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Did you know that you can make a difference today by joining the Friends of Platte County Parks and Recreation - membership/donations start at just $25. It's easy, just fill out the sign up form and mail in or use the PayPal Donate button.
We believe by bringing you information on PLACES TO GO, THINGS TO DO and WHAT'S HAPPENING in our newsletter below and on our website at www.friendsofplattecountyparks.org we are helping to inform you about the amenities and activities in Platte County that you can enjoy, encouraging your use and support and promoting continued development. This improves our quality of life here in Platte County. We all become more familiar with the communities throughout the county and enjoy what each has to offer. Would you please take the time today to join and help support this cause? We also welcome your involvement in this group.
FYI - We are a volunteer run, tax exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit, with no paid employees. Our expenses are for email/other marketing, printing, postage, web site, and events. It does take some money to do these things. We are getting low on funds now. Can we count on your help? A little bit goes a long way with us! Thank you.
Margie Maasen, President,
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What’s all this about rescinding the Sales Tax for Parks, Trails, Recreation and Storm Water???
Concern about budgets being low for Prosecutor and Sheriff departments, but not for Parks and Storm Water because there is a dedicated voter approved Parks and Storm Water tax, prompts talk of a rescission to the Parks tax. See below for County Commissioner Press Releases and letter from the Prosecuting Attorney, Eric Zahnd for details.
A HEALTHY DISCUSSION and
FOOD FOR THOUGHT……………
Friends and our Elected Officials,
We believe that the Prosecutor, the County Commissioners, elected officials and the Friends of Platte County Parks and Recreation non-profit group have the same motivations. We all desire a safe, family friendly community to live in. We don't think we are far apart in how we can make that vision happen.
At a recent Park Partners lunch meeting, we talked about the success of communities where law enforcement and parks and recreation work closely together to provide safe places and activities for citizens. Cooperating together actually reduces crime, while building healthier environments to live in. Our law enforcement professionals have a great deal of knowledge in the area of crime and potential criminals, and probably have some great ideas on how to prevent or reduce crime. How do you think Parks and Recreation could work together with our law enforcement to prevent or reduce crime in Platte County?
Perhaps thoughtful planning and development with safety and an easy law enforcement focus would be very beneficial as our county continues to grow so rapidly. An example would be park like amenities such as wide sidewalks/trails, where more and more neighbors are out walking in their neighborhoods and getting to know their surroundings better. With more people actively engaged in their community, does it reduce the opportunity for crime? Do youth need safe places in our community to go for recreation rather than have idle time and lack of opportunity for healthy activity? We see a great deal of support for these amenities already and it is growing.
Platte County is rapidly developing and the citizens seem to want many things, they want government to provide. It is a challenge to balance all the needs and desires. We believe we can do some very creative things, working together for the betterment of Platte County. We look forward to hearing your ideas too.
We are fortunate to have such excellent professionals in office and on staff managing our county. Your dedication and efforts for our county are greatly appreciated.
Margie Maasen, President
Friends of Platte County Parks and Recreation
Friends - Share your thoughts and ideas on our new Face book page.
With these ideas in mind, we are working to provide an informational meeting in the next month about TRAILS IN PLATTE COUNTY – covering the continuation of the new LINE CREEK TRAIL, 64th ST/GOWER CONNECTION, from Parkville to Line Creek as well as the new RIVERSIDE connections with LINE CREEK TRAIL and on to the MISSOURI RIVERFRONT, PLATTE CITY/KCI corridors and WESTON trails. Stay tuned, more details to follow……and will be posted on our web site at WWW.FRIENDSOFPLATTECOUNTYPARKS.ORG
Become an active Friend and supporter today, help us spread the good news of PARKS, TRAILS, and RECREATION IN OUR COMMUNITIES THROUGHOUT PLATTE COUNTY!!! Send us your contact info at www.FriendsOfPlatteCountyParks.org - Become a Friend page.
PROVIDERS: We are currently putting the April/May newsletter together – if you have events and activities please send them to us now. Thank you.
platte county commission
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: January 5, 2012
Platte County YMCA Expansions Put on Hold
In response to the Platte County Prosecutor’s proposed plan to rescind the Platte County Park’s tax in favor of a law enforcement tax, the Platte County Commission has stopped all work on the planned expansions at both Platte County YMCA Centers.
During Tuesday’s Commission Meeting, Platte County Prosecutor, Eric Zahnd, proposed rescinding the current Parks and Recreation Tax, advocated against expansion of the community centers and said the tax should be replaced with a law enforcement tax.
After the budget hearing Tuesday, the Platte County Commission has decided to issue a stop work order until this budget debate is resolved. The construction management firm, J.E. Dunn, has been notified that all work and planning on the Community Centers is to be stopped until further notice. The Commissioners are in discussion with office holders to look at all possible options.
Letter from the Prosecuting Attorney, Eric Zahnd
Date: Fri, Feb 3, 2012 1:00 pm
Platte County is a wonderful county. According to a recent survey, people love Platte County for the following reasons, in this order: a feeling of safety, quality public schools, affordable and good housing, quiet neighborhoods, and proximity to parks and recreation amenities, among other things.
Unfortunately, Platte County now apparently finds itself unable to adequately fund core government functions. The 2012 budget originally proposed by the County Commission contained a $500,000 cut to law enforcement and cuts to many other areas, such as the public administrator’s office, that will particularly harm our most vulnerable citizens.
In my opinion, a half-million dollar cut to the Sheriff’s Department would seriously compromise public safety. Over the past decade, Platte County’s per capita inflation-adjusted spending on law enforcement has decreased significantly, at the same time the number of felonies charged has nearly doubled. The Commissioners have said they will not support any tax increase and have consistently decreased other taxes in Platte County. I understand their position to keep taxes as low as possible.
However, if tax dollars are limited, I believe that law enforcement—which is something only government can provide—should not take a back seat to amenities. That opinion is not unique to me, as the recent survey and one completed a decade earlier demonstrate that public safety is the number one reason people choose to live in Platte County by a significant margin.
For that reason, when the 2012 budget crisis erupted, I suggested the Commission consider allowing the public to decide if it wished to revisit the parks tax. I proposed allowing the people to decide whether they were interested in dividing the current parks tax between parks and law enforcement as a way to bridge the gap and forestall the draconian cuts to law enforcement and core government services. Even with a reduction in the parks tax, I believe we could have expanded the community centers and completed many other parks projects, though other projects likely would have been delayed or eliminated.
My suggestion was not particularly novel: The Commission’s preferred plan when it sought renewal of the parks tax in 2009 was to split the tax evenly between parks and law enforcement. That plan had the support of key parks tax supporters. However, for some reason, the plan was scuttled before it was presented to voters.
In light of the ongoing economic downturn which has apparently made it extraordinarily difficult for the County Commission to fund core government services, I believed it was only right to allow the voters to decide which services were most important: public safety or parks and recreation. If we were in a situation where only one of the two could be accomplished, I thought we should let the voters tell us which was more important.
Of course, as prosecuting attorney, I have no power to change the tax structure in Platte County or to place any proposal on the ballot. Nor do I have the power to order that work on expansions to the community centers be stopped or continue. Only the County Commission has the authority to make any changes to the tax structure or to order work to continue on the community centers.
My sole concern when it comes to Platte County’s budgeting is that we adequately fund law enforcement. The good news is that the Commission abandoned its plan in the 2012 budget to cut half a million dollars from the county’s law enforcement agencies. Supporters of the parks tax will also be glad to know that two of the three Commissioners have said that they would not consider a ballot initiative to see if voters supported splitting the current parks tax between law enforcement and parks.
It is now essential for the Commissioners to develop a long-term strategy to provide sustainable funding for public safety and other core government services. They have pledged to do that, and I look forward to hearing their plan.
Eric G. Zahnd
Platte County Prosecuting Attorney
platte county commission
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: February 8, 2012
Stop Work Order Lifted on Community Centers
After a public January 3rd budget hearing, in which Prosecutor Eric Zahnd proposed rescinding the voter approved one-half cent parks sales tax and replacing it with a one-fourth cent sales tax for law enforcement and a one-eighth cent sales tax for parks, the Commission placed a stop work order for the Community Centers on January 5th. The stoppage was issued to allow the Prosecutor’s idea additional time and opportunity to be reviewed.
While the stop work order has remained in place, the commission consulted independent counsel and has extensively researched the ramifications of rescinding the parks tax as proposed by Zahnd. “We have been advised by independent bond counsel, Rick McConnell at Gilmore & Bell, P.C., that taking actions toward the rescission of the tax would have serious negative effects on the County’s credit rating,” stated Presiding Commissioner, Jason Brown. “This would negatively affect the value of the County’s outstanding bonds which bond holders have purchased in good faith, and create numerous legal liabilities for the County.”
With funding approved by the County Commission for the Prosecutor at his requested level, the FY12 budget was formally adopted on January 10th. Since that time, there has been no additional detail offered to the Commission on rescinding the voter approved parks funding, except by bond counsel. With this detailed opinion from counsel, the Commission is now moving forward and the stop work order is lifted, effective immediately.
“Our County has made a promise to its citizens. Agreements have been signed with numerous community partners and placing the county in both a financial and legal corner is not an option,” added Presiding Commissioner Jason Brown. “This Commission will continue to balance the budget while completing all of our obligations and responsibilities.”
Please pass this newsletter on ….become a free subscriber online at our website or email us at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo become a member or contribute to make a difference in Platte County go to http://www.friendsofplattecountyparks.org/Become_a_Friend.html
Welcome to our new Presiding County Commissioner - Jason Brown and best wishes in your new position. We appreciate your service to our county and hope to work closely with you on and Recreation.
Brown replaces Betty Knight, who retired in 2010 after faithful and professional service. Thank you Commissioner Knight for your years of service to Platte County and your leadership. Best wishes in your retire
PAST: Check out this summary of what Platte County has accomplished in the first ten years of the ½ cent Parks, Recreation and Storm water Sales tax
2011 - Ten year Review of Parks and Recreation in Platte County
PLATTE COUNTY IS PLANNING $20,000,000 IN EXPANSIONS TO COMMUNITY CENTERS - ADDING AQUATIC and OTHER AMENITIES - North Community Center in Platte City - adding 6-8 lanes for swimming - working on partnering with Platte County RIII School District for their swim team. Also adding 4-6 lanes to South Community Center in Parkville. For details go to www.platteparks.com
FUTURE: County P & R plans at www.platteparks.com
Did you know we have our very own stretch of the METRO GREEN TRAIL NETWORK right here in Platte County? And it is growing??? Check out these Platte County trail updates:
Southern Platte Pass - Trail Connection under I-29 along 64th St. - Update – Platte County, KCMO and MoDot are working together to enable Phase 2 of the Southern Platte Pass Trail along NW 64th St. to continue under the I-29 overpass. This Platte County/KCMO trail is federally funded and due to be extended under I-29 to the East to connect to Gower and KCMO sidewalks along it. MoDot has submitted to the Feds for sign off to begin - looks like construction won't start till Spring of 2012 now......
Southern Platte Pass Trail West to Union Chapel (K hwy) Update - 45 highway/64th st extension west trail? State (MoDot) has begun construction of road/trail improvement project to include 10’ (primarily) shared use path from 9 Hwy to Union Chapel Rd.
Line Creek Trail advances – This meandering trail along the creek just West of Waukomis/Green Hills Roads in heavily populated Platte County/KCMO, will cross the new Gower Extension and is heading south towards Riverside ..........and the Missouri Riverfront Trail.......This is a cooperative project between Kansas City, Platte County and Riverside. NICE!
We hear the city of Riverside is making great progress on their trails network and plan to connect up Line Creek toward the KCMO Line Creek Trail.
Will we make a connection along Line Creek to the Missouri River in Riverside/Parkville?? As shown in these plans - METRO GREEN/NORTHLAND TRAILS/PLATTE COUNTY TRAILS/KANSAS CITY TRAILS/RIVERSIDE TRAILS. www.platteparks.com
NEW PLATTE COUNTY PARK SYSTEM PLAN ADOPTED by County Commission. For more information on this plan go to www.platteparks.com
During this study a statistical survey was taken of Platte County Residents – here are some interesting results from it.
Q 11. Most Important Functions for the Platte County Parks and Recreation Department to Provide (by percentage of respondents who selected the item as one of their top four choices)
Operate and maintain County parks & facilities 64%
Provide safe & secure facilities & programs 62%
Provide opportunities for passive activities 46%
Provide & maintain nature & conservation areas 43%
Provide opportunities for active recreation 32%
Maintain open lines of communication w/ the public 28%
Provide longer connecting walking/biking trails 27%
Provide indoor recreation and community centers 26%
Partnering with cities, schools & non-profits 25%
Provide large regional parks 8%
Provide public golf facilities 6%
Q 14. Parks and Recreation Facilities That Are Most Important to Respondent Households (top 8 by % of respondents who selected the item as one of their top 4 choices)
Walking, hiking & biking trails 56%
Nature trails & nature interpretive areas 30%
Indoor fitness & exercise facilities 29%
Children’s playgrounds 22%
Outdoor swimming pools & splash pads 20%
Picnicking areas & shelters 20%
Boating & fishing areas 17%Indoor family/leisure pool 16%
Q 20. Potential Benefits That Are Most Important to the Future of Platte County
(top 8) By percentage of respondents who selected the item as one of their top three choices
Makes Platte County a more desirable place to live 52%
Increases property values in surrounding areas 39%
Preserves open space and the environment 30%
Helps attract new residents and businesses 30%
Preserve Platte Co historical/cultural resources 21%
Improves physical health and fitness 18%
Creative/healthy opportunities for leisure time 14%
Promotes tourism to the County 14%
Q 21. Allocation of $100 Among Various Categories of Funding for Parks and Recreation Services by percentage of respondents
Maintenance/Improvement of existing parks, trails and recreation facilities 33%
Build more walking and biking trails 20%
Acquisition of new parkland and open space 15%
Development/improvement of indoor facilities 15%
Development of new parks and recreation amenities 10%
Construction of new sports fields 7%