Dear friend of Platte County!
Over my first year as your Platte County Commissioner, I am extremely grateful that so many citizens have continued to serve (or have stepped up to serve) our community on boards. Their time, willingness, and leadership are essential and I am thankful that they have each lent our community their expertise. Here are some commission highlights over the past 14 months.
Shiloh Springs Golf Course Sale:
After months of negotiations, your commission signed a contract to sell the County-owned Shiloh Springs Golf Course to Great Life KC last week. Selling Shiloh is a philosophical decision as much as it is a financial one. I strongly believe that it is not your government’s role to spend taxpayers’ dollars to compete in a private industry like golf. Great Life is committed to continuing to keep Shiloh’s doors open to golfers for the long-term and has demonstrated the ability to do so. With the substantial investment that Great Life has committed to put into Shiloh, it’s a win for golfers, a win for Great Life and a win for taxpayers.
Reducing our financial liabilities, increasing our efficiency and reserves and planning for long-term needs are our financial priorities. We have stepped up these efforts within the Parks Department as well as within Information Services, our commission offices, Human Resources, Planning and Zoning, Public Works, the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and within our own facilities.
After our healthcare broker passed along a 20% expense increase the year before we took office, and then proposed a 29% increase for this year, we made an 11th-hour move to a new proactive and innovate healthcare broker to assist us in keeping our healthcare expenses in check. We are expecting at least a six-figure annual savings from this increase in expenses. (Sounds a bit like Federal government accounting??) We are taking a proactive approach to stop this out-of-control healthcare crazy train.
Transparency & Accessibility:
Increases in transparency and accessibility for taxpayers were seen by providing administrative session links to all documents being considered with the online agenda and posting the audio free after the sessions, as well. Thankfully, Nancy Armstrong, County Clerk along with her staff, managed to make these changes without increasing expenses. You can find session material here.
Zona Rosa Bonds:
A decade ago, two of three past county commissioners decided to make all Platte County taxpayers the backstop to debt for the completion of Zona Rosa’s second phase. The additional 1% sales tax at Zona was to pay off these infrastructure bonds. When this sales tax revenue came up short, the Zona Rosa owners had always made up the shortfall, until last December. Because it appears they will no longer fund any shortfalls, the County may be on the hook for between $17 - 40 million over the next 15 years. Your commission is aggressively working on identifying a sustainable long-term solution. We are also working on an ordinance that would require Platte County voters to first approve this type of risky funding in the future. Protecting taxpayers‘ hard-earned money is Job 1.
On the Horizon...
We continue to work on long-range tax policy issues to better position the County for the future. You may also see some new ordinances being considered this year regarding ethics reform and finances that improve transparency and accountability. Anywhere you think we could improve, please let me know. I am open to your suggestions.
Please feel free to join us at one of our Friday coffees, which are open for anyone to attend and bend our ears. The times and places are posted on the Commission Calendar here.
Honored to serve you,
Platte County, Missouri
Commissioner, 1st District