The Kansas City Council voted Thursday to spend money for a new Bartle Hall roof and other projects out of a $10 million fund originally borrowed for streetcar extensions that voters then rejected.
Supporters said it made sense to spend part of the money now on a few urgent projects with dedicated revenue to pay off the bond money.
But the council had a heated argument over what to do with the $3.5 million remaining in the streetcar planning bond fund.
Some said keeping that money for streetcar planning sent a bad signal to the 60 percent of voters who rejected the expansion plan last August.
But Councilman Russ Johnson argued the money should continue to be designated for streetcar planning because the city may try again in a few years to build rail south on Main Street, where voters supported expansion.
Finally, the council voted 9-3 to remove language specifically mentioning streetcar expansion. The money remains, but it’s without a designated purpose. It must be spent or paid back by June 2017.