Summer provides great opportunities for daydreaming about how to make Kansas City a better place.
How convenient: Here are about 900 readers’ responses to an unscientific poll in last week’s column, which asked them to say how they might spend other people’s money.
Plus, I include some updates about what might really happen on each issue.
1. Elected officials and business leaders better get back to promoting a new, $1 billion terminal at Kansas City International Airport.
Unfortunately, don’t look for that kind of progress to happen for at least another year or so. Mayor Sly James and other supporters were very disappointed in the overwhelmingly negative real public opinion poll on the issue recently, in which people said they wanted to keep the current functional dump.
2. City Hall should dramatically slim down the tax-break packages given to developers.
City Manager Troy Schulte told me last week that a comprehensive report on city incentives, how they’ve been used and their success (or lack of it) in creating jobs is still months away from completion. But it will be very interesting when done.
3. It’s time to spend $27 million on a plan to bolster the prospects of the 18th & Vine Jazz District.
The City Council might take up this proposal soon, but it lacks good private-sector support and does not deserve to pass.
4. The city should hire 100 police officers for patrol duties.
The city is going to pay for a police staffing study this year. It better be comprehensive and determine whether more officers are needed on the street.
5. It’s too soon to decide whether to expand the streetcar to near the University of Missouri-Kansas City campus.
But it was really close: 450 votes against quick expansion vs. 449 for it. In reality, backers hope to know by next year whether local residents will pay for the $230 million project.
6. The city should find a way to spread out the costs of soaring water and sewer bills to others, such as a sales tax increase to collect money from visitors.
This idea was reviewed several years ago but is unlikely to be revived.
7. Use far more public funds to upgrade Northland’s streets, parks, trails, fountains and other amenities to attract people there.
No love for the Northland! But lots of people are still moving there.
8. The city’s plan to build more bike lanes must be pumped up.
Slowly, City Hall is making progress on this high priority for bicyclists.
9. Boost spending to get more lead paint out of older homes and protect children.
The Star’s recent excellent story on this topic should make this a no-brainer at City Hall.
10. The city must insist that developers build more affordable housing downtown in return for tax breaks.
This topic received the highest rating in the poll. Take note, City Council.
And to all others: Thanks for participating and dreaming about how to spend other people’s money.