TKC EXCLUSIVE AND BREAKING NEWS!!! TALKING KANSAS CITY'S FINANCIAL FUTURE @ THE PUBLIC LIBRARY TONIGHT!!!
Packed house at the Downtown Kansas City Public Library this evening for a talk about Kansas City's financial future.
Will update with some fun facts.
For now . . . Here's what we're hearing:
- 1/5th of all Kansas City taxes go to debt service.
- Fire and Police account for up to 69% of the general fund this budget says City Manager Troy Schulte.
- City Manager Troy Schulte says we're growing more dependent on the earnings tax.
- 6 Billion dollars worth of deferred maintenance in Kansas City - About 1/3rd for streets, sewers and other public works.
- Council Lady Jan is mostly dedicated to highlighting happy news . . .
- The crowd is kinda racist and they're clowning the Asian professor guy but he's (rightly) pointing out a lack of a long term vision.
- City Manager Troy touts the line that Kansas Border War strategy will implode: "Missouri needs to avoid trying to race to the bottom . . . In order to compete."
- Panel thinks "quality of life" will keep people in Kansas City. Obviously none of them live East of Troost or in any section of our urban core.
- Audience question time and the parade of silly speeches begins...
- GOP moocher white guy wants more tax breaks, Council Lady Jan calls the KCPS "broken" and talks about fixing it, getting requisite golf claps . . . But no details, obviously.
- Great question asks what is City Council is saying "No" to in terms of saving money???? Council Lady Jan says she says no to developers all the time but public doesn't see it.
- Restraint on TIF recently City Manager claims . . . City Now Spends $100 MILLION A YEAR!!! And just starting to decline.
- The crowd applauds for Citizens Association dude Dan Cofran, he asks: "How do we make this happen?"
- Council Lady Jan: "We have to work together."
Next panel on local control . . . Coming in April.
More photos . . .
A talk with the panel afterwards . . . We might have an EXCLUSIVE money quote tomorrow.
Local big wigs . . .
Kansas City Parks Board Member Allen Dillingham with University of Kansas Dr. Alfred Tat-Kei Ho talking about local cash or the lack thereof.
And then . . .
Citizens Association Prez Dan Cofran and longtime CA member Joanne Collins.
On the way to the car . . .
Councilman Jim Glover talks about the City's finances and seems to support the current City Manager model as the only practical way to make sure there is a long term financial plan.
And, on my way back home I was wondering if I was going to enjoy a $2 beer while finishing this post at John's Big Deck but decided against it because I need to save the spare change in my pocket . . . That decision probably speaks more to Kansas City's financial future than anything said at the forum this evening.
Walking into the cold Downtown Kansas City night I ran into a former Council Member and Mayoral Candidate who asked me what I thought about the discussion this evening . . . He said, "We've heard this all before . . . It's really a discussion of where we want to cut. Nobody wants to make those difficult decisions. And there's also an element of creativity involved. How can we address the budget in creative new ways that save money or bring in new revenue? I didn't hear anything new. Did you?"
I said I didn't we laughed for a half a second. He started to walk away and over his shoulder he said: "Keep writing." it was probably the most encouraging thing I had heard all night. I shouted his way: "Are you going to run for Mayor again?"
"Hell No!" He answered and ducked into his big American car as I turned the corner and walked back to Kansas City's Westside.