August 6 No-Tax-Increase General Obligation Bond Election

Ballot Language

Shall the City of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, issue its general obligation bonds in the amount of $19,475,000 for the purpose of acquiring land, making certain improvements and acquiring equipment for public safety purposes including (a) the acquisition, construction, furnishing and equipping of a new fire station and the purchase of associated apparatus to replace Fire Station No. 4, (b) the acquisition, construction, furnishing and equipping of a new fire station to replace Fire Station No. 5, (c) the acquisition and installation of new police automobile video systems and police body-worn camera systems, (d) renovations and improvements to enhance facility security, public access, customer service and operational efficiency in the Police and Courts Municipal Building and (e) purchasing and installing new infrastructure to renovate, improve and upgrade the City’s wireless and fiber optic communications network among City Hall and other City facilities?

On August 6, 2019, voters approved a $19,475,000 no-tax-increase general obligation bond question to fund public safety initiatives. Approval of the ballot question does not increase taxes. The City has maintained the current debt service tax levy of $0.4697 since 2007.

The ballot question includes funding for five initiatives:

  • Police Headquarters/Court facility renovations
  • Police in-car video systems and body-worn cameras
  • New Fire Station No. 4 and fire apparatus
  • New Fire Station No. 5
  • Network Infrastructure
 

 

Public Safety Initiatives Explained

On Tuesday, August 6, 2019, voters in Lee's Summit will be asked to consider a $19,475,000 no-tax-increase bond issue. The proposal calls for funding for public safety initiatives. This short video gives voters information on the five capital projects that are part of this proposal.

  • Get a look inside the current Fire Station No. 4 and No. 5.
  • The Lee's Summit Police Department explain how body-worn cameras and in-car video are being used by law enforcement.
  • Learn about the City's network infrastructure.

August 6 No-Tax-Increase Bond Election FAQ's

It is made possible when existing bond issues are paid off. As the debt decreases, the City can issue new bonds with voter approval, and pay them off over time with the current property tax levy.

The total amount of the bond is $19,475,000 for public safety projects. Below is a breakdown of the cost by project:  

  • New Fire Station No. 4 and fire apparatus:  $7 million (land, building, apparatus)
  • New Fire Station No. 5: $5 million (land and building)
  • Police In-car Video Replacement and Body-worn cameras: $1 million
  • Police and Courts Facility Security and Operational Efficiency Renovation: $5.5 million
  • Public safety network infrastructure (fiber and wireless): $975,000

Shall the City of Lee's Summit, Missouri, issue its general obligation bonds in the amount of $19,475,000 for the purpose of acquiring land, making certain improvements and acquiring equipment for public safety purposes including (a) the acquisition, construction, furnishing and equipping of a new fire station and the purchase of associated apparatus to replace Fire Station No. 4, (b) the acquisition, construction, furnishing and equipping of a new fire station to replace Fire Station No. 5, (c) the acquisition and installation of new police automobile video systems and police body-worn camera systems, (d) renovations and improvements to enhance facility security, public access, customer service and operational efficiency in the Police and Courts Municipal Building and (e) purchasing and installing new infrastructure to renovate, improve and upgrade the City’s wireless and fiber optic communications network among City Hall and other City facilities?

Lee’s Summit voters will be asked to consider whether or not to approve a no-tax-increase general obligation bond initiative to fund public safety initiatives. These initiatives focus on replacing two outdated fire stations, adding an additional fire apparatus, replacing in-car video cameras and equipping police officers with body-worn cameras, renovating the existing Police and Courts facility to enhance security/safety and operational efficiencies, and replacing and installing new fiber and wireless connectivity between public safety related facilities.

The Special Election will be held August 6, 2019.

These two stations are the oldest fire stations among the seven fire stations within the City. Fire Station No. 4 on NE Woods Chapel Road was constructed in 1976, and Fire Station No. 5 was constructed in 1980 on SW Windemere Drive. Neither fire station is large enough to accommodate current and future needs of the department. As a result, there is a less than ideal living and work environment at both stations because of the following:

  • DOES NOT allow for separate sleeping quarters for men and women
  • DOES NOT provide separate bathroom facilities for genders
  • DOES NOT provide separate locker room areas for genders
  • DOES NOT provide meeting room privacy
  • DOES NOT provide a decontamination area; therefore, equipment is decontaminated in the same working and living space that is occupied by the crews, which creates an exposure hazard
  • DOES NOT allow enough space in the equipment bay to house an ambulance in addition to the pumper and other equipment

No. Neither location is situated to provide adequate property to expand the stations to achieve the necessary objectives. An expansion at either location would require the City to purchase additional land around the fire stations. Also, tearing down or a substantial renovation/expansion of either fire station would result in the firefighters moving to a temporary location which could lead to longer response times and affect their ability to cover the district.

The City has not identified a proposed site for the new stations. However, the City is evaluating areas for a possible new home for each station. What is more certain is that the new stations will be built with future needs and demand for services in mind as outlined within the Lee’s Summit Fire Department’s Community Risk Standards of Cover.

This purchase would be an additional aerial apparatus, also known as a ladder truck. Currently there are only two ladder trucks in the Fire Department fleet, which creates vulnerability when one or both of the ladder trucks is out of service or on other calls for service. This additional aerial would allow for greater redundancy and lessen that vulnerability.

Apparatus are not permanently tied to a particular fire station. As operational demands change this can at times, lead to a change in resource allocation of apparatus.

There are several types of apparatus in the fire department fleet and all have varying life expectancies. In the case of this apparatus, the life expectancy would be between 10 to 12 years.

Yes, this feature exists in all current fire stations, except Fire Station No.3, which is currently under construction. This will be a component of all new fire stations as well.

Our current asking budget of $1 million will provide the storage for both current and future data needs. Research is underway to align with best practices concerning retention schedules and standards.

The life span of body-worn cameras is expected to be three to five years. The life span of in-car video systems is closer to 10 years.

The Police Department has four body-worn cameras that are being used by motorcycle officers.

The Police Department is requesting 42 in-car video systems would includes patrol vehicles, parking enforcement and the Bearcat. Seven units will be used to upgrade the current interview room systems, standardizing all police recording systems. The department is requesting 140 body-warn cameras to equip all patrol officers.

The police building was constructed just over 20 years ago. While the building remains structurally sound, security needs have become more heightened and the current layout/design does not meet security standards for Police Department, Municipal Court or the Prosecutor’s Office. A study was performed by Treanor Architects in January, 2019 to evaluate the building and produce recommendations for renovations to address:

  • Enhancing facility security and public access
  • Improving customer service through better design
  • Increasing operational efficiency
  • Meeting the needs of a workforce growing in diversity (expanding women’s locker room facilities for current and future growth)
  • Providing work space that meets modern demands, thereby improving recruitment and retention of staff

The City experiences connectivity issues at many of its facilities, including fire stations, Lee’s Summit Municipal Airport, Water Utilities facilities and Lees Summit Parks & Recreation facilities. This causes disruptions in telephone and Internet capabilities. The no-tax-increase bond would replace aerial fiber that has degraded over time with buried fiber between Fire Station Headquarters and the Police Department as well as other existing aerial fiber lines. In addition, buried fiber would be installed connecting Fire Station No. 2, the south terminal water pumping and tank facility on Ward Road, and connect Harris Park Community Center and Longview Recreation Center, which are designated community shelters in times of need.

If the no-tax-increase initiative fails, the City will be faced with prioritizing these capital needs among operational needs and resources through the annual budgeting process. There are no other current sources of funding that have been identified to assist with these capital project initiatives.

When the total assessed valuation in a political subdivision increases substantially, as often happens with a reassessment, the political subdivision is allowed an increase in revenues to account for inflation, plus the revenues it receives from taxing new construction and improvements. Its governing body, after that, is required by the constitution to adjust tax rates downward. This is called a tax rate rollback. Jackson County has such a mandatory rollback. Local governments such as school districts, cities and counties each set their own levies. Most are subject to the rollback. The main exception is the Kansas City School District, which was made exempt from the rollback by a state constitutional amendment. The exact impact upon individual tax bills cannot be calculated until this fall when state and local governments set their levies.

It depends. An increase in assessed value does not necessarily equate to a corresponding increase in property taxes. Assessed value and the combined levies of the taxing entities which levy a tax on that particular property are used to calculate your tax. If levies increase, taxes may increase even if assessed values remain unchanged or decrease. It follows that, if levies decrease, an increase in assessed values may not cause an increase in taxes. One factor which can cause a decrease in levies is a rollback which was discussed in the FAQ. Another is a voluntary reduction voted by the governing body. An estimate of your taxes will be included in your reassessment notice. The final tax levies are normally set during August. The final taxes due for your property cannot be determined until the rates have been set by all of the local governments that tax your property.

Paid for by the City of Lee's Summit, Missouri, William A. Baird, Mayor