Proposed KC budget would spend more on streets and youths

01/16/2013 12:00 AM

05/16/2014 8:48 PM

Kansas City government would boost street resurfacing, youth activities and overall communication with citizens under the budget recommendation Tuesday from City Manager Troy Schulte to Mayor Sly James.

Schulte said the $1.38 billion budget increases spending by $67 million over the current year, largely because voters approved a new half-cent sales tax for parks and some overall revenue growth. But he said major challenges remain as salary and pension obligations outpace revenue growth.

“The submitted budget for FY 2013-14 fails to provide funding to fully address long-term liabilities (e.g. pension and other post-employment benefits) and critical equipment replacement and facility maintenance needs,” Schulte wrote.

The recommendation does not call for a general tax increase, but it continues the trend of seeking annual increases of 10 percent for water rates and 15 percent for sewer rates to address a huge infrastructure maintenance backlog.

Highlights include:

• An increase in street preservation from $5.2 million to $19.4 million and in street maintenance from $9.4 million to $14.1 million. This is possible in part because the new park tax freed up other money for streets.

• A $5 million increase for the Fire Department, paid partly by grants, but a reduction of $3.5 million in overtime.

• Privatization of the security force at Municipal Court, saving $250,000.

• A $1.5 million allocation to deal with the emerald ash borer, which could decimate 20,000 city street trees as well as several hundred thousand private trees.

• A $130,000 allocation for three additional employees to enhance communication with residents.

• The addition of an employee who would develop a revenue-generating program involving sponsorships and naming rights.

The mayor is scheduled to address the manager’s recommendation on Feb. 14, and the full City Council will vote on the next budget March 28. It takes effect May 1. The recommendation is at

data.kcmo.org.

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