The Overland Park City Council approved two major road projects this week.
The council on Monday entered into agreements with the county and neighboring cities for significant street enhancements.
It approved an agreement with Johnson County for the public improvement of 159th Street from Metcalf to Nall, for the estimated cost of $8.9 million. Johnson County Assistance Road System (CARS) funding will pay for up to $2.7 million, federal funding will pay for up to $3.5 million and Overland Park will pay the remaining $2.7 million.
The council also approved an agreement with the cities of Merriam and Shawnee for the public improvement of 75th Street, from Switzer to East Frontage Road for an estimated cost of $4.8 million. CARS funding will pay for up to $2.1 million, Merriam will pay for $1.4 million, Shawnee will pay $81,441, and Overland Park will pay $1.2 million.
The council also held a public hearing regarding the upcoming 2014 budget. Only one resident, Mike Bensman, gave his two cents. He asked the council to consider increasing the salary, benefits and resources for the Overland Park public safety and public works employees.
He said he was impressed with both departments, especially the way the police handled the recent shootings at the Jewish Community Center and Village Shalom. Bensman told the council he understood that the recession forced those departments to run on limited resources and funding for the past several years, but he hoped the council could find a way to increase funding for them, even if it meant raising property taxes.
The city council will hold one more public hearing on the budget at its meeting Aug. 4 and tentatively approve it on Aug. 18. Residents should expect detailed information about the budget on the city’s website in June, said Gena McDonald, the city’s deputy chief financial officer.