By Max Goodwin
At the most recent South Kansas City Alliance meeting held March 14. City Budget Officer Krista Morrison broke down Kansas City’s $1.914 billion total budget proposal that may be passed by the city council as soon as March 24. The budget proposal was submitted on February 10, with an increase of $123.3 million from last year’s budget.
“Kansas City’s budget would be in a very different position absent of the support we’ve received from the federal government and the American Rescue Plan,” Morrison said.
Funding from the federal government restored some of the lost revenue experienced during the pandemic and has allowed the city to be able to put more money into community programs.
“A few areas that Kansas City is spending American Rescue Plan funding on is affordable housing, unhoused initiatives, safe and healthy communities, and this is the first time in ten years that Kansas City is implementing a market pay increase for its own employees,” Morrison said.
That pay increase is important for city employees because the city has vacancy rates as high as 40 percent in some job positions across critical city services.
One small aspect of the budget that could help south Kansas Citians is the planned expansion of bulky item pick up. It may take some time as the city waits months for the equipment as they deal with the same supply chain issues as everybody else, but eventually, Morrison says you won’t be waiting months to have your bulky items picked up in south Kansas City.
The entire 500-page budget proposal is available to read at KCMO.gov, as well as the budget overview.
“Building up Grandview” Bonds
Grandview will have three bond issues on the April 5th ballot. The three separate bond issues total $21 million, the largest ever for the city of Grandview, and would not increase the tax rate. Mayor Leonard Jones presented along with City Administrator Cemal Gungor about the bond issues for Grandview residents.
Question 1 would put $6 million in bond funding towards upgrading Grandview city facilities for city hall which also is also the building Grandview Police operate out of. About $2.5 million of the total $6 million for this question would go to improving police department facilities. Grandview has also purchased the building just to the west of city hall and if Question 1 is passed on the April ballot, then Grandview will renovate that building into its new license bureau.
Question 2 would use $12.4 million to upgrade streets, sidewalks, curbs, and parking areas. Jones and Gungar said they heard in community surveys that the improvement of roads and infrastructure are necessary.
Question 3 is to fund $2.6 million for improvements to the Grandview Fire Department, including upgrades to fire stations 1,2, and 3, as well as a new ladder truck as currently the only ladder truck for the city is more than 20 years old.
University Health Bond
Truman Medical Center has changed its name to University Health in the past year. Question 2 on the ballot in Kansas City, Missouri, is a property tax levy renewal that is the foundational support of University Health.
“We have a decades-long legacy of caring for all, regardless of ability to pay. Quite frankly, this health levy support the city voters have historically provided has been important for us to meet that legacy,” said Gerard Grimaldi, chief health policy and government relations officer for University Health.
University Health provides Kansas City with specialized life saving services and is where more than half of the newborn babies in the city are born. University Health is also Kansas City’s healthcare hub in the case of a natural disaster, bioterrorism incident, or any mass casualty incident.