 or $27,000 in the budget for this.  The new system with the processing unit can adjust in real time as opposed to being set for peak hour traffic and non-peak hour traffic and any changes requiring manual reprogramming.  He added that there are budgeted funds to equip one intersection using the detection system.  Knowing the problems at Conistor and Blue Jay, staff looked at buying equipment for both intersections to make the project the best it can be and get the Operation Green Light tied in, which originally wasn’t projected to occur for several years.  Mr. Hansen stated the purchasing policy required Council approval because it exceeded what the City Administrator is authorized to approve.  The $24,000 identified to fund the new equipment was left over from the storm water financing study after Council approved use of the rest of that budget amount for a change order completing the South Liberty Parkway and because the storm water financing study was being postponed awaiting the outcome of the National Civic League citizen planning process.  If stormwater financing is identified as a priority, there would be approximately $210,000 in the 2008 capital plan for that purpose and additional funding would have to be identified for the third phase of the financing study after that.  The remaining $14,100 was proposed to come from the capital fund balance.  Mr. Hansen reiterated that this approach to traffic synchronization is a proven approach and will improve traffic flow and safety.  It provides for the adaptive ability to be extended along the entire corridor.  Mr. Brenton asked if by adaptive, he meant that if there was heavier than anticipated traffic on Conistor when the theatre let out, this system would see that different pattern and adjust accordingly.  Mr. Hansen said that was correct.


Council Member King asked if the equipment would have to be programmed if the adaptive equipment were not purchased.  Mr. Hansen stated that it is all programmed, but the equipment originally approved has the capability of being set only for peak times and average traffic flow.  Mr. King asked if the original equipment could be programmed for high school peak traffic hours.  Mr. Hansen said it could and any traffic control equipment can be programmed for that type of setting.  Mr. King asked for clarification that the originally approved equipment purchase could control the high school traffic and traffic on 152 Highway and accomplish synchronization.  Traffic will increase but the original equipment budgeted and approved for purchase could do what is needed.  Mr. Hansen stated there have been changes since that original amount was budgeted.  First, Operation Green Light is now being planned for the Kansas/152 Highway corridor from Flintlock Road to Clayview Drive.  The equipment would work as originally intended but the City has the opportunity at a minimal cost to get a better system.  Staff was only made aware of this newer equipment in the last few weeks and met with the vendor and was provided with a demonstration.  This project also addresses the safety of turning movements along the corridor and maximizes the functioning of the whole system.


Council Member King stated that even if the citizen strategic planning process did not identify stormwater as a priority it has still been identified by citizens and funds have been budgeted to address it.  Mayor Steinkamp stated that the pending motion does not address stormwater funding.  Council Member King moved to amend the motion to require staff to bring back the funding identified for the equipment purchase to Council for approval.  Council Member Parry seconded the motion.


Council Member Phillips stated he would vote in opposition to the amendment because he trusted the staff to handle the identification of funding.  Council Member King stated that $50,000 is the equivalent of one quarter of a mile of fixed roads.  He expressed concern about where the money is coming from when something else was promised to the citizens.  He questioned what the result would be if businesses and citizens were asked if they wanted this equipment.


Council Member Martin called for the question.


The vote resulted in a 4-4-0 tie with Council Member Phillips, Council Member Martin, Council Member Brenton and Council Member Duncan voting in opposition.  Mayor Steinkamp cast the deciding vote in opposition to the amendment, so the motion failed 4-5-0.  Mayor Steinkamp stated he and Council Member King had discussed this issue.  He stated that reasonable people could be on opposite sides of issues.  He stated it is important to always look at what’s in the best interest of the citizens and in this instance, he looked at the signal at Claywoods and 291 Highway being installed because citizens said the City needed better roads.  He stated that $60,000 was spent out of the capital budget for that signal and was not saying that was wrong, because it served a valid purpose.  Mayor Steinkamp stated he believed a more sophisticated system should be obtained and any system put in would be behind the times as soon as it is installed.  The better system should be purchased now to make every effort to address the problem in the most effective way possible.


Council Member Parry stated that the Claywoods Parkway signal was a safety issue and matching funds from the State were available so the City didn’t have to foot the total bill.  He stated that signal was not about people being able to get home early and $75,000 has already been allocated to address the Kansas Street signal synchronization problem.


Council Member Brenton stated he would vote in favor of the motion because there have not been any deaths in Liberty that he recalls due to stormwater issues, but deaths have occurred on Kansas Street, which makes it a safety issue.  He stated there is also an economic impact.  While stormwater needs to be addressed, high school traffic and traffic along Kansas in general needs to be addressed now and this purchase is in the best interests of the citizens.


The vote resulted in a 4-4-0 tie with Council Member King, Council Member Parry, Council Member Jenness and Council Member Foster voting in opposition.  Mayor Steinkamp cast the deciding vote in favor of the motion to authorize the purchase, so the motion carried 4-5-0.  Council Member Phillips stated this action would make it safer for citizens on that road.


Council Member Jenness mentioned the sidewalk grant the City received and thanked Cheryl McCann who spearheaded the effort.  He asked for some more formal recognition by the City.


Council Member Duncan asked when the UDO amendments would be reviewed in study session.  Mr. Wenson stated it would be on August 6.  Mr. Duncan asked that the tentative agenda be updated to reflect that item.


Council Member Parry asked how many deaths had been recorded on 152 Highway.  Police Chief Craig Knouse stated he was told there had been two.  Mr. Parry encouraged all to attend the next Mayor’s Forum scheduled for July 10 at the Community Center.


Council Member King also expressed appreciation to Ms. McCann for her role in securing the sidewalk grant.


Mayor Steinkamp stated the forum begins Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m. and it is important for the Council to hear from citizens.  These forums offer that opportunity.


Mayor Steinkamp thanked all for their participation in the Liberty4thFest and congratulated staff on a job well done.  He stated many favorable comments were received from the private sector and he hoped this was the first of many July 4th celebrations at the Fountain Bluff Sports Complex.


Mayor Steinkamp noted the West Gate Division, Missouri Municipal League dinner scheduled for July 19 and stated that Dub Steincross and Mary Alice Dobberstine would be honored at that event.  On July 26, the Clay County Coordinating Committee dinner meeting was scheduled to begin at 6:30 and would be held in North Kansas City.




The meeting adjourned at 9:13 p.m.








Deputy City Clerk