Kansas City, Mo. – Kansas City's 2009 budget sweepstakes are underway. Dozens of community leaders are drawn in this time as the mayor looks for concensus.
This was all very representative of opinion. The city bought a consultant's report and the consultant asked everyone in the room to vote, electronically, on what are most important functions of the government.
This had to do with a shortfall next year estimated between 80 and 90 million dollars. Most important function? Hands down winner was public safety. That is, police, fire and ambulance services. Police Board President Terry Brady was there. Will he go the route of consultants and back changing police rule from state to city? No! He says the department works just fine. Mayor Mark Funkhouser is convinced these forums are the path to success.In his words,
"We will have more citizens involvement, more citizen engagement to this year's budget than we have probably ever had and we started from a common base of facts, the PFM report, that we havent had in the past."
Still to come. What is cut and where. And who will pay and how.