An 11-member committee of citizens has been appointed to study the current sales tax structure for Platte County.
The first meeting on Monday night, which was a prelimary setting of the committee’s purposes and processes. It featured a presentation by Bob Shaw, county counselor, on the committee’s responsibility to operate under the Sunshine Law, the state’s open meetings and records law.
Committee members will meet again on Oct. 28 at the Platte County Resource Center at 6 p.m. All meetings are open to the public.
The Platte County Commission had previously announced that Sandra Thomas, former auditor for the county, would chair the committee the commissioners were putting together.
Other committee members were officially appointed last week during the county commission meeting. Members of the committee in addition to Thomas are: Shane Bartee, Gordon Cook, Rick Easley, Gina James, Dave Ketchmark, Jim Kunce, Jim McCall, Wes Minder, Angie Mutti, and Aaron Schmidt.
County commissioners said the purpose of Platte County Sales Tax Structure Advisory Committee will be to make a tax structure recommendation concerning dedicated funding for long term predictable financial stability that prioritizes law enforcement operations and supports parks and stormwater operations and maintenance.
The study comes in advance of the county’s current half cent sales tax for parks set to expire in December of 2020. The current county commission has long expressed a desire to restructure the tax to designate a portion of that half cent to go toward law enforcement operations.
Current commissioners have said they would prefer the parks department go into more of a maintenance mode rather than building additional major amenities. “We have been talking about restructuring the sales tax since 2016 or earlier than that. This is finally an opportunity to do that,” said Dagmar Wood, first district commissioner, at last week’s commission meeting.
She said the committee will also look at the needs of the prosecutor and the court system.
“We’re going to let them take the lead on this,” Wood said.
Ron Schieber, presiding commissioner, said the committee “will have the flexibility to look at a 10-year parks plan, a 10-year law enforcement plan, a 10-year prosecutor plan and our courts and recommend a funding source that would be the structure over the next 10 years. If that happens to include something for a park or whatever then they can put that in their recommendation. If you look at the 10-year budget on parks and stormwater there is a certain amount of money for undetermined capital projects.”
Schieber’s comment was made in regard to questioning from David Park, a county resident who has announced as a candidate in 2020 for the second district commissioner seat held by John Elliott.
Park wanted to know if the committee, in theory, could identify and recommend any specific capital projects to be funded in the next 10 years. Park has been clear in his support for continuing to expand the county parks system.
Park said at the county’s current rate of population growth, it’s possible the county will have 20,000 more residents in the next 10 years, and he said this would create increased use for the county’s parks and recreation facilities that he said are already overcrowded.
“There is a wide range of experience on this committee. We are excited to get their input,” Schieber said.
Possible dates for an election sales tax questions in 2020 are April, August and November, Schieber said. He said the county commission has not made a decision on what ballot to place the sales tax question(s).
“We don’t want to rush them. This is extremely important work that they’re doing,” Wood remarked.
MORE ON THE COMMITTEE MEMBERS
In a press release distributed late last week, county commissioners offered more information about each of the tax committee members as follows:
The eleven-member advisory committee consists of a diverse array of Platte County citizens chaired by former Platte County Auditor Sandra Thomas, CPA. Thomas served as county auditor from 1995 until 2006. Thomas and her husband, James, have lived in Platte County since 1991 and have two grown daughters.
Shane Bartee and his wife Susanna, a real estate broker, have lived in Platte County for just over 10 years and have six children. Shane spent 21 years on active duty with the U.S. Army as a helicopter pilot and JAG attorney. He is a practicing attorney in Weston and currently serves on the Board of Education for the West Platte School District.
Gordon Cook is an accountant and consultant and works primarily with privately held entities. Cook provided substantial support to the 2014 Jail Committee. He has lived in Platte County since 1994.
Rick Easley retired from the Kansas City Police Department as the chief of police in 2004 and later from the Kansas City Metropolitan Crime Commission in 2015. He is a graduate of Park University with a masters degree in public affairs. Rick and his wife, Lema, have been residents of Platte County since 1983 and have four grown children and two grandchildren with two on the way. Rick serves as a board member on the Kansas City Metropolitan Crime Commission’s Crime Stoppers Program and the Surviving Spouse and Family Endowment Program.
Gina James, CPA, CGMA, owner of a local accounting firm, has over 25 years of accounting experience and graduated magna cum laude from Park University.
James volunteers as a Park Hill Partner for the Park Hill School District. She and her husband, Craig, are raising two children and have lived in Platte County since 1984.
David Ketchmark, attorney, and his wife, Roseann, have lived in Platte County for 24 years and have three children. Ketchmark was a Platte County assistant prosecutor for seven years. He and his wife are avid hikers.
Platte County Parks Board Chairman Jim Kunce, and his wife, LeAnn, live in Weston and are 16-year residents of Platte County with one grown child. Before joining the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Kunce served as the first assistant director for Platte County Parks for 13 years. He has a degree in park operations from the University of Missouri, Columbia and has worked professionally in the parks and recreation industry for 35 years.
Jim McCall, is a lifelong resident of Platte County and owner and representative of a local financial and insurance firm. McCall has served on the board for the Parkville YMCA for four years and is helping to build a new veteran’s memorial in Parkville. He and his wife, Pie, have four grown children.
Chief Innovation Engineer Wes Minder, PE serves as the mayor and city council’s consulting engineer with a specialization in financing capital improvements and securing grants to leverage local dollars for the City of Kansas City. He and his wife, Jody, have been Platte County residents since 1998 and enjoy walking and biking Platte County’s trail system with their seven active children.
Angie Morrison-Mutti has served as the executive director for the Platte City Area Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Council for six years. She has called the Northland home for 17 years and Platte County home for 13 years.
Before joining the Chamber, Morrison-Mutti served on the opening team of the Platte County Community Center North (YMCA) and joined the Platte County Community Center South team in 2008. She enjoys spending free time with her family at the county’s parks, trails, sports fields and the various festivals.
Aaron Schmidt, and his wife Angi, have lived in Platte County for 20 years and have two children. He is the former Platte County Director of Planning and Zoning and is currently the Vice President of Development and Construction at Hunt Midwest Real Estate Development. Aaron has also been actively involved in the leadership and executive committee of the Platte County Economic Development Council.
Chairman Sandra Thomas said, “I am looking forward to the opportunity to work with this group of citizens to provide a recommendation on tax funding. I believe we have the best individuals to take on this task.”