Just because the Kansas City Council has to settle on ballot language by Aug. 24 in order to put a single terminal at KCI on the November ballot, that doesn’t mean it has to pick a winning proposal by then.
A joint meeting of the Airport Committee and Finance & Governance Committees on Thursday will deliberate over three options for ballot language to be placed on the Nov. 7 ballot.
One ballot language proposal sponsored by Kansas City Councilwoman Jolie Justus, chair of the Airport Committee, asks voters to authorize construction of a new passenger terminal at KCI without raising taxes. The Justus proposal makes no reference to public or private financing.
Another set of ballot language sponsored by Kansas City Councilwoman Katheryn Shields asks voters for permission to issue airport revenue bonds, often described as a public financing option, and requires competitive bidding for airport construction.
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Finally, a proposal put forth via a petition initiative backed by labor organizations asks voters to approve a new airport terminal plan that would be privately financed.
Labor groups, led by the Greater Kansas City AFL-CIO, are keen on private financing because they think voters are more comfortable with that arrangement.
Neither public nor private financing puts taxpayers at risk.
While the Aug. 24 deadline will arrive soon, the council doesn’t necessarily have to settle on a winning proposal by then. Four companies have submitted proposals to Kansas City for the opportunity to design, build and finance the airport project. The four teams are each led by Burns & McDonnell, Jones Lang LaSalle, Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate and AECOM.
A selection committee on Aug. 14 will hear hour-long presentations from each proposer during closed-door meetings.
Charles Renner, a Husch Blackwell attorney hired by Kansas City to help with the airport procurement process, said on Tuesday during a council work session meeting that the council will help develop a memorandum of understanding with a winning proposal. But that process has no definite timeline.
“That is an ongoing time frame,” Renner said.