Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The smartest city in JOCO

The Leawood City Council had a work session Monday night as reported in the Kansas City Star Neighborhood section by Jennifer Bhargava. She does a nice little bit of reporting and is a good reason why the paper still matters. This Jennifer on the right. I love living in the smartest city in JOCO.

Historically, they have made some really great moves like controlling the state line all the way to just past 151st street but it really is those kinds of things along with the little things that make them so smart.

These little things are things most citizens don't pay much attention to until there is a huge crisis. These little things are things like the financial conservatism that will lead them to in all likelihood change their 5 year CIP plan in favor of a more elongated timeline due to the economic uncertainty.

If you haven't noticed already many cities in America, including most in Johnson County (are you listening Olathe?) have a huge financial shortfall to deal with coming right at them and they aren't prepared or equipped to handle it. Leawood is in good shape.

Simply put, they have infrastructure projects planned out for the next 5 years, like widening 143rd street, that will require spending and additional tax debt for residents. These projects are needed but by slowing them down and moving them further out, if they approve the recommendation and I'm sure they will, they will lessen the risk of the city if the economic downturn continues or deepens. Some might call it deferred maintenance, I'd call it waiting to remodel your kitchen until times are a little better.

Jennifer Bhargava said in her first line that "Even Leawood is no match for the economy." I think that is "glass half empty" thinking and I disagree completely. Little Leawood is outsmarting everyone again by showing financial restraint that others likely haven't and won't and it all goes back to not over-committing in the first place. Leawood is slowing down things they want to do while other cities are cutting things they really need: people, programs, services. This little sideline story in the neighborhood section won't be noticed by many but trust me when I tell you this is some fine work by local government.

While it was only a work session I can't see the council not embracing these recommendations. I want to encourage them in this effort. Hooray for Leawood. Smartest City in JOCO.


Kansas Sity Sinic said...

I live in Leawood, so, doy.

I Travel for JOOLS said...

Our little JoCo burg is doing well too although we have a major new water plant to fund somehow and it can't be delayed as the old one is falling apart. I hope they apply for some stimulus money (even though I hate the whole idea of this stimulus debt) but we may as well get our piece of the action if we can.

What Leawood is doing is what the whole country should have been doing and what all citizens should have been doing. It's simple. You don't live above your means! Unfortunately it appears most of the country doesn't understand that concept and is dragging the rest of us down with them.