Frequently Asked Questions
You may have read articles or received inaccurate information from Mike's opponent with false or misleading claims regarding Mike's record and the actions of the current Shawnee City Council. In response, Mike along with his Ward 2 colleague Eric Jenkins, has put together the following answers to common question Shawnee residents are currently asking:
Recently, I've read articles about city staff leaving. Can you explain your perspective?
First of all, it would be inappropriate for any council member to comment on the reasons of any individual staff member chose to leave. However, I can comment more broadly on the narrative planted in the Shawnee Mission Post by political opponents to the majority of the current council.
We always appreciate anyone who serves or has served our great city. However, your city government belongs to the people.
Prior to 2019, the vast majority of the city council was a rubber stamp for whatever city staff recommended - be it property tax increases, reckless spending, road projects the people did not want, large-scale apartment complexes, or massive corporate welfare schemes. One great example was the 2019 property tax increase to fund a community center, which was rejected by 72% of Shawnee residents. Backed by 6 of the 8 council members at the time (Mike and I dissenting), the staff said residents supported the proposal - they ultimately clearly did not!
Over the course of 2019 and 2021, the people chose a new course and our new council has acted consistent with the themes we ran on - including lower property taxes, preserving neighborhoods, focusing on single-family homes, opposition to corporate welfare, and passing responsible budgets that prioritize needs over wants. We also stood strong in support of the Fairness in Women's Sports Act, as we felt it was important to stand up for the women and girls of Shawnee.
Over the course of the last two years, we've had great success.
For starters, we have added six police officers. This is a huge step given recent retirements and given the difficulty police departments around the country are facing. We said we would back our police and fire departments and we did so by increasing their pay.
On issue after issue - from lowering property taxes to preserving single-family neighborhoods to listening to residents regarding road projects to rejecting large-scale apartment complexes that were a poor fit and feel for our city - we have kept our promises and delivered. The specifics on some of these issues are addressed later in this Q&A.
Of course, there are some who don't like these changes. Disgruntled ex-council members who either lost or refused to stand for re-election have gone to their favorite media outlets and told a story in an attempt to stir up a hornet's nest.
For more perspective on the matter, please read this article in the Sentinel.
What is the reason behind the Shawnee policy on fireworks?
In 2022, the city council chose to allow more basic fireworks in response to citizens who wanted to celebrate Independence Day. The policy only allows fireworks on July 3rd and 4th and they must not occur before 10:00 a.m. or after 11:00 p.m. and cannot include bottle rockets, M80s, or sky lanterns. You can read the entire policy by clicking here.
It is important to note that the Shawnee Police and Fire Departments support our fireworks policy.
Your opponents are saying lowering property taxes is reckless. What is your response?
We are about to lower property taxes for the third year in a row. This is very important to our residents given the burden of inflation and the cost of living. The fact is that living in Johnson County is increasingly difficult due to higher home prices, of which property taxes play a huge role. So, what would be reckless is NOT to lower property taxes. Our city council has responsibly held spending in check while fully funding core services, resulting in a 57% cash reserves. With that amount in reserves, the only responsible choice is to return it to the people.
Can you explain the policy that upholds single-family residential zoning laws?
One of the core themes that many of our council members ran on was preserving single-family neighborhoods. This was in response to a drive by the former council to build large-scale apartment complexes, often backed by tax incentives.
However, in recent years, we have heard from many homeowners concerned about the effort by out-of-state developers to undermine our single-family residential zoning rules by purchasing said homes and converting them into multi-family housing.
As a result, the council adopted a new policy meant to preserve our single-family residential neighborhoods by limiting the number of unrelated individuals who can live in a single-family home. While multiple roommates are still allowed, we have placed a reasonable limit on this practice.