Government
1:19 am
Fri August 24, 2012

No November KC Vote On Billboard Fees, 'No Nukes' Initiative

Kansas City, Missouri voters will decide on only one city ballot measure in November, and it won't be the proposed blight-relief fees for billboard companies or a "no nukes" initiative from Peace Planters.

A council committee decided Wednesday to hold off a public vote on an initiative against nuclear weapons manufacturing till April at the earliest. But they advanced a plan to charge outdoor advertising companies permit fees to help fight billboard blight. The fee replaced a proposal for a revenue tax.

On Thursday, on the council floor, there were as many opinions as there were council members.  Some council members supported the committee's revised plan.  Others questioned, among other things,  its ballot language, whether it would produce enough city revenue to accomplish its purpose, whether additional staff was needed to administer it and the fact that the planned use of the proceeds had changed. 

Debate stretched on and on.

Councilman Scott Taylor called the ordinance a good compromise and added,  “We can talk something to death if we try... a hundred different ways. And that's what I'm hearing.”

And they did talk it to death, at lest for the November ballot.

The council will send the voters a plan to raise the retirement age for municipal judges from 65 to 70, which is the retirement age for state judges.

Scores Rise In Citizen Satisfaction Survey

The council also heard the results of the latest citizen satisfaction survey yesterday. Overall, it showed improvement in the satisfaction ratings. The main cause for celebration was that with a new mayor and council, the formerly dismal scores for leadership at city hall are the most improved area in the report.

But the survey also pointed out needs for improvement. Julie Steenson* of the city manager's office told the council the wheel squeaking the loudest was an old familiar one: maintenance of streets and facilities.

Emergency services, including ambulance service, continued to be areas in which the citizens say the city is performing well. On the downside, Kansas City's satisfaction scores were about half as high as those of the best-performing cities in its size range.