The Prairie Village will join six other cities in Johnson County to solve watershed issues.
The City Council on Tuesday approved an agreement to join the Rock Creek Watershed Planning and Management Study with the cities of Mission, Roeland Park, Fairway, Overland Park, Mission Hills and Westwood. At the council’s Feb. 4 meeting Andy McCaskill of the engineer consulting firm Burns and McDonnell and Lee Schollenberger of Johnson County Stormwater Department explained the watershed study.
McCaskill told the council that currently cities are confined to their boundaries to solve watershed issues, but a better solution would be to look at the entire watershed.
“Few problems can be solved within the boundaries of just one city,” he said.
McCaskill said the goal of the study would be to form a coalition of those six cities that would address stormwater management in the watershed.
Schollenberger said the Johnson County Stormwater Management Program will fund 90 percent of the study’s cost, and Fairway and Mission would split the rest.
Though the study is the first step in a process that may not lead to any action from Prairie Village, Councilman Charles Clark said this could be a positive example for how cities could address stormwater issues. There are several watersheds across the metro area.
Also at the council meeting city administrator Quinn Bennion briefed the council on the Prairie Village’s plan to join the Johnson County wide mass notification system, Notify Johnson County. The city currently uses a citywide system only for emergencies called Red Alert.
Quinn said the county-wide system sends both emergency and non-emergency alerts through phone, text and email. He said the alerts go out based on address so residents would receive non-emergency alerts, like road closures and zoning changes, for their neighborhood only.
He said the system is a joint venture of Johnson County, WaterOne and six cities in the county. Residents can receive notifications from up to five locations. Quinn said that until the Red Alert system is phased out the city will have to post notifications to both alert systems.
At the Council Committee Meeting the council approved a $26,000 upgrade to the city’s school zone beacon system. Sgt. James Carney told the council the current system has several bugs. He said the beacons sometimes don’t flash on school days or they flash when it is not a school day. The system also does not confirm whether the beacons received programming commands.
“We have to send officers out to each location in the first week of school to make sure they work,” Carney said.
He said it takes him an hour to program each of the 13 beacons’ signal times.
The upgraded system would send feedback to the police station if a beacon is not working properly or did not receive programmed commands. Carney said the upgrade would also give him a real-time signal in the station if the beacon is flashing or not. He also said the system would use Ethernet connection, unlike the current system, which uses a pager notification system.
A second option for about $6,000 would upgrade the pager system software, but Carney didn’t recommend this because he said only two pager companies operate across the country and both frequently shut towers off.
“I don’t know about you but I heard pagers were on their way out,” Carney said. “If the pagers here get shut off we just wasted $6,000.”