Last Published: 11/1/2007 12:31:52 PM
Upon Roll Call the following members were present:
Excused:1 - BILL SKAGGS
 The Committee will take testimony from Department Representatives regarding legislative priorities for the upcoming 2006 Federal and State Legislative Sessions. Testimony was given by the Neighborhood and Community Services Department, the Kansas City Police Department - Employee Retirement Division and the Health Department. Mike Schumacher, Manager of Animal Control and David Park, Assistant Director of Neighborhood and Community Services made the presentation before the committee. Mike Schumacher talked about getting a fee increase of $2.00 through Municipal Court to help pay for training and defray expenses related to capital improvements. He went into detail about a proposed program geared towards veterinarians supplying information about pet owners who have purchased licenses.(A handout is on file in the Office of the City Clerk.) Councilwoman Cooper stated that the proposal was a deviation from state policy. There was no real connection with state policy. It would be very difficult to do what was being proposed because of opposition to the program. It had been proposed in the past and it didn't pass but they would take the request into consideration. Councilwoman McFadden-Weaver asked for clarification on licensing. She asked if the $2.00 fee would be imposed on anyone purchasing a pet license. Mr. Schumacher said that the $2.00 would come from the Municipal Court fines assessed to every offense. Councilwoman Becky Nace spoke in favor of the proposed licensing fee and asked that everyone (council members, civic leaders, neighborhood associations, etc.) work together to pursue getting the legislation passed. David Park explained the other legislative items to the committee. He talked about being able to file civil processes against an individual who had been taken to court for property violations but did not respond to the determination of the court. This would be another option available to the department in trying to get violators to correct code violations to their property. He felt that this would be a good tool to use against absentee property owners. Jim Pyle, Kansas City Police Department -Employees Retirement Division, talked about two items that were of importance for this upcoming session. The Military Leave legislation was introduced last year but did not make it through the legislature before the end of the session. It had been approved by both the House and Senate but ended up on the consent docket on the last day of the session. It got caught up in paperwork. The legislation allows an employee the right to return to his/her job with accumulated seniority if all the rules and regulations prescribed by the bill is followed during the time of an military emergency. Greg Mills was also on hand to answer questions from the committee. The other item was equalizing supplemental benefits. This was introduced to the State Legislature a few years ago and passed. This allowed the Police Department to adjust retirement benefits of previously retired individuals so that they would be in line with current retiree benefits. This would be based on assets associated with the Police Departments Retirement Trust Fund. There would be no tax increase or cost to the City of Kansas City, Mo involved in this adjustment. There was a brief discussion on beneficiaries for single officers that die while still on the police force. (Handouts are on file in the Office of the City Clerk.) Councilwoman Cooper suggested that Mr. Pyle talk with Councilman Skaggs at a later date regarding this item. Dr. Rex Archer, Director of the Kansas City Health Department and Kathy Davis, Co-Chair of the Health Commission spoke before the committee on four items, one state and three federal issues. State Funding for Core Public Health Services has to do with making sure that the division of money available for public health is equitable. The division of funds should be more proportionate in smaller, rural areas as well as in large cities across the state. The goal is get a more proportionate allocation from the state this session. Federal Public Health Emergencies and Threats has been funded for several years and the department would like to see this continue at a higher amount of funding, if possible. The reality of Hurricane Katrina had the emergency preparedness agencies in the metropolitan area rethinking what would happen in case of a catastrophic event. Although there had been great improvement in what the area has been trained to do the event in the gulf coast area has shown officials how lacking training has been. Dr. Archer stated that he could only try to imagine what would happen in the metro area if any type of catastrophic event were to take place. And no matter what types of situations arise communication is a major key factor in making sure things run smoothly. Additional funding is needed to address the communication issue in the metro area. Dr. Archer also talked about this various illnesses and potential diseases coming from the gulf coast region being carried in by evacuees. Councilwoman Cooper asked if area pharmacies and hospitals could rise to the forefront if a major event were to happen in the Kansas City area. Would that be handled by Emergency Preparedness? Councilman Glover suggested looking at what happened in the gulf coast area and see what can be learned from those experiences. Dr. Archer said he would work on concerns expressed by the committee and come back at a future time with information. Vaccine Access and Supply Act dealt with making sure that adults received vaccines as well as children. Most legislation has been geared towards children but this legislation would address the needs of adults as well. Universal Influenza Vaccination would allow for 90% of the nations population to be immunized. He was asking for support of this item from the full council on this matter. Dr. Archer talked about future potential outbreaks of the Bird Flu and the nations inability to handle such an outbreak. The additional funding would allow the city to purchase and administer vaccines to citizens of Kansas City, Mo. Dr. Archer stated that a potentially dangerous outbreak could result in a pandemic worst that what was seen during the 1917-1918 flu epidemic.