Government & Politics

Lynn Horsley at City Hall: Keeping an eye on minimum wage, Kemper Arena

An economic development agency this week will consider the Foutch Brothers request for tax abatement for Kemper Arena.
An economic development agency this week will consider the Foutch Brothers request for tax abatement for Kemper Arena. File photo

After a couple of very hectic weeks, maybe this week provides some breathing room at City Hall.

But if so, it’s the calm before the storm, as the City Council gears up for city budget review and campaigns leading to the April election. We’re still watching to see if a petition initiative for a higher minimum wage in Kansas City will get on the April ballot. The official deadline has passed, but there may be an attempt to get a court order.

Another topic this week is likely to be proposed tax abatement for a private facility in a repurposed Kemper Arena.

Here’s what’s on tap so far:

Tuesday, Jan. 31

Tuesday is a regular date for the Missouri Supreme Court to issue opinions. We are watching to see if the court will issue a decision in a pending St. Louis minimum wage dispute. That case could shed light on Kansas City’s ability to seek a higher minimum wage than what’s allowed by state law. However, it won’t stop Kansas City’s petition initiative from getting on a local ballot, either in April or August.

Wednesday, Feb. 1

Various council committees meet, and the agendas are here.

The Finance Committee will consider an interim sewer agreement with the city of Liberty. Liberty is building its own new wastewater treatment plant to get out from using Kansas City sewer services. But an interim sewer agreement is needed pending a new agreement down the road.

The Planning, Zoning and Economic Development Commission will consider a rezoning at 20th Street and Broadway to allow for a new 228-unit apartment building near the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

Thursday, Feb. 2

The Planned Industrial Expansion Authority will consider a request to grant tax abatement for Kemper Arena’s redevelopment. The tax break would apply just to the building. The land would still be taxed, and that new money would start to flow to the school district, library and other taxing jurisdictions. But those agencies are still pondering their response to this request. This is one of the final financing pieces needed before the city of Kansas City can transfer Kemper Arena to Foutch Brothers. Foutch plans to repurpose the arena as a youth and family sports and events complex.

Lynn Horsley: 816-226-2058, @LynnHorsley