Kansas City, MO – After nearly two years of debate Kansas City, Missouri has changed its rules for establishments that serve liquor by the drink. And one places things could change is on the city's college campuses.
One purpose of the new liquor ordinance is to bring Kansas City into line with a Missouri law that allows colleges and universities to choose to apply for a license to serve alcohol at sports events, plays, concerts and the like.
Kansas City, MO – Activist Clay Chastain is back in town to kick off petition drives for two ballot measures.
Chastain and his supporters will be circulating petitions for his latest transit plan - and for a revision to the city charter that would take away the city council's power to veto it if it passes. Such was the fate of a Chastain plan voters approved in 2006.
His latest one features a 3/8-cent sales tax to help finance a 35-mile light rail spine, a Union Station hub and redone Penn Valley Park with a Ferris wheel.
Kansas City, MO – After taking last week off, the Kansas City, Missouri City Council went back to work on the budget yesterday and got some relatively good news from the city budget director. Between belt tightening and some revenue windfalls, Kansas City is operating in the black -- at least so far.
Sharp pencil wielder Troy Schulte came out of the budget basement, surveyed the damage of the economic storm and proclaimed it a relatively good day.
Kansas City, MO – Kansas may be about to botch efforts to lure a corporate office complex and major league soccer stadium to Kansas City, according to some legislators who are pressuring Gov. Mark Parkinson's administration to close a deal.
Medical software maker Cerner Corp. and the owners of the Kansas City Wizards are proposing a $414 million development near NASCAR's Kansas Speedway. The project includes an office complex for 4,500 Cerner employees, an 18,500-seat stadium for the Wizards and two dozen soccer fields for amateur teams.
Topeka, KS – The Kansas Public Employees Retirement System, or KPERS, is facing a multi-billion dollar shortfall in coming years. Yesterday , the Kansas House Appropriations Committee heard about changes that some economists believe could save the state money.
A University of Kansas economist told legislators they could quickly start a new 401(k)-style pension plan for teachers and government workers.
Independence, Missouri – A new metro wide commuter rail plan is unveiled by Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders. The price tag is slightly more than a billion dollars.
Sanders calls his concept the most cost effective transit plan in the country. As he envisions it, the system would use existing rail corridors to save money and would cost about $7 million a mile to build.
Jefferson City, MO – The state of Missouri has borrowed $150 million from its budget reserve fund, as state revenue collections continue to decline.
The latest dip into the fund brings the total borrowed this fiscal year to $350 million. State Budget Director Linda Luebbering says the $150 million borrowed this week will cover several current expenses.
Kansas City, MO – Recent budget cutbacks mean that there are now fewer state dollars for highways. That's got the Kansas Department of Transportation looking at new ways to select the road projects it takes on. In the past, the state has only examined traffic volume and road conditions, but K-DOT spokesman Steve Swartz says local input and a project's economic impact could play a bigger role in the future.
Kansas City, MO – Kansas Governor Mark Parkinson says his office is responding to reports of sexual misconduct by workers at a Topeka prison. An article in the Topeka Capital-Journal described sexual contact between male workers and female inmates at the Topeka Correctional Facility, including male workers exchanging sex for contraband. Parkinson calls the conduct "despicable."
Kansas City, MO – Kansas Congressman Dennis Moore says he's pushing for a public option in national health reform legislation. Moore, a Democrat from Lenexa, is part of the Blue Dog Coalition. The group is made up of more than 50 fiscally conservative Democrats in the U.S. House. Moore says he hopes a public option will be part of a bipartisan bill.
Moore: "It's not about trying to establish some kind of national health care plan. It's about giving some competition to some other players out there and making sure that everybody has an opportunity for health care in this country."
Kansas City, MO – Two weeks ago it looked like the city council might limit the mayor's power over appointments to boards and commissions. But support for the idea vanished Thursday.
Three weeks ago councilman Ed Ford proposed requiring that nominations to commissions that make spending recommendations be in the form of ordinances. (Proposed ordinances automatically go to committee.)
Kansas City, MO – The Kansas City Council approved issuing up to $35 million in bonds to pay for a new emergency radio system. Before the vote, Assistant City Manager Rich Noll told council members recent history has changed the concept of emergency communications.
Noll: "When we built this system when you were talking about interoperability you were talking about Police being able to talk to Fire being able to talk to Public Works. Ever since 9-11 and Hurricane Katrina interoperability means one city being able to talk to another city in the region."
Kansas City, MO – The Kansas City Council's Finance and Audit Committee advanced a resolution to devote up to #25 million dollars in general obligation bonds to financing a new emergency responders' radio system. Assistant City Manager Rich Noll explained what the resolution will do if the full council approves it.
Noll: "It enables the finance department to proceed with the financing and enables us to proceed with reaching a contract within the next three to four weeks with Motorola - even in advance of having issued the bonds."
Kansas City, MO – President Barack Obama has nominated Beth Phillips to be U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri, which is centered in Kansas City. The Obama administration announced the nomination yesterday.
Phillips has served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Kansas City office since last year and has prosecuted child exploitation cases. She served as an assistant prosecutor in Jackson County from 1997 to 2001, when she entered private practice.
Kansas City, MO – Die-hard activist Clay Chastain is returning to Kansas City with still another light rail plan. And this time he wants to change the city charter so the council can't repeal a voter-approved initiative as they did with his 2006 plan.
Kansas City, MO – Another storm appears to be brewing between Mayor Mark Funkhouser and the city council - this time over the amount of information provided on appointees to boards and commissions the council must approve.
Council members say they need more information on appointees to TIF and economic development commissions, citing tens, maybe hundreds of millions of dollars the city pays out in business incentives.
The mayor resists, saying appointees will decline the jobs if they have to be vetted.
Kansas City, MO – Mayor Mark Funkhouser's "City that Works" campaign may be starting to work according to a new survey of citizen satisfaction released by the auditor's office Thursday.
Over a thousand households polled in June and July report Kansas City doing a better job for its citizens than a group questioned a year ago. The city's ratings improved on 47 items, and though it remains to be seen if those gains will hold up in the next quarter's survey, the Mayor was pleased.
Kansas City, Mo. – The White House is intent on making the Kansas City Green Impact Zone a national model for urban rebirth. Cabinet level attention made it clear what the Obama Administration wants as the stimulus venture is just beginning to take shape. KCUR's Dan Verbeck reports.
Topeka KS – It could cost more for Kansas smokers to light up in the future.
Today, Governor Mark Parkinson said he'll consider a tobacco tax increase in the coming legislative session if state tax revenues don't improve.
"If we don't need to increase revenue, if we can meet our budgetary needs without increasing taxes, we won't increase tobacco taxes just for the sake of increasing them," Parkinson said. "But if we need the revenue, we'll look at it."
Some estimates have put next fiscal year's budget deficit at more than 500 million dollars.
Kansas City, MO – It is no longer illegal to picket at funerals in Kansas City, Missouri. The city council repealed what was said to be the nation's first municipal funeral picketing law Thursday.
Kansas City's leaders passed an ordinance prohibiting picketing at funerals several years before Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church started picketing the funerals of servicemen killed in action. But the ordinance was never enforced, even on the occasions the Church picketed military funerals in Kansas City.
Kansas City, MO – Facing a budget trimmed $300,000 by the city council, Liberty Memorial officials are asking permission to use 90 percent of the interest from the Liberty Memorial Endowment fund for routine maintenance on the Kansas City landmark.
The Liberty Memorial endowment fund was originally intended to grow by compounding interest for future major maintenance projects.