Mayor thanks residents in State of City
In his State of the City address at the Mayor’s Banquet Aug. 23, Mayor Clausie Smith outlined the city’s successes during his 10-year tenure, but did not take the credit.
“The credit goes to you, the residents of Bonner Springs, and your strong support of our community,” he said.
The mayor discussed both advancements in the city over the last 10 years and from the most recent year, as it weathered the recent economic downturn and
Smith noted that the city’s population has increased by more than 400 during his tenure, while its property tax levy has decreased 25 percent from 39.027 mills to 30.578 mills.
“We are weathering tough financial times and we haven’t discontinued any services or laid off any employees,” he said. “Bonner Springs has a great city staff that is hardworking and dedicated.”
Smith recognized the city’s volunteer fire department, which has responded to 168 calls this year, and the EMS staff, which has responded to 857 calls in the last year. He also thanked the police department.
“We continue to be a safe city to live in,” Smith said. “Thanks to our hardworking police department and Chief John Haley, we area town where people can go for walks and visit the parks without fear.”
The city has seen 365 new single family homes built in the past decade, and though home-building all but came to a standstill in recent years, Smith said 16 permits for new homes have been issued this year, already more than last year’s total.
He noted economic development advancements, such as the city’s second Community Improvement District that, if approved, will continue improvements at the southwest corner of Kansas Avenue and Kansas Highway 7.
Smith also discussed improvements to the city’s infrastructure, with major street projects like Kump Avenue and Front Street completed in the last few years and more to come. Parks and recreation improvements have continued, he said, and one upcoming project will be extending the walking trail to South Park.
The city also is upgrading its water and wastewater utility systems, repairing wells, voting to drill a new, replacement well and purchasing new machinery.
The city’s tourist attractions continue to bring visitors in — about 400,000 last year between Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre, the National Agricultural Center and Hall of Fame, the Renaissance Festival and The Moon Marble Co.
Smith also recognized the city’s volunteers, such as the Bonner Beautiful Commission, which he said has planted 1,709 trees since its creation in 1986.
He called on residents to continue to support their city this fall at the voting booth, when the city will ask for a continuation of its quarter-cent emergency services sales tax, which expires next year.