Frequently Asked Questions
Below is a list of answers to frequently asked questions from services provided by the Public Works Department to traffic signs, solid waste, and street lights.
Please click on one of the links below pertaining to your question of interest.
ROADWAYS, SIDEWALKS AND ALLEYS
How can I get a pothole fixed near my house?Call: Street Division, (913) 573-8307
Potholes cannot be permanently repaired when the ground is frozen. The Unified Government fixes the pothole temporarily within three days and makes a permanent repair as soil conditions permit.
What happens when pavement falls into a really deep hole?Call: Street Division, (913) 573-8307
When a cave-in reveals a void under the road, Unified Government crews will immediately erect temporary traffic controls to keep the area safe, determine a cause of the void and repair the roadway. The repair process takes anywhere from a few days to a few months.
What if my street needs more than just a few potholes patched?Call: Engineering Division, (913) 573-5700
Your street may be a candidate for resurfacing or major repair. Residents may submit requests that will be considered for prioritization in the annual resurfacing program. Because of funding limits, several years may elapse between reporting and resurfacing.
How can I get a rough railroad crossing fixed?Call: Engineering Division, (913) 573-5700
The Unified Government will fill potholes at crossings within three days. Because the crossings are property of the railroads, other road problems at crossings are forwarded to railroad companies for action. Repairs by the railroad can take over six months.
What about maintenance of the sidewalks and curbs in front of my house?Call: Engineering Division, (913) 573-5700
The Unified Government will share the cost with owners for reconstruction of sidewalk and reconstruction or new installation of curbs. The sidewalk program is available to an individual homeowner or business. To qualify, the work must have a permit and be inspected during construction. Ask about “sidewalk incentive program.” The curb program requires cooperation among a majority of owners along one side of a block to form a benefit district. The Unified Government sometimes replaces curb and sidewalk at no expense to the owners when reconstructing a major street.
What is a benefit district?Call: Engineering Division, (913) 573-5700
A benefit district is a mechanism provided by state law that allows citizens in an area to petition for specific public improvements. The property owners in the district make a legal commitment to pay for all or part of the improvements through a special assessment billed with their property taxes over a period of years. The Unified Government provides design and inspection services, and construction financing. Six months are required for the initial study and public hearing process. Design and construction can exceed 18 months depending on the complexity and scope of the project.
Who is responsible for maintaining the alleyway behind my house?Call: Street Division, (913) 573-8307
The Unified Government provides only minor pavement repairs, such as filling potholes, to an improved alley surface. Paving a severely deteriorated or an unimproved alley can be accomplished by forming a benefit district. The response time for minor pavement repairs is one to two weeks.
How can I get a handicap ramp installed at an intersection?Call: Engineering Division, (913) 573-5700
The Federal Americans with Disabilities Act requires the Unified Government to provide adequate access to public facilities, including sidewalks. Requests for ramps at specific intersections or routes are welcome and usually can be included in the annual ramp contract. Ramps to access individual businesses or homes are the responsibility of the property owner.
What can I do about a retaining wall or fence on my property that is in disrepair?Call: General or Masonry Contractors
Whether on private property or public right-of-way, retaining walls and fences are normally private improvements. The Unified Government may take action to repair or remove fences and walls that threaten public safety. Otherwise, property owners are responsible for maintenance and repair.
Do I need a permit to build a fence or deck on my property?Call: Building Inspection, (913) 573-8620
Some site improvements do not need a permit. Fences that meet zoning requirements, patios or other slabs on grade, retaining walls less than 4-foot high and some storage sheds do not require a building permit. Other improvements such as wooden decks or large accessory buildings require a permit.
What are the criteria for installing a guardrail?Call: Engineering Division, (913) 573-5700
The Unified Government installs guardrails at locations that pose a threat to drivers, such as steep slopes or fixed objects near the roadway. The Unified Government will not install guardrails to protect private property from errant vehicles. Since this work is contracted once a year, average response time is 12 months.
What do I need to know to put in a driveway?Call: Engineering Division, (913) 573-5700
The Unified Government regulates construction of driveways because of their potential effect on traffic flow. Permits and construction requirements may be obtained from the Engineering Division.
Who do I notify if a utility company does not restore my property after construction?
Call: Engineering Division, (913) 573-5700
If the work is in street right-of-way, the Unified Government will contact the appropriate utility. If the work is on private property, the property owner should call the utility company.
How can I get mud from construction vehicles cleaned off my street?Call: Engineering Division, (913) 573-5700
The Unified Government will notify responsible parties to clean up their mess. If that is not successful, the Unified Government will clean the street.
Who is responsible for snow removal?
Call: Street Department, (913) 573-8307
The Unified Government clears travel lanes of a street as soon as possible after a snowfall. In order to clear all public streets rapidly and cost-effectively, a ridge of snow is left by the plows at the side of the travel lane. Homeowners are responsible for clearing this ridge from their own driveways.
TRAFFIC SIGNS, TRAFFIC LIGHTS AND STREET LIGHTS Top
What will the Unified Government do to address traffic speeds in my neighborhood?Call: Public Works, (913) 573-5400
Long-lasting speed reduction seldom results from posting unreasonably low speed zones. However, traffic calming can both slow speeds and divert through traffic out of neighborhoods. If an organized neighborhood group is interested in traffic calming, the Unified Government will hold workshops for all interested parties to develop a plan that works for all. Planning, reviewing and installation take several months.
There are some traffic signs I can’t read very well. Can I get them replaced?Call: Traffic Engineering Sign Shop, (913) 573-8349
The Unified Government replaces faded, damaged or missing Stop and Yield signs within 24 hours of notification. Other traffic signs will be replaced within 48 hours following notification.
How can I get disabled parking installed for my residence?
Call: Office of the Disabled, (913) 573-5221
Office of the Disabled evaluates the request. If it is justified, Unified Government crews will install the signs.
Can we close our street for a block party?Call: Traffic Engineering, (913) 573-5770
The Unified Government issues permits for block parties and special events. A petition signed by a majority of the residents or businesses adjoining the street to be closed is required. There is a permit fee of $10. Please allow at least two weeks for processing.
Who determines the parking limits in front of my home or business?Call: Traffic Engineering Division, (913) 573-5770
Signs that prohibit parking are usually required for traffic capacity and safety. They can seldom be changed. Where parking is allowed, the duration is usually set by needs of surrounding businesses or residents. Changes in parking may require a traffic study and public hearing. The process takes several months.
Who do I call if a traffic signal is out or not functioning properly?Call: Board of Public Utilities, (913) 573-9522
The Board of Public Utilities installs and maintains the traffic signals for the Unified Government.
How are intersections picked for new signals?Call: Traffic Engineering Division, (913) 573-5770
When a new traffic signal is requested, the Unified Government will conduct a study to determine if a signal is warranted. Specific national guidelines are used for this study. If a signal is warranted, budgeting, design and construction may take up to two years or more.
How do I get a streetlight installed in my neighborhood?
Call: Engineering Division, (913) 573-5700
The Unified Government will evaluate whether a new streetlight is justified and will prioritize the request. It takes two weeks for the evaluation. Installation by the Board of Public Utilities can take up to six months.
Who replaces the bulbs in streetlights?
Call: Board of Public Utilities, (913) 573-9522
The Board of Public Utilities replaces burned out bulbs in existing lights.
SOLID WASTE DISPOSAL Top
How should I prepare my trash for pick up?Call: Solid Waste Section, (913) 573-5400
All trash should be set 3 feet from the curb. Trash may be in closed bags or cans. Trash cans must be smaller than 50-gallon capacity and weigh less than 75 pounds. Bulky items, such as furniture, beds, washers or dryers, should be set next to the trash cans. Limbs and twigs must be bundled and no longer than 48 inches. Tires must be removed from rims and then set at the curb for pickup. There is a limit of 10 tires per week per residence.
When should I set my trash out?Call: Solid Waste Section, (913) 573-5400
Set everything out no later than 7 a.m. on your collection day, but not earlier than 4 p.m. on the day before your collection.
Is trash pick up delayed for holidays?Call: Solid Waste Division, (913) 573-5400
Trash is not picked up on New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day or Christmas Day. When one of these holidays falls on a weekday, pick up will be one day later for the rest of that week.
If my trash was not picked up on my specific day, what should I do?
Call: Solid Waste Section, (913) 573-5400
Sometimes routes are not completed because of excessive workload or mechanical breakdowns. In these cases the trash will be picked up the next day. However, if your trash was set out after the trucks came by, you will need to store it and set it out again the next week.
Are there items that shouldn’t be set out in the trash?Call: Solid Waste Section, (913) 573-5400
Yes, the Unified Government provides alternate disposal methods for items that should not go to the landfill. These items are appliances that contain refrigerants, household hazardous wastes and recyclable materials. There is no charge to Wyandotte County residents for the special disposal of these items.
Where can I dispose of household hazardous wastes?Call: Solid Waste Section, (913) 573-5400
Household hazardous wastes include motor oil, batteries, antifreeze, degreasers, lawn and garden insecticides/pesticides, household cleaning products, paints, varnishes and solvents. Do not throw these out in the trash or dump them in the sewer. These products should be taken to 2443 South 88th Street. There is one collection a day each month from April through October. Please call for times and dates.
I know that some refrigerants harm the ozone layer, how should these be disposed?Call: Deffenbaugh, (913) 631-3300, ask for Residential Dispatch
Arrange a special pick up for appliances that have refrigerants in their systems, such as refrigerators, air conditioners and freezers.
Does the Unified Government have a recycling facility?Call: Solid Waste Section, (913) 573-5400
Take recyclables to 3241 Park Drive. It is open most days. Call for current schedule. To prepare the recyclable materials, remove the lids and labels from all containers and rinse, flatten cans, and do not tie or bag newspaper.
Who is responsible for picking up trees after a storm?
Call: Street Division, (913) 573-8324
The Unified Government will remove fallen trees and limbs that cover public streets as quickly as possible. Normally, homeowners are responsible for fallen trees that cover sidewalks and yards.
Can a construction company dump debris in my neighborhood?Call: Environmental Health Department, (913) 573-6705
Certain construction debris may be dumped at a permitted fill site. These materials are dirt, rock and rubble from concrete, masonry and asphalt pavement. All other materials must be placed in a sanitary landfill. If you suspect someone is dumping illegally, the Unified Government will investigate.
STORM DRAINAGE Top
How can I improve the culvert under my driveway?Call: Engineering Division, (913) 573-5700
Driveway culverts are private improvements. However, the Unified Government assists residents by supplying labor and equipment to install driveway culverts. Property owners are responsible for buying the materials, as well as restoring the driveway and adjacent lawn. The Unified Government service is subject to a review process, which takes about a week. Installation will only take place if downstream properties are not adversely affected by a change in water flow.
Who do I talk to about improving the drainage ditch in front of my house?
Call: Engineering Division, (913) 573-5700
The Unified Government reviews requests to clean and re-grade roadside ditches on a case-by-case basis. The Unified Government will re-grade ditches only when it does not move a draining problem to another location. The Unified Government takes about two weeks to review the ditch and about two weeks to clean or re-grade the ditch. If more extensive work is required, the owners will need to form a benefit district.
Who do I tell about a plugged or broken catch basin?Call: Sewer Maintenance Division, (913) 573-5535
The Unified Government will clean a clogged catch basin or inlet within three days. If the inlet is broken, the Unified Government will place a warning sign and hire a contractor to repair the catch basin. Because Unified Government contracts this service once a year, the wait may be in excess of 12 months.
What can I do about the big drainage channel that is eroding my property?Call: Engineering Division, (913) 573-5700
In most cases maintaining unimproved channels is the responsibility of the homeowner. Exceptions are channels that have previously been improved to Unified Government standards and are on a dedicated easement. These improved channels are maintained or repaired as allowed by budget constraints.
Who coordinates response during a flood or other emergency?Call: Emergency Management, (913) 573-6300
Emergency Management coordinates the many Unified Government departments that respond to and aid recovery from floods and other natural or technological disasters.
Can I get flood insurance?Call: Your property insurance agent
Flood insurance is required only if you are seeking a loan for a building located in a FEMA flood plain. However, almost any owner can purchase flood insurance to protect against localized flooding. The cost, if your home is not a designated flood plain, is usually less than fire insurance on the building. Flood insurance is a national program underwritten by FEMA. Your individual insurance agent writes the policies.
SANITARY SEWERS Top
Who is responsible for opening blocked sewers?
Call: Sewer Maintenance Division, (913) 573-5535
The Unified Government is responsible for maintaining public mains and flushes all public mains at fixed intervals. The homeowner is responsible for the service line between the home and the city main. If you have reason to believe the blockage is in the public main, the Unified Government will inspect the line immediately and clear it if necessary.
Who is responsible for damages to my home because of wastewater back-up?Call: Unified Government Clerk, (913) 573-5260
The Unified Government has a legal duty to maintain and operate the sewer system in a responsible and reasonable manner. Backups will still occur even with the best maintenance. If you believe the Unified Government was negligent in its maintenance, you may file a claim.
What about problems with my septic system?Call: Environmental Health, (913) 573-6705
All septic systems are privately owned and are the responsibility of the property owner. Questions about septic system regulations or reports of failed septic fields should be directed to the Health Department.
Who replaces missing manhole covers?Call: Sewer Maintenance Division, (913) 573-5535
The Unified Government immediately replaces the ones that fall under its jurisdiction. The Unified Government will contact the appropriate utility company for covers that do not fall under its jurisdiction.
What if I have a question about my utility bills?Call: Board of Public Utilities, (913) 573-9190, for billing information
Call: Public Works, 573-5400, for sewer or trash charges
The Board of Public Utilities is the billing agency for itself and the Unified Government. BPU can answer general questions about your bill, such as due dates or payment plans. If your question is about the actual charges for sewer or trash service, you should contact the Unified Government.
OTHER RESOURCES Top
Can the Unified Government solve a dispute I’m having with my neighbor?
Call: Dispute Resolution Department, (913) 573-5225
Unless there is a code violation, the Unified Government cannot take sides in a dispute between neighbors. Often disputes must be settled through civil litigation. However, if both parties are willing, voluntary mediation may be an alternate to litigation. The mediator will not take sides but will encourage the parties to take a fresh look at the problem. The Unified Government will help neighbors who are interested in mediation.
What if I think the Unified Government damaged my property?Call: Unified Government Clerk, (913) 573-5260
If you feel you have been harmed by the action or inaction of the Unified Government, you may file a claim. However, the Unified Government is not the insurer of last resort. That means that damage alone is not enough to succeed in a claim. You must also show that the Unified Government knew of the condition and had the opportunity and responsibility to act but failed to do so. Claim forms may be picked up at the Clerk’s Office. Under State law, claims must be filed and reviewed before a lawsuit can proceed.
How can I get information about other Unified Government services?Call: The Service Request and Information Center, (913) 573-5190
The Service Request and Information Center is the central clearing point for service requests and complaints. They will route your service request to the appropriate department.