In a short and succinct statement, Platte City mayor Frank Offutt summed up how things are going in the city.
“The state of the city is strong,” Offutt told a crowd gathered on Thursday, Oct. 18 to hear him give the state of the city address at the Platte City Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development monthly luncheon, this one held at the Northland Career Center.
Offutt spoke for nearly 40 minutes about the various aspects of the city he oversees, the growth and development and what the future holds for the community.
He also used the opportunity to talk about the importance of a ballot issue on Tuesday, Nov. 6 that will have voters decide whether to extend a 3/8 cent transportation sales tax in Platte City. The tax was originally passed in 2005 and won’t expire until 2025, but the city put it on the ballot with an eye toward the future.
Offutt noted the backbone of the city is the infrastructure from the streets and roads that take residents from home to work or school. He polled the room on how many use Highway 92 and Kentucky Avenue.
“The long-range planning is an emphasis as our city continues to grow,” he said. “We can plan a rolling schedule. The extension provides funding to continue and approve these projects.”
The city will see vast changes to the first exit as the Missouri Department of Transportation will redo the overpass by expanding it for the large amount of traffic, as well as adding bicycle ramps, making it easier to access the east side of the city where there is a large potential for growth with Windmill Creek seeing houses getting build and an additional 69-plus acres was annexed recently.
“Now is the time to prepare for the next generation to follow,” the mayor said. “Infrastructure in this case, avenues to move transportation, if development comes and they aren’t there, it is hard to go back. We have to be that far forward thinking where development will occur in five years, 10 years, 15 years or 50 years.”
Offutt noted that an asphalt street has about 10 years of life before it must be replaced. Streets and public safety funding costs the city an average of $1,200 per household, per year. On average, each household contributes $185 toward that total. That puts an onus on retail sales to generate the tax dollars to cover the short fall.
“Pack up, come to Platte City and do your business, we are proud to have here,” Offutt said.
The mayor noted the four areas of success for the city are economic development, city staffing, local partnerships and new infrastructure.
“People like Platte City as a place, to live, work and raise their family and that is no surprise,” Offutt said. “I’m honored to speak about a city, that in my opinion, is like no other and serves our citizens well.”
The city has seen a lot of growth on the Highway 92 corridor as more restaurants continue to pop up for the citizen, as well as remodeling projects at McDonald’s and QuikTrip. Also mentioned was the success of the downtown revitalization grant.
Offutt noted the city has a lot of employees with 10 years or service or more, a strength, that helps the city ‘punch above our weight class’ compared to other cities. The financial strength of the city has also improved since Offutt became an alderman in 1986. Back then, he recalled, the city had no rating when it came to bonds meaning they had market value. Over time, Platte City got an AA- rating and two years improved to a AA rating.
“A lot is happening in the city we have only scratched the surface,” Offutt said.
During the speech he also introduced interim police chief Linda Hacker-Bristow.
She was introduced by the city as the choice to fill in for chief Carl Mitchell, who is temporarily reassigned, on Sept. 17.
She didn’t start until Oct. 17 due to paperwork issues that dealt with liability issues between the insurance providers, according to city manager DJ Gehrt.
“We are borrowing her for some weeks while we do some reorganization in our police department,” Offutt said of Hacker-Bristow, who is on loan to the city from her job with the Platte County Sheriff’s Department. She has a 30-day contract with two additional 30-day options.