August No-Tax-Increase Bond Issue to Fund Public Safety Improvements
On Aug. 6, 2019, Lee’s Summit voters will be asked to consider a $19,475,000 no-tax-increase bond question to fund various public safety initiatives. The general obligation bonds would fund the construction of two new fire stations and purchase of fire apparatus; police body-worn cameras and in-car audio and video recording systems; Police/Court facility renovations; and network infrastructure.
This ballot question would not raise taxes, but authorizes the City to reissue debt at the current debt levy to address capital needs. The current property tax levy is $1.51540 per $100 of assessed value. Of that, the debt service is $0.4697 per $100 of assessed value, which the City has maintained since 2007.
Approval of the ballot question would provide funding to purchase an additional fire apparatus, build a new Fire Station No. 4 and a new Fire Station No. 5. Fire Station No. 4, located at 404 NE Woods Chapel Rd., was built in 1976. Fire Station No. 5, located at 3650 SW Windemere Dr., was built in 1980. Both stations have reached capacity and are unable to expand at their current locations. The stations lack separate sleeping quarters, bathroom facilities and locker rooms for men and women; a decontamination area, which minimizes exposure hazards; and space for proper training.
The bond issue would also fund security and operational improvements at the Police/Court facility as well as body-worn cameras and a new in-car video system. The Police Department currently has four body-worn cameras in use and its in-car video system is outdated. Approval of the ballot question would fund 140 body-worn cameras for all patrol officers and 42 in-car audio and video systems, increasing transparency and meeting new technological needs. Today, courts and prosecutors rely on video and audio technology to improve evidentiary outcomes. The building renovations would enhance security and public access, improve operational efficiency and provide separate lockers and restrooms for men and women.
The City currently uses aerial fiber to connect several facilities, including Police Headquarters, City Hall, Animal Control and Public Works Operations. These network infrastructure improvements would bury existing fiber optic cable, lowering the risk of downed limbs severing network connections, and improve communication with the new fire stations and Police Headquarters. New buried fiber optic cable would be provided to other public safety related facilities, including Fire Station No. 2, and Harris Park Community Center and Longview Community Center, which serve as shelters during times of emergency need.