Committees and Task Forces

Arts, Culture & Equitable Development

Committee Chair: Commissioner Angela Markley

The goal of this committee is to mobilize the local arts and culture and to work to advance the steering of public resources to embed these values into the transformation of neighborhoods using collaborative agreements that target economic and community development initiatives, creative placemaking models, and the use of arts and culture to support equitable policy change across the county. 

The scope of this committee should entail several projects detailed in order of priority below: 

  1. Streamline matters concerning the arts and cultural economic resource access and policy;

  2. Build a plan to actualize a diversified creative placemaking strategy that harnesses the power of arts and culture by connecting and deepening the cultural and social fabric of community life;

  3. Invite artists to use their creative skills to support their own neighborhood by advancing plans that are authentic, vibrant, and reflective of the community’s shared vision for its own future; 

  4. Advocate for cultural planning, cultural spaces, greater investment in cultural celebrations and the arts to guide continuity for creative communities; 

  5. Identify public spaces, and art forms where people live and are encouraged to reimagine their lives, and where they can gather to advance justice for all; 

  6. Provide critical internal infrastructure, community oversight and authority to advise the Mayor, County Commission, and City Administrator on arts and culture related issues, ensuring programs are adequately resourced and that community investments, grants, and fund allocations are distributed equitably citywide; and 

  7. Establish balanced economic development goals, policies, and implementation strategies that can help achieve communities of opportunity.

 

Business & Economic Development

Committee Chair: Commissioner Harold Johnson

The work of this committee shall serve as a support to businesses that, in accordance with the purpose and intent of the County comprehensive plan, are seeking to locate, grow, and prosper within our community. By streamlining processes, curtailing bureaucracy, and facilitating responsible and equitable redevelopment, the hope is that equitable opportunity can be realized throughout Wyandotte County. 

The scope of this committee should entail several projects detailed in order of priority below: 

  1. To streamline and expedite processes and other matters concerning small and local business development, resource access and policy,

  2. To build a balanced economic growth plan to actualize a diversified economic, industrial, residential housing and commercial development strategy,

  3. Establish a strategic plan and procedures to properly identify, assess and dispose of, renovate, or properly develop vacant and under capacity UG properties, land bank properties and other underutilized green spaces for economic development purposes,

  4. Promote the redevelopment of business corridors through incentive programs,

  5. Access various local, state, and federal government grant resources for the purpose of business and economic development,

  6. Explore the reduction or elimination of pilots, taxes, and fees from start to finish for any housing development projects in Wyandotte County | Kansas City, Kansas,

  7. Explore pilot or tax abatements and/or rebates for purchasing owners of residential or multi-unit properties,

  8. Review and make policy recommendations for expanding opportunities and ordinance compliance enforcement (Article V. Division 2. MBE/WBE Program for Construction Contracts exceeding $ 250,000.00),

  9. Examining the protocols, scope, and authority of the DRC board.

Community Health, Recreation & Wellness

Committee Co-Chairs: Commissioner Melissa Bynum and Commissioner Brian McKiernan

In addition to assessing community needs regarding health, parks and recreation are also key to health and well-being, we also strive to ensure that all people have access to these spaces, programs and services that remain essential to community vitality and serve as a key factor in advancing health equity, improving individual and community-level health outcomes, and enhancing quality of life. Key to this committee is to ensure that our youth and our seniors have access to health and recreation services critical to their quality-of-life needs.  

The scope of this committee should entail several projects detailed in order of priority below: 

  1. Assess the Unified Government’s capacity to broadly address health equity for Wyandotte County | Kansas City, KS by firmly identifying the organizations commitment to health equity into both organizational wide and community-based core goals, strategic plans, performance plans, and programs;

  2. Conduct a review of existing assessments that identifies individual resident, local neighborhood, and organizational health and wellness capacity needs (CHIP, Heat Maps, local data, etc.);

  3. Develop appropriate goals that are community based and targeted to meet the needs of residents most disproportionally impacted;

  4. Align budgetary resources and resource goals to reflect a commitment to addressing the health and wellness community based and population specific goals defined; 

  5. Establish an ongoing monitoring process that is publicly developed and disseminated;

  6. Align existing and new resources to support capacity-building activities designed to improve community health for all residents equitably; and 

  7. Highlight attention to the needs of mental and addiction identification, interdictions, and treatment. 

 

Community Safety & Justice

Committee Chair: Commissioner Christian Ramirez

Following an in-depth exploration of 21st century Community Reform Models, the goal of this committee should be to reimagine and reconstruct where necessary our public safety system and build collaboration with our community stakeholders to address relevant community needs and/or challenges. Recommendations must also be made to reprioritize public spending to be in alignment with established goals and strategies. 

The scope of this committee should entail several projects detailed in order of priority below: 

  1. Review and explore components of the 21st Century Community Reform Model applicable to our local public safety agencies for complete implementation, community involvement, and systems reform,  

  2. In partnership with activists led advocates, researchers, and academics, work to develop resources and build alignment around a principled, long-term movement to transform our safety infrastructure away from one focused on criminalization and surveillance to one centered in community investment wellbeing, problem solving, non-enforcement interactions, restorative justice, de-escalation training, accountability, responsible discretion, and the promotion of positive opportunities, 

  3. Establish a local infrastructure that centers and connects community-based campaigns, programs, and models to imagine and build a world without over policing, offering alternative responses to crises, transformative justice programs, improved hiring protocols, enhanced accountability mechanisms, citizen involved training initiatives, increased CIT & victim services, diverse organizations structures, and an equitable distribution of services,  

  4. Craft recommendations that both highlights of best practices and processes already being implemented and addresses gaps that are identified by the community. 

Council of Clergy

The Council of Clergy will advise the Mayor and his staff on critical issues pertaining to community development, engagement, and citizen involvement. Likewise, the Council of Clergy will serve as a conduit to share information with their respective congregations and faith communities regarding opportunities and critical needs. Participating faith leaders will facilitate a dialog within each congregation for civic engagement, support the Unified Government upon request, and assist in recruiting volunteers and participate in local events that support children and families. Interested clergy members are encouraged to sign up with the form below. 

NOW RECRUITING MEMBERS!

Task Force Interest Form

Environmental Sustainability & Green Energy Task Force

Pollution and climate change disproportionately impacts our most vulnerable communities, including people living with disabilities, economically disadvantaged households, the elderly, youth, and people of color. This task force will look to assess environmental justice across our county and, through meaningful involvement, shape policy recommendations for a more sustainable Wyandotte. The task force will focus on the identification and development of innovative policies and strategies to address green design, renewable energy, and sustainable resource management. For example, the task force will explore distributed energy and utility-scale green energy generation to mitigate impacts of supply disruptions, reduce energy costs, and eliminate our reliance on fossil fuels. Furthermore, the task force will develop recommendations on tax policies and financing options, including federal grants and funding resources, to promote a green economy to ensure our resiliency as a community for generations to come. 

Now recruiting members!

Task Force Interest Form

Government Efficiency

Committee Chair: Commissioner Christian Ramirez

The Committee on Government Efficiency is charged with identifying issues that impact residents and stakeholders, while also studying and proposing more efficient methods of organizational reform. Recommendations from this committee will be forwarded to the respective governing boards and/or administrators for consideration.  

The scope of this committee should entail several projects detailed in order of priority below: 

  1. Study the Unified Government and BPU service structure as a means to better address needs of stakeholders;  

  2. Identify energy efficiency programs that local government can collaborate with for homes and businesses, and to improve efficiency in our own facilities;  

  3. Explore alternatives to constituent service fees associated with economic development and rate payer obligations; 

  4. Identify equitable infrastructure recommendations that support county-wide growth and sustainability;

  5. Conduct a thorough review of the Unified Government assets process and of all fees and permits required regarding code enforcement;

  6. Review and provide recommendations for all other reduction of costs and duplicity in our governmental practices, (i.e., responsible court fines and fees, constituent taxes and local mill levies, etc.); and 

  7. Review and provide recommendations for enhanced customer service, prioritizing basic services as well as consolidation of departments and services. 

Quindaro Ruins Task Force

Over the years, there have been many community-led efforts to reimagine and support the Quindaro Ruins as a national destination of considerable historic significance. Mayor Garner will convene this task force to engage interested community groups and members in advancing the preservation of this historic national site. With the goal of developing a unified strategic plan that moves the site from a state of ruin to economic revitalization, the convening taskforce should be comprised of representatives from the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Unified Government, private ownerships, key stakeholders from existing committees and organizations, historians, tourism, and park service professionals. A community town hall will be scheduled in the near future to convene interested parties in a discussion of what is possible. 

NOW RECRUITING MEMBERS!

Task Force Interest Form

 

Unhoused Residents & Neighbors in Need

Committee Chair: Tom Lally

The goal of the Neighbors in Need/Unhoused Residents committee is to establish minimum standards for wrap-around community-based services that addresses local housing costs, rising homelessness, warming stations and shelters, food insecurity and substandard housing. This committee will also address emergent needs and focus their efforts on moving our unhoused population to housing and the impoverished population to a sustainable level of prosperity. 

The scope of this committee should entail several projects detailed in order of priority below: 

  1. A baseline assessment of the unhouse population, residents living at or below 200 percent of the poverty level, housing costs and other available community resources and services that meet basic needs must be conducted;

  2. Root causes and effective strategies designed to move this population from poverty to self-sustainability are to be identified; 

  3. Duplication of services or gaps in services must be identified to address the needs of our unhoused residents and neighbors in needs; 

  4. Best practices from other communities that have successfully addressed the problem of housing inequity are to be explored;

  5. Policies that emphasize market-rate construction but fail to address the land and building costs, extreme income inequality, predatory lending practices, redlining, restrictive covenants, and other discriminatory practices that have shaped the housing landscape in this county must be researched and revised;

  6. Additionally, policy reforms that preserve and expand the supply of affordable housing, incentivize first time homebuyers, increase tenant protections, prevent displacement, foreclosures, and evictions, and remove barriers to housing for vulnerable populations, including individuals with criminal records, and low-income renters, and promote fair and healthy housing are to be identified and reviewed;

  7. Federal, state, and local resource opportunities are to be explored to address the challenges identified; and 

  8. Program, practice, budgetary and policy recommendations that address housing insecurity are to be crafted to reform how the Unified Government currently addresses our current crisis.