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Johnson County Water District Board 5

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  • Candidate picture

    Missey Smith

  • Candidate picture

    Jill Westra

Biographical Information

What do you believe are the three critical projects or initiatives that will move your city/district forward?

What skills, expertise, or competencies qualify you for this position?

What factors will you consider to address fairness and equity in the Water Board rate structure?

Personal Biography Missey is co-founder of The Kelsey Smith Foundation, Inc ®, an active community volunteer and winner of three awards from the United States Department of Justice. She is a graduate of Ottawa University and Johnson County Community College and spent 20 years of her career in the healthcare profession at AdventHealth. Missey and her husband, Greg, live in Overland Park and enjoy spending time with their eight grandchildren.
Campaign Address 8605 Robinson St.
Campaign Phone (913) 558-1691
Campaign Web Site
Education Associate Degree from JCCC Bachelor of Communication - Ottawa University
Community/Public Service PTA, SM West Band Aides, Johnson County Citizens Academy, Johnson County Sheriff Citizens Academy, FBI Citizens Academy, The Kelsey Smith Foundation, Amber Alert Family Roundtables
phone (913) 558-1691
WaterOne can help keep our community moving forward in several ways.

First, we must continue to be great stewards of the well-established, high-quality water infrastructure we have come to expect in Johnson County. We’ve all heard, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” When it comes to something as essential as water, we might switch it up a bit and say, “If it ain’t broke, make sure it stays that way!” This takes planning and persistence.

Secondly, the WaterOne board must keep an eye on the future to be sure our system can meet the water needs of an expanding population. We can’t afford to be playing catch-up on water infrastructure in the future, inhibiting growth in a community so essential to our state’s economy.

Finally, we have to focus on the safety and security of our clean water system. With cyber and other security threats to the water supply and utility systems in the news, we must stay ahead of vulnerabilities and prevent them here.
I have worked successfully with diverse stakeholders in 30 states to improve public policy, which is a tangible demonstration of my ability to bring people together to get important things done.

Ensuring the safety of our water system is one of my utmost priorities, and I’ll bring the same energy to this work that led me to receive the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award; the U.S. Department of Justice’s Ronald Wilson Reagan Public Policy Award; and the Department of Justice’s Crystal Kipper and Ali Kemp Memorial Award.

Low water rates benefit all who use the system. We can keep rates low by continually looking for operational efficiencies and by effectively maintaining our water infrastructure to prevent expensive fixes in the future. A priority of mine will be keeping our water rates the lowest in the area.
Personal Biography When I relocated to the area 6 years ago, I chose to settle in Westwood, where my daughter attends 6th Grade at Westwood View Elementary. I have recently taken a new job as the Senior Manager of Sustainability for the Boston Beer Company, where I work remotely, directing the environmental sustainability journey for the entire organization and all of its brands. My passions include outdoor recreation, environmental stewardship, music, spending time with my dogs, travel and animal rescue.
Campaign Phone (913) 278-9184
Education BSc, Physical Geography - University of Wyoming. MSc, Environment and Society - University of Pretoria. MSc, Occupational and Environmental Health and Safety Management - University of Portsmouth.
Community/Public Service Volunteer: BSPCA, Unleashed Pet Rescue, Missouri River Relief, KKFI Community Radio, Folk Alliance International.
Facebook @JillWestraWaterOne
phone (913) 278-9184
1) Harnessing good data 2) Setting the right goals and targets 3) Putting sustainable water management practices and resiliency planning into place, to ensure the same quality we enjoy now is available for future generations. Each of these initiatives corresponds to all three pillars of Sustainability: environmental, social and financial. It is my aim to use my occupational expertise to effectively participate in mapping our Water District's Sustainability journey, in the context of each pillar. What gets measured gets managed and making sure that we have good data to set good goals and targets against, is key. As our water district currently has a substantial land area that is yet to be developed, it is important to be constantly thinking of the long term, not only the present, so we can conscientiously meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs and enjoy the reliable, safe, clean water supply we do today.
I believe that my professional skill set is a great match for the Board of WaterOne. As an environmental scientist with 20 years+ of experience in environmental consulting and sustainability strategy development, I am very familiar with how water utilities operate and which key performance indicators show success/failure. I also have deep knowledge regarding the challenges that our water district faces in terms of environment, social and governance issues as they pertain to both internal and external stakeholders. I have a unique perspective having worked on water infrastructure projects globally, alongside civil engineers and project managers in some of the most water-stressed parts of the globe, and I am confident I can bring a valuable perspective to the Board. Most importantly, I am prepared to have the complicated discussions about how we are contributing positively to our community and protecting and managing (while simultaneously consuming) our most precious natural resource.
I believe that access to clean, safe drinking water is a basic human right. So, we must ensure that customers never have to make a choice between feeding their family and paying their water bill. Dependability on a constant rate of service, year over year, to avoid surprise price spikes is vital. Therefore, ensure a smoothing approach to rate increases over time, ensuring consistent, gradual increases as and when necessary. Executing 3rd party cost-of-service studies (which corresponds to existing WaterOne practice) at regular, pre-determined intervals, factoring in affordability metrics is critical. I would also expect to ensure that WaterOne would continue to use an affordability ratio, focusing on the lowest 20th percentile's income in order to determine what the definition of "affordable" is, in Johnson County. Most importantly this factor also needs to have critical expenses such as housing, health care and cost of living factored in, to determine affordability for all customers.