Letter to New Residents

To all new residents of Overland Park -

Welcome to Overland Park! I hope you will enjoy living here. Our city staff is always glad to answer your questions, and this letter may provide you with some important information.

Overland Park was incorporated as a first-class city on May 20, 1960. The population was 28,085, and now is 187,730 (2015), making us the second most populous city in the state and metropolitan Kansas City. Our geographical area includes about 75 square miles or about one-third of Johnson County.

The city is divided into six wards. Two councilmembers are chosen in elections to represent each ward and serve staggered four-year terms. The Mayor is elected from the city at large. City Council meetings convene at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Chamber of City Hall the first and third Monday of each month.

City Hall is located at 8500 Santa Fe Drive. It was built in 1968 and expanded in 1986. The Mayor, City Council and City Manager offices are located on the ground floor, as are the Finance, Budget and Administration, Human Resources and Law departments. Planning and Development Services and Public Works offices are on the second floor. City Hall is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The Myron E. Scafe Building (formerly the Antioch Justice Center), directly across the street from City Hall at 8500 Antioch, was dedicated in 1976. It houses Community Services, Information Technology, and police patrol.

The W. Jack Sanders Justice Center at 12400 Foster opened in 1996 and houses Police and Municipal Court. The Police Department is open 24 hours a day. The emergency phone number is 9-1-1, and non-emergencies, 913/895-6000.

Tomahawk Ridge Community Center, 119th and Lowell, opened in 1988. The Matt Ross Community Center opened in 2007. Leisure Services is located at MRCC.

City Staff and Department Functions:

The City Manager is Bill Ebel. He is responsible for carrying out all policies set by the Governing Body. His staff includes Deputy City Manager Kristy Stallings, Assistant City Manager Kate Gunja and Communications Manager Sean Reilly.

Dave Scott is the Chief Financial Officer with the Finance, Budget and Administration Department. He is in charge of all city finances and administering the budget. City Clerk Marian Cook keeps all city records and documents and is in charge of licensing pets, registering voters, and issuing permits for alarms, parades, etc.

Overland Park has a leash law, and every dog or cat six months or older must be licensed annually. A current rabies inoculation certificate must be shown to obtain the license, and new residents have 30 days to register their pets. See licensing information on the Web site or call the pet hotline at 913-327-5738 for more specific information.

Chief Human Resources Officer Mike Garcia directs Human Resources, which is responsible for hiring and providing benefits to more than 800 full-time employees.

City Attorney Mike Santos, Senior Assistant City Attorney Tammy Owens, Senior Assistant City Attorney Steve Horner, Senior Assistant City Attorney and Police Legal Advisor John Knoll and Assistant City Attorney Mike Koss aid in all city legal matters, including prosecuting those who violate city ordinances.

Planning and Development Services is led by Director Jack Messer and is responsible for Long-Range Planning, Community Services, GIS/Zoning Enforcement, Current Planning, Engineering Services and Building Safety. The Planning Commission meets at 1:30 p.m. on the second Monday of each month in the Council Chamber of City Hall.

Director Tony Cosby oversees Leisure Services (community centers), aquatics, three golf courses, Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead and the Scheels Overland Park Soccer Complex within the Parks & Recreation Department.

Director Greg Ruether oversees Parks Services and the Arboretum and Botanical Gardens within the Parks & Recreation Department.

Street lights, floodplains, traffic signals, drainage ditches, streets and street maintenance are handled by the Department of Public Works under Director Tony Hofmann. His staff includes City Engineer Burt Morey, City Traffic Engineer Brian Shields, and Manager of Maintenance Operations Rich Profaizer.

Director Vicki Irey oversees the Information Technology Department, which includes Facilities Management and all technology and telecommunications infrastructure used by city employees.

Municipal Court is under the day-to-day supervision of Presiding Judge Ryan Dixon. Municipal Court hold arraignments and trials, and levy fines or sentences. The Traffic Violations Bureau, where fines for certain offenses may be paid prior to a court date, is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; evening hours are on Tuesday and Thursday from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Some court fines also can be paid online.

Public safety is a top priority in Overland Park. The Police Department, headed by Police Chief Frank Donchez Jr., has 258 sworn officers. Full police services are offered, including crime prevention assessments. Bryan Dehner is the Fire Chief, with a staff of 148 to handle emergency situations.

If anyone in the city can be of assistance to you, please do not hesitate to call 913-895-6000 or e-mail city@opkansas.org.

Carl Gerlach