Complaining to City Hall comes second nature to taxpayers for good reasons. They want their money spent properly to provide efficient public services.
Using that scorecard, chalk up one victory for Kansas City — but one frustrating loss, too.
First the positive news. Given valid concerns over quickly rising water and sewer rates in Kansas City, the Water Services Department ought to be doing everything it can to hold down future bills for customers.
One key point is to reduce the amount of rainwater that gets into sanitary sewer pipes. When a deluge hits, excess water can back up into homes and businesses while also flowing into the city’s sewer system, which can cause unsanitary overflows into local waterways.
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Now the city is rolling out Keep Out the Rain KC. Essentially, the city will pay to disconnect private property owners’ downspouts, sump pumps and other drainage mechanisms that aren’t supposed to be connected to sewers.
The six-year program, if carried out properly in key points in the city, could be a cost-effective way to reduce sewage overflows. More information is available at kcwaterservices.org/rain/.
Unfortunately, Kansas City officials fell down recently when it comes to one of the most crucial basic services it provides — trash and recycling collection.
As The Star reported this week, hundreds of residents reported delayed pickups in recent weeks. But City Hall failed to quickly and properly communicate news about the problems to residents. That understandably frustrated people in affected neighborhoods, while also making it appear the city did not take these delays in collection seriously enough.
City officials said they have been working behind the scenes with a private contractor to try to resolve the concerns. Again, information about those efforts could have been better shared with the people paying the bills — residents who pay a 1 percent earnings tax that ostensibly is used to pay for the service.
Finally the city this week said it was sorry for the problems “andd wants to assure our residents that we will resolve these problems as soon as possible.”
Getting what is normally a pretty smooth trash collection operation back up and running for all Kansas Citians would be even better than an apology.