This post is mostly for the Kansas City insiders but those of us on the lower end of the food chain can still appreciate the flex . . .


For those who don't know . . .
Proposed NTDF Ordinance #220260

The Neighborhood Tourist Development Fund (NTDF) program provides support to non-profit organizations through contracts for services, established by State law in 1989 to help promote Kansas City’s distinct and diverse neighborhoods through cultural, social, ethnic, historic, educational and recreational activities in conjunction with promoting the city as a premier convention, visitor and tourist center.

The upshot . . .

These funds are designated for neighborhoods and have a great deal of community input . . . Whereas the City Manager's office can hide MILLIONS from any real accountability and add to the discretion of the Mayor's office.

Now, here's the word . . .

Proposed NTDF Ordinance #220260

Hello to the NTDF Committee, it is unfortunate that we as a committee have not had better communication this past year.  The staffing situation, or lack thereof, for NTDF has seriously impacted NTDF in many ways.  That issue is not the reason for my email today.

Perhaps taking advantage of our recent struggles, there is a proposed ordinance that will be going before the Finance, Governance & Public Safety Committee this week with an amended version from what I last sent you.

In summation, the City Manager's office would like to take 30% of the NTDF funds prior to the committee making recommendations:

15% for City Sponsored Events
10% for Major Events
5% for Community Event Participation

History:  This is the 3rd similar attempt during my tenure for NTDF funding to be used in a different capacity.  Both the CVA & Arts Council previously had interest in directing funds to be distributed by their organizations rather than the recommendations of the NTDF committee.  

I ask you to review the amended version of the proposed ordinance and respond so that I may represent your views or better yet represent yourself at the committee hearing this Wednesday.

As dysfunctional NTDF has been over the last couple of years due to Staffing, committee participation/attendance, and Covid in general, I still feel this is a bad idea.  
We already spend weeks of preparation, interviews and deliberations for about a 1.6 million dollar allocation.  Taking 30% off the top is very significant but we would still have to spend the same amount of time for the same civil service.

Below is the testimony that changed my entire support for this ordinance with the link to the first hearing in Govt & Finance.  When the Council and City Manager's office started to explain that these funds would be used for them to purchase seats, tables and sponsorships for small organizations it went in a different direction.  While I still fully support the 10% to go in a savings account for future large events, i.e. using World Cup for an example, giving them 20% of the budget to simply accommodate requests from various organizations to attend their small (sometimes private) events does not meet the requirements for NTDF funding.  

When I questioned the issue of Tourism, the response was that they would focus on the "Development" side of the fund by "developing relationships with the neighborhood organizations"

In summation, this Ordinance would take 30% of the funds from the work this committee uses to fund events in all 6 districts that go through the application process that has been in place for decades.  I have yet to see the vetting process if these funds were to be used for "invitations to sponsor a table at X,Y,Z organization" per the testimony.  I shared the following comment with the City Manager's office myself......  I didn't want NTDF funding to become petty cash for political appeasement.  

Please share your responses with more or the group prior to Wednesday's hearing.  Thank you

Developing . . .