The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic triggered the worst Kansas City budget crisis in the modern era and so far we haven't heard or seen detailed plans about how elected leaders plan to deal with the deficit.
To wit . . .
WHILST MAYOR Q WARNS OF BRUTAL 11% 'ACROSS THE BOARD CUTS' TO THE GENERAL FUND . . . COUNCIL LADY HEATHER HALL SHARES DEETS ON HER PLAN TO SAVE MONEY WITHOUT SACRIFICING TAXPAYER SERVICES!!!
To be fair, the mayor has been busy promoting his social justice agenda and advocating for protest groups rather than worrying about local taxpayer cash.
Accordingly . . .
CREDIT TO COUNCIL LADY HEATHER HALL FOR OFFERING THE MOST DETAILED BUDGET SAVING PLAN FOR KCMO RATHER THAN JUST THREATENING CITY WORKERS AND NEIGHBORHOODS!!!
Here are the highlights . . .
FROM 1ST DISTRICT IN-DISTRICT COUNCIL MEMBER HEATHER HALL
“My goal is to find way to save $60 million annually over the next 5 years based on our Finance Director's estimated general fund loss projections due to COVID19.
Currently, the Mayor has stated his plan to have an across the board 11% departmental budget cuts to the general fund. I do not agree with this approach, know that there are many way to cut the budget that don’t directly affect the taxpayers. If we do it his way, parks, policing, trash service, snow-removal, mowing, and even pothole fixes will be decreased – all things your taxes pay for each year.
So, the goal is to find $60 million to go onto the General Fund to fix our budget shortfall due to COVID-related revenue losses. I propose we use up to $30 million from our unincorporated fund balance, take some of the measures I am suggesting here, then determine what percentages to cut by department depending on their needs over the next fiscal year beginning May 1, 2021.
Trash – This year, through my past 4 years’ efforts with our solid waste department and my colleagues from the 6th and 2nd District, we saved the city’s general fund $3 million this year. We will also save $3 million to $5 million for 2021-22 fiscal year due to this effort. All while increasing citizen satisfaction by 9%!
Audit – I asked for an audit to determine wasted space, extra buildings that we could re-allocate, sell or lease spaces. As of today, we are only utilizing 54% of the available space within City hall.
Real Estate – The city owns 1900 properties. Some are land and some are buildings. Of those 1900 properties, 333 parcels can not even be identified as to which department manages them. Of those parcels, we have since identified 31 parcels that the City can surplus (sell or lease) immediately – Even if we sold just 5, what a financial difference it would make. This could be a great revenue generation or at the very least a reduction in expenditure for the city General Fund for the coming year.
Energy Efficiency – I reached out to local industries to help us streamline our energy efficiency throughout the city (lighting, power, water, etc). I am working on a plan that can save between $4 million and $35 million in the 2021-22 fiscal year and future years.
Technology Waste – I have asked the finance department for the expenses annually that relate to the elimination of cable TV service throughout city hall and other buildings. For example, every city council office has a TV with cable. With COVID, and really anytime, we are rarely in our offices, as we are out meeting constituents. I propose we get rid of cable TV and the TVs throughout all city offices to save this money in the General Fund. I know this may be a small line-item, but every bit helps, and when it comes to a $60 million deficit, we need every bit!
As we find ways to save the $60 million projected loss, we must look to the walls of City Hall first, before cutting services that affect the daily lives of the taxpayers.
Developing . . .