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.
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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.