KCUR News
3:54 am
Thu December 4, 2008

Kansas City Shortfall Estimate Still Climbing

Kansas City, MO – The Kansas City, Missouri city council began to grapple with the city's projected revenue shortfall this week. Budget chair Deb Herman explained how serious the current forecast is.

Herman says of the $490 million that went into the general fund last year, $315 million went to the police and fire departments, leaving $175 million for everything else. She emphasized: "Everything that comes out of this building, really, comes out of $175 million," noting that the still growing shortfall presiction for next year is $89.3 million.

City accountants prepared the forecast based on year to date figures that show spending up and revenue down about 3 percent.

Mayor Funkhouser says their projection probably underestimates the effect of the recession. The long-time city auditor says current problems are due to out-of-control expenses, and that the serious revenue declines have not yet arrived. Funkhouser told the council committee, "This step, for our economy, the Kansas City municipal government, takes about 6 months to work its way through. So we can't tell yet what's gonna happen in Kansas City."

The Mayor says only a very speedy national economic recovery can save the city from a deluge of red ink. On December 22nd he will meet with council members and community leaders to start planning what to do if the still more dire forecasts are correct.