Olathe & Southwest Joco

Gardner to brief residents Oct. 15 on ‘smart’ utility meters

Jennifer Lambert
Jennifer Lambert

‘Smart’ utility meters

Gardner plans to invest in “smart” utility meters that will automatically record power and water usage at homes and businesses before sending that information directly to the city for monitoring and billing.

Residents and others are encouraged to attend an informational meeting on Oct. 15 to learn about the new system and ask questions. The session will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the new Gardner Justice Center, 16540 N. Moonlight Road.

The city hopes to have the meters installed for its nearly 9,000 customers before winter next year.

“The majority of residential water meters are more than 15 years old and in need of replacement,” the city said on its website. “Because of aging infrastructure, in 2018, there was a 13% unaccounted water loss, which equates to approximately $798,000 in lost revenues.”

To obtain more reliable data on water consumption, city officials decided to replace the old equipment with smart meters, and it made sense to use smart meters for electricity, too.

Officials say the new system, along with other technology, will allow residents to track their utility usage in real time and better control their consumption.

“Combined with customer technologies, such as in-home displays and programmable communicating thermostats, (the system) also enables utilities to offer new time-based rate programs and incentives that encourage customers to reduce peak demand and manage energy consumption and costs,” staffers said in a memo to the City Council.

The meters also will allow the city to:

Remotely measure electricity and water use and reduce billing costs.

Connect and disconnect electric service remotely and more quickly.

Detect tampering.

Fix outages sooner.

Monitor voltage and water pressure in real time.

In mid-September, the City Council postponed the purchase of the smart meters until after Oct. 15 meeting. After seeking proposals and receiving six responses, the staff has proposed buying the meters and related equipment from Nexgrid, at cost of no more than $4 million. Officials say the expenditure won’t raise utility rates for its more than 8,800 electric and roughly 7,600 water customers.

For more information regarding smart meters, visit www.gardnerkansas.gov/smartmeters.

Motor vehicle/treasurer offices closed Oct. 14

The Johnson County Treasurer and Motor Vehicle offices will be closed to the public on Oct. 14 for staff training.

The affected locations are the Mission Motor Vehicle Office at 6000 Lamar Ave., the Olathe Motor Vehicle Office at 782 N. Ridgeview Road and the treasurer’s office at 111 S. Cherry St. in Olathe.

People can still go online that day to pay their property taxes or renew license tags. The offices will resume normal hours on Oct. 15.

Olathe School District identifies the way forward

The Olathe Board of Education this month approved a strategic plan that sets the school district’s general direction for the next five years.

“We are excited for the direction the strategic plan provides us,” Superintendent John Allison said in a news release. “It aligns so well with who we are as a system and the goals I know we all have for our students and for our work. “This plan outlines four goals and core values that not only drive our work and help each of us as we make important decisions and choices each day, but they are a reflection of who we are as a school system.”

The plan, covering the years 2019 to 2024, outlines six core values of integrity, vision, accountability, resilience, innovation and inclusivity. The four strategic goals are:

High academic expectations for all: Every student will be challenged and supported through tiers of instruction by all staff to achieve a high standard of academic performance and growth.

Behavior and social-emotional development for all: Every student will benefit from an educational experience that fosters their behavioral, social and emotional development.

Human capital: The district will attract, develop, engage and retain high-quality talent.

Effective systems and prioritized resources: All systems and resources will be aligned based on organizational data to achieve strategic initiatives.

Although it was approved Oct. 3, the strategic plan began with the development of the Portrait of a Graduate during the 2018-19 school year. That portrait said Olathe graduates should have these competencies: critical thinking and problem solving; resilience and social and emotional well-being; creativity and innovation; communication; initiative and self-direction; and social and cross-cultural skills.

More information about the plan is posted at olatheschools.org/strategicplan.

Downtown library closed Oct. 14 in Olathe

The Olathe Downtown Library will be closed on Oct. 14 so the staff can prepare for the grand opening of the new Indian Creek Library at 135th Street and Brougham Drive, on Oct. 19.

The Downtown location, at 201 E. Park St., will reopen on Oct. 15.

Olathe resident named to university advisory board

Olathe resident Jennifer Lambert has been appointed to the 12-member advisory board for WGU Missouri, an online university created that offers more than 50 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to people across Missouri.

The private, non-profit school was created by the state to work along with its parent institution, Western Governors University. It charges a flat tuition of about $7,000 yearly for most programs.

The university described Lambert as an IT expert who has worked with Cerner Corporation for nearly 10 years. She has been the company’s vice-president of population health operations for four years.

Gardner Edgerton invites senior citizens to lunch at school

The Gardner Edgerton School District invites older adults in the community to its annual senior citizen luncheon at 1 p.m. Oct. 23 in the Gardner Edgerton High School Commons.

Anyone who wishes to attend should call 913-856-2668 by 5 p.m. Oct. 15 to make reservation.

At the luncheon, community members can talk with district administrators and listen to performances from the school’s fine arts department.