By John Sharp
Members of the KCMO Public Improvements Advisory Committee (PIAC) that I serve on as an appointee of 6th District Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem Kevin McManus will begin hosting virtual public hearings in south Kansas City next week to allow persons to request funding for capital improvement projects such as curbs and sidewalks, park improvements and stormwater control for the city’s next fiscal year starting May 1, 2022.
The 6th Council District virtual hearing will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 13. Persons may go online for the link to the hearing. They also may call in at 1-872-212-5076 and enter ID 995 896 772#.
The 5th District virtual hearing will be at the same time Wednesday, July 14. The link can be found here. Everything else is the same except the ID is 388 001 525#.
Although it is not required, persons are asked to RSVP to present a request so staff will know how many requests to expect. Persons may do so by emailing PIAC@kcmo.org or calling 816-513-1173 and leaving their first and last name, organization they represent if any, email, phone number and address of the requested improvement. Persons who don’t RSVP may still submit a request by submitting their name through the chat function during the virtual hearing.
The 6th District in-person hearing will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, August 10, at Hillcrest Community Center, 10401 Hillcrest Rd., and the 5th District in-person hearing will be the same time Tuesday, August 17, at the Southeast Community Center, 4201 E. 63rd St.
It is always a good idea to show PIAC members pictures illustrating the problems that need correcting such as cracked and broken sidewalks, flooding and worn out playground equipment. It also is helpful to demonstrate the request has widespread support by having supporters participate in the hearings or sign petitions of support.
It is good to understand that it often takes several requests to get projects funded due to the backlog of needed improvements, so project advocates should be prepared to submit new requests annually until they are approved.
The deadline for submitting PIAC requests this year is August 31. The committee makes its funding recommendations which are almost always followed to the City Council in the fall, and the Council approves the funding in March as part of the city’s annual budget.
This year PIAC is expected to be able to recommend allocating about $4 million per council district for neighborhood capital improvement projects, an amount that is always dwarfed by the costs of requests.