Mayor's State of the Government

5/18/2021 12:00:00 AM

The Mayor's 3rd Annual State of the Government

Annual State of the Government Address
 
Alvey Outlines WyCo’s Efforts and Continued Momentum in Historic Year
 
In his third State of the Government Address David Alvey, Mayor/CEO of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County, Kansas City, KS, provided an overview of the past year and a half, where the community is now, and where it can get to. “Our community has shown time after time that it can overcome any challenge,” stated Mayor Alvey. “By working together with pride and resolve, we can achieve anything – working to ensure our community’s safety and well-being, maintaining our continued growth and development, and improving overall quality of life through initiatives that make our city more beautiful, prosperous, and sustainable.”
 
While working simultaneously to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, and pull the community together following the death of George Floyd to build trust, expand community outreach efforts, and review policing policies and procedures, Wyandotte County simultaneously experienced more than $1 billion in development growth in 2020 (the most since 1984), creating 10,000 new jobs and attracting a number of new local shopping and retail opportunities for residents.
 
Alvey highlighted the community’s exceptional efforts and leadership in combating the pandemic following Wyandotte County’s, and the state of Kansas’ first death from COVID-19 in March 2020. “We committed early on to empower public health officials to study this, to find out how it spreads, what could be done to stop it, and to work to protect the public health of all people in our community,” Alvey continued. Efforts included:
 
  • Initiating a State of Emergency, and soon after a Stay-at-Home Order.
  • Pulling together a collaborative of school leaders, social service providers, health officials, pastors, city administrators, public safety officials, and Mayors in Bonner Springs and Edwardsville that met daily for months to gather intelligence and make informed decisions on how to respond.
  • Launch of ReStart Wyco, a working group initiative of business leaders, owners, and workers to put in place best practices, help ensure minimal economic disruption, and to educate the community early on.
  • Creation of a Health Equity Task Force to ensure the COVID response takes into account unequal health outcomes, and to address the diverse needs of all populations – becoming a model for the state’s own COVID equity efforts.
 
He also acknowledged all those who have assisted in the response, “Special thanks to our healthcare workers, first responders, public works and public health officials, and everyone else who worked so selflessly and sacrificed so much, including their families, over the past 14 months,” stated Mayor Alvey.
 
In the same way Wyandotte County approached COVID with clear eyes and an open mind, so too was the community’s response to the death of George Floyd. Mayor Alvey immediately created a Task Force on Community and Police Relations, encouraged an evaluation and review of law enforcement policies and procedures, and community outreach and transparency efforts were expanded.
  • Task Force on Community and Police Relations – co-chaired by Commissioner Harold Johnson. Hosted eight community forums on issues from Use of Force Guidelines, Community Policing, Body Cameras, Minority Hiring, Complaint Processes, etc. Presented to the UG Commission for review, and shared multiple learnings. On-going.
  • Highlighted the importance of Community Policing to building trust, addressing misperceptions, and working with youth from a young age
  • Learned that officers are trained in conflict resolution, and de-escalation, and receive Crisis Intervention Training
  • Today every officer in the KCK Police Department now has body-worn cameras, working to protect residents and officers themselves
 
“Despite a number of challenges, Wyandotte County and Kansas City, KS achieved historic development in 2020, with nearly $1 billion in new investments, the most since 1984 and 25% of new investment across the entire state of Kansas,” stated Mayor Alvey. “This investment brings nearly 10,000 new job opportunities for our residents, broadens our tax base that funds the services our residents want and deserve, and creates more homeownership opportunities and wealth building for all.”The development include new retail and shopping, such as a new Aldi’s, a second Menard’s store, the Merc Co+op, as well as development projects like the new Urban Outfitter’s that will provide 2,000 new jobs, and which was just named one of the Top 10 of development projects nationwide in terms of Jobs Created for 2020.
 
In an effort to build sustainable neighborhoods, the community must also continue to attract new residents, including to traditional neighborhoods east of I-635.The Unified Government is working to reduce barriers to new construction, making acquisition of land bank properties easier such as waiving hookup fees for sewers, and strategies to streamline the building design and permitting process.“We enjoy an abundance of affordable and developable land, we celebrate a diversity of cultures, and we can boast of unmatched accessibility,” stated Alvey. “Median house values have increased, homes are being rehabbed at a record pace, and more and more people are looking for opportunities in our community.”
 
Providing access to lenders for families that need a bit more help to qualify for mortgages, and ensuring that what is built is energy efficient will provide savings and allow families to build wealth for themselves is also important. “All these simple moves working together can encourage new housing that is beautiful, more affordable, more sustainable, and will attract and retain residents who can be proud of their homes and neighborhoods, not just for this generation, but for generations to come.” As such, Alvey is proposing a target of adding 1,000 new units of housing east of I-635 in the next five years. “We have the momentum, we have the location, we have vibrant neighborhoods, and we have the land,” stated Mayor Alvey.
 
Mayor Alvey concluded his remarks talking about the past, and the future. “I believe our community has become
 
Media Contact:     Ashley Hand, Director, Strategic Communications
Unified Government
azhand@wycokck.org
d. 913-573-5544
m. 913-444-9722