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MERRIAM HIGHLIGHTS Published for Merriam Residents & Businesses

FALL 2012

City of Merriam Unveils New Website

SAVE THE DATE:

America’s Night Out Against Crime is scheduled for Aug. 7th The “29th Annual National Night OUT”

(NNO), a unique crime/drug prevention event sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch (NATW), has been scheduled for Tuesday, August 7, 2012. We cordially invite you to be a part of our NIGHT OUT 2012 team. Last year’s National Night Out campaign

After months of discussion and planning, the City of Merriam has unveiled a new website that city leaders say is both more attractive and more functional.

“We are very pleased with the site,” said Christy Playter, the city’s communications coordinator. “It includes a wealth of knowledge about city government and services, as well as The new website, www.merriam.org, offers our community. We hope that visitors find it an abundance of online services, a unique and engaging and easier to navigate.” vibrant design, and a new platform to engage its Playter says the City will continue to make citizens online. additions to the new site. New content and “We believe the new site highlights all that the additional features such as a Citizen Request city has to offer as a great place to live, work and Tracker, codes updates, and online program registration are under development and will play,” says City Administrator Phil Lammers. soon be added to the site. Features of the new site include: a dynamic layout with updated navigation; a “Community The redesign — the first for the site in seven Alerts Center”, “News Flash”, and “Notify Me” years — was completed by CivicPlus, an award sections designed to keep residents informed; winning developer of local government sites an up-to-date calendar of city events; photo based in Manhattan, Kansas. galleries; resident resources and community The new website was unveiled May 1st. information; and much, much more.

involved citizens, law enforcement agencies, civic groups, businesses, neighborhood organizations and local officials from over 15,000 communities from all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities and military bases worldwide. In all, over 36 million people participated in National Night Out 2011. National Night Out is designed to:

• • • •

Heighten crime and drug prevention awareness; Generate support for, and participation in, local anticrime programs; Strengthen neighborhood spirit and policecommunity partnerships; and Send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back

The Merriam Police Department will

be hosting its annual National Night Out “Open House” on August 7th from 6:00 to 9:00 PM. We will open our station (6190 Eby St.) for you to visit on your own schedule. We’ll have demonstrations set up

throughout the department. We will have a short crime information lecture at 7:30 PM followed by a “taser” demonstartion. For more information, visit

www.merriam.org, or call (913) 322-5560. CITY OF MERRIAM, KANSAS 6200 EBY STREET MERRIAM, KS 66202-2815

www.merriam.org | (913) 322-5500 | CityofMerriam@merriam.org

PRESORT STANDARD U.S. POSTAGE PAID PERMIT NO. 576 SHAWNEE MISSION, KS


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MERRIAM HIGHLIGHTS

Merriam Parks & Recreation fall events Build it…and they will come Over 200 classic cars, hot rods, street rods, antique cars and custom motorcycles will be on display at the Merriam Marketplace, 5740 Merriam Drive, and on along Merriam Drive from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. The Farmers Market that is normally held at the Marketplace will be relocated to the east parking lot of Irene B. French Community Center (5701 Merriam Drive) on September 8th and returns to Merriam Marketplace on September 15th. We hope that area sport teams will take advantage of the new “Julius McFarlin” practice fields at Waterfall Park. Waterfall Park is located at 5191 Merriam Drive. There are four fields available for rent starting August 1st. The four fields will have soccer goals available however other sport teams will be able to practice too. The East fields are recommended for teams ages U6/U8. The West fields are recommended for teams ages U10/U12 Teams can reserve one weekday practice Monday through Friday from 4:00 - 9:00 PM and/or one weekend practice 8:00 AM - 9:00 PM (on the hour). The fees are $5/hr for half a field or $10/hr for the full field (resident rate) or $6/hr for half a field or $12/hr for the full field (non-resident rate) Reservations must be made at least 7 days in advance. To reserve a practice field, call 913-322-5550.

Car show activities will include music by a D.J., door prizes, concessions, and demonstrations. A $4000 gift certificate will be given away as the grand prize drawing to one lucky registered entry. Registered entries will be judged for one of the over fifty awards to be presented at 3:00 PM. Show spectators are welcome, and there is no admission fee. Spectator parking will be limited in the downtown Merriam area. Parking is suggested at the following locations: Irene B. French Community Center, 5701 Merriam Drive, Merriam Christian Church, 9401 Johnson Drive, or IBT Corporation, 9400 W. 55th Street. For more information or to register your vehicle, call 322-5550 or visit www.merriam.org/park.

Halloween happenings -

The Julius McFarlin Fields are a permit to play only facility. For more information, call 322-5550 or visit www.merriam.org/park.

Dog days of summer -

Wednesday, October 24th, 6:00 - 8:00 PM

Trick or Treat. Join us for the biggest Halloween pre-party in Merriam. Bring your flashlight for the ever popular candy scramble. Your favorite furry friend deserves some pool time. Join us as Merriam Aquatic Center “goes to the dogs,” and bring your favorite pooch for a dip in the pool!

We’ll play “Pin the Nose on the Witch”, “goblin golf”, “pumpkin toss” and more. Don’t forget the costume contest.

The aquatic center closes for the season on Labor Day, but will open to man’s best friend for the City’s annual Pooch Paddle on Tuesday, September 4th from 5:45-8:00 PM.

Mom & Son Shenanigans -

For more information call 322-5550 or visit www.merriam.org/park.

This special open swim for dogs will sure be a “treat” for you and your special pet. Doggy teats, prizes and toys will be available. Sorry owners...no swimming for you, just your dogs! Dogs must be on a leash until they are in the water. Dogs need to be current on all their shots and be very sociable. Just $7 per pet. Pre-registration is required for all pets. For more information or to register call 322-5550 or visit www.merriam.org/park.

Merriam Turkey Creek Car & Motorcycle Show -

Mom’s make everything better but boys are better at games and contests. Join us for our annual mom & son outing at the Irene B. French Community Center from 5:30 to 7:30 PM on November 10th. Our night of fun will include wii bowling, free throw shooting, diaper relays and other goofy contests/ games and a fun photo to take home. Recommended for ages 5 and up; $25 per couple, $10 for each additional son; deadline to register is Wednesday, November 7th. For more information or to register, call 322-5550.

Start your engines, the 12th annual Turkey Creek Car and Motorcycle Show rolls into Merriam on Saturday, September 8th.

A complete list of upcoming events can be found on the City’s website www.merriam.org/park.


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FALL 2012

A Message from Mayor Sissom Greetings, I hope you have enjoyed the warm summer weather. It has been a season of new construction, with businesses being built at both Merriam Point and Merriam Village. This has caused a lot of excitement and the plans for future construction in Merriam continues to look very promising. If you have driven around, you could not help but notice how beautiful our city is, with many home and business owners’ planting flowers and keeping their properties looking great. I am sure you have noticed the colorful flower baskets hanging on the street lights; they line portions of Merriam Drive, Johnson Drive and around City Hall. The flowers have prompted numerous positive comments from residents and visitors. They would not have been possible without the skill and professional guidance of our long-time Public Works Director, Randy Carroll. No one does flower baskets (and snow removal) as well anywhere in the Kansas City area.

Our center is also regionally well known for its art shows and receptions that are scheduled throughout the year. And we can’t forget about our Merriam Aquatic Center and all the city parks that have been under her supervision. Susan and her staff also organized the farmer’s market and the many city festivals and car shows. Her dedication and professionalism has gone a long way to improving the lives of many Merriam residents and visitors. Susan, job well done, you will be greatly missed! One final note – Director Hayden could not have been as successful without help in planning and directing some of the Parks and Recreation Department efforts. That help came from resident volunteers and the Parks and Recreation Board. This group of citizens met monthly to provide guidance and support to Susan as she managed the various park and recreation issues. It is crucial that a city get citizen input and involvement in order to be successful. Merriam is very lucky to have dedicated unpaid volunteers that participate in the Merriam Planning Commission, Park and Recreation Board, Board of Zoning Appeals and the Board of Structural Appeals. These important Boards and Commissions are critical as they provide citizen oversight and fairness through due process. Thanks go to all those who volunteer their valuable time to help our community.

Yes, we are fortunate to have so many talented people working for the City of Merriam. Unfortunately, we are going to be losing one of our most talented department heads. Park and Recreation Director Susan Hayden, will be retiring this fall. Susan Hayden was hired in 1990 as Merriam’s first Park and Recreation Director. At that time, Merriam had just acquired the Merriam Community Center property. Susan came to us from Topeka and over the years she built our Park and Recreation Department from the ground up. Since then, she has done a fantastic job to make sure the Irene B. French Community Center has been fully functional and a great resource for As your Mayor, I hope you have a wonderful fall our citizens. Susan made sure the services and season. Don’t hesitate to call me if you have any programs were top notch, offering everything from questions or concerns. health and fitness, to driver’s education for seniors.

2013 Budget & Your Mill Levy Merriam’s City Council has agreed to hold the 2013 mill levy (approximately 27.412), meaning residents will see little or no increase to their personal property taxes next year.

maintenance, community center classes, a beautiful neighborhood swimming pool and farmers’ market. General Fund operating expenditures for 2013 are budgeted at $12.1 million including $7.9 million for Currently, city property taxes on a home valued police, fire and public works. at $150,000 costs the homeowner $473 per year. Local Economy and Outlook – Merriam’s location With the Council’s direction, the city will continue along the highly visible I-35 corridor contributes to to provide high service levels to its residents on solid retail sales. Merriam businesses have averaged approximately the same mill levy as in 2009. $505 million in annual sales over the last 5 years. Your Tax Dollars at Work – Capital improvement City sales taxes rose by 6% in 2011, the first increase projects scheduled for next year include Shawnee since 2008. City sales tax collections in 2013 are Creek drainage improvements, Shawnee Mission projected to rise due to the addition of three new auto dealerships in Merriam. Parkway median replacements, and engineering work for the Johnson Drive bridge over Turkey Creek. Construction activity in Merriam was strong in 2011 Capital Improvement Fund project expenditures with building permits issued for commercial and for 2013 are budgeted at $7.5 million. The City residential property valued over $43 million. Upon successfully obtained $3.1 million in federal and completion, these properties will enhance our tax local grants, reducing our 2013 costs and allowing us base. to stretch City dollars. For more details on the City’s 2013 Budget, see the For less than the cost of monthly cable service, our Budget Summary at www.merriam.org/finance. residents receive high-quality City services such as police and fire protection, snow removal, street

If it’s on the ground, it’s in our water During a rainfall, water runs across rooftops, down streets and across parking lots and yards, picking up substances along the way. This stormwater “runoff” often contains materials like chemical fertilizer, pet waste, litter, automotive fluids and yard waste such as leaves and grass clippings. Runoff then washes down storm drains, eventually reaching local rivers and streams where it can pose significant risks to people and wildlife. Water that enters storm drains is not cleaned at wastewater treatment plants before it flows directly into streams, rivers and lakes. While storm drains were designed to divert water from streets, they can transport harmful substances from lawns and streets. Chemicals and bacteria from materials like fertilizer and pet waste are directly deposited into our region’s water, causing pollution and endangering public health. Many residents don’t realize how their everyday habits impact our region’s water quality. Even small amounts of pollution can add up to big problems when it comes from an area the size of the Kansas City region. You can take steps to help protect the health of our neighborhoods and our environment. Remember: if it’s on the ground, it’s in our water. What can you do to help? There are several simple actions you can take that can save time, resources and money — all while protecting the health of residents, communities and the environment. • Pick up after your pet. Pet waste is not a fertilizer – it contains harmful bacteria. Carry disposable bags while walking your dog to pick up and dispose of waste properly. • Use lawn chemicals sparingly. Chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides can contain ingredients harmful to human health and the environment. • Landscape with native plants and rain gardens. Native plants eliminate or reduce the need for mowing, fertilizing or using pesticides. Rain gardens catch stormwater, meaning less water runs off lawns into our storm sewers. • Keep waste out of storm drains. Never discard trash or yard waste down storm drains or in the street. For more information or ways to help, visit www.marc.org/Environment/Water.


MERRIAM HIGHLIGHTS - FALL 2012

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Survey reveals Merriam among the very best in nation for citizen satisfaction The results of Merriam’s most recent citizen survey were recently presented to the City Council. Merriam’s ratings surpassed national perceptions in 21 of 24 areas. The City of Merriam also scored higher than average in 30 of 32 areas of service delivery compared to other communities in the Kansas City area.

of city services,” said City Administrator Phil Lammers. “This kind of regular feedback is vital for continual improvement.”

“Merriam has done an excellent job of providing services to its residents,” said Karen Falk, vice president, ETC Institute, which conducted the survey. “In a time where the economy has required many communities to cut funding for city services, Merriam has been able to maintain services and raise citizen satisfaction levels. Compared to communities its size, Merriam rated significantly above average in all service areas.”

• Overall perception of Merriam. Most of the residents surveyed who had and opinion were satisfied with the overall quality of City services (89%), the quality of life in the City (85%), the overall value received for City tax dollars and fees (71%) and the maintenance and preservation of downtown Merriam (64%). The value received for City tax dollars and fees, was considerably higher than the national average and the Kansas City Metro average.

Merriam contracted with ETC Institute, Olathe, which uses its DirectionFinder® product to conduct citywide surveys of residents in metropolitan Kansas City and across the nation. According to ETC, it surveys over 300 cities of various sizes across the nation. Merriam conducted its first DirectionFinder® survey in 2006. The City uses these surveys to assess citizen satisfaction with the delivery of major city services and to help determine priorities for the community as part of the City’s on-going planning process. “Asking our residents how we are doing gives us essential information to help us measure our effectiveness, responsiveness, and the quality

A total of 590 residents completed the survey, exceeding the goal of 400 surveys returned, and yielding a 96% confidence level. Some of the major findings include:

• Public Safety. The highest levels of satisfaction with public safety services based on the combined percentage of “very satisfied” and “satisfied” responses among residents who had an opinion were: the quality of local police protection (90%), the quality of local fire protection (88%), and how quickly the public safety personnel respond to emergencies (87%). Among the public safety issues that were assessed, there were seven significant increases and no significant decreases since 2006. • Parks and Recreation. The highest levels of satisfaction with parks and recreation services,

based on the combined percentage of “very satisfied” and “satisfied” among residents who had an opinion were: the maintenance of city parks (91%), the number of city parks (84%), and the Farmers Market at Merriam Marketplace (80%). Among the parks and recreation issues that were assessed, there were two significant increases: (1) Farmers Market at Merriam Marketplace, (2) the adult recreation programs. There were no significant decreases. • City Maintenance. The highest levels of satisfaction with City maintenance services based on the combined percentage of “very satisfied” and “satisfied” responses among residents who had an opinion were: snow removal on City streets (93%), the maintenance of major City streets (81%), and maintenance of City buildings (89%). Among the maintenance issues that were assessed, there were nine significant increases and no significant decreases. The survey revealed that quality of the City’s customer service increased significantly in three of four areas assessed. Areas of greatest satisfaction with residents include the quality of police and fire protection; the maintenance of city parks; and snow removal on major city streets. Areas of least satisfaction included enforcing maintenance of rental and residential properties. Results of the survey can be found on the City’s website, www.merriam.org.

Merriam 2012 Hotel Crawl Come one, come all to the Hotel Crawl! It’s been five years since our last tour of Merriam’s lodging properties, so it’s time to showcase our visitor amenities in 2012. We invite you to join the Merriam Visitors Bureau as we shuttle around the City to take a look at our five hotel properties, tour the City’s community center, eat, drink and win fabulous prizes. Thursday, October 11, 2012, 4:30 PM Park and meet at the Community Center, 5701 Merriam Drive.

Trolley stops will take place at the following locations: Drury Inn / Homestead / Comfort/ Quality and Hampton. Who should attend? Everyone of course— residents, visitors, meeting planners and even zombies. If you are hosting guests and need a place for them to stay, this is the perfect preview of Merriam’s accommodations. Walking down the aisle soon and searching for a spot to host your rehearsal dinner or house

your incoming friends and family? The Hotel Crawl should be on your list. Maybe your company hosts traveling associates and you’re looking for a business-friendly hotel for employee room nights. If so, hop on the tour to check out Merriam’s corporate lodging options. Call the Merriam Visitors Bureau at 403-8999 to RSVP to this event. We hope to see you in October!

SAVE THE DATE: Merriam’s fall clean-up scheduled for October 15 - 19 Twice a year, the City of Merriam conducts a large item clean-up campaign for the residents of Merriam. The Merriam Public Works Department is responsible for this campaign, which occurs annually during the third full week of April and October. The City’s fall clean-up campaign will occur October 15-19, 2012. There are some restrictions on the materials the City will accept. For a schedule of the City’s fall clean-up, visit our website, www.merriam.org. Seniors that require assistance or residents with questions regarding the large-item pick up, call 913-322-5570 or e-mail PublicWorks@merriam.org.


Merriam Highlights - Fall 2012