Parks, streets and sewers projects in Kansas City just got a major funding boost, as voters approved both city ballot measures yesterday.
Question 1 creates a half cent sales tax for parks and community centers. It also frees up more than $10 million for infrastructure projects.
“We get to establish our street maintenance fund and actually get some work done on streets, rebuilding and repaving,” said Kansas City Mayor Sly James at a gathering with city, parks and recreation leaders at Union Station last night. “And, we get to dedicate some more money to our parks department, so they can maintain our parks better, operate our community centers better and move forward in a positive way.”
Question 1 also removes certain vehicle and property taxes meant for parks and community centers, but the city expects the new sales tax to bring in about $3 million more to the parks department’s current budget.
Parks board president, Jean Paul Chaurand, says residents can expect expanded community center hours come January, once the sales tax takes effect.
Yesterday’s approval of question 2 also means the city can now take out up to $500 million in new sewer bonds, to help with a massive overflow control project required by the Environmental Protection Agency. City officials say residents' water charges will go up, but not as much as if the ballot measure hadn’t passed.