KCMO budget

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

More than 50 Kansas City residents and community advocates showed up Saturday morning at the Mohart Multipupose Center near Linwood Boulevard and The Paseo to voice their ideas about how the city should prioritize its spending over the next five years. 

The hearing was a departure from the usual format in which residents testify individually in front of a panel of city officials. 

The morning began with a 'Pick Your Priorities' exercise where attendees voted live between sets of established priorities using electronic clickers. 

Courtesy of City of Kansas City, Missouri

“This was a relatively pleasant budget process,” said Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Sly James of the months leading up to Thursday's City Council approval of a $1.5 billion budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year.  Then his council colleagues laughed as he added, “We actually had money.  That always makes it a little easier.”

The new spending plan includes funding for 2 percent raises for city employees who have been hit by wage freezes in several recent years.

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

Before the Kansas City Council sat down for its second public hearing for the 2016-2017 budget Saturday, 3rd District Councilman Jermaine Reed predicted that blighted housing would be a key topic for the day.

"There's a bit of excitement, but also a bit of caution," Reed said. "People don't necessarily want to see these buildings and homes torn down, they want to see people repopulate the urban core."

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

Several dozen Kansas City residents went to the city's first public budget hearing for the 2016-2017 budget Saturday morning, and most who testified had the same three things on their minds: infrastructure, blighted houses and the city's earnings tax. 

City council members listened to the residents' testimony for more than an hour at the Kansas City, Missouri, Regional Police Academy. Keith Nelson of the North Bennington neighborhood in the Northland told council members that infrastructure needs had been neglected for too long.

KCMO Housing and Neighborhood Services / Opendata KC

The Kansas City Missouri City Council on Thursday received a proposed budget for fiscal year 2016-2017 from Mayor Sly James and City Manager Troy Schulte that would make big changes in vacant housing and boost funding for the arts.

The key proposal from the $1.5 billion budget would issue a $10 million bond to raze more than 800 dangerous houses, most of which sit east of Prospect Avenue.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Kansas City, Missouri's newly approved budget for the coming year still calls for fewer people and no raises.  But last minute revisions eased some of the cuts in the original version.

The $1.5 billion spending plan the city council approved still pumps $80 million into long neglected pension funds and honors a fire department call for $10.5 million more to cover overtime and operating expenses. 

But improved collections for ambulance services inspired number crunchers to restore a portion of cuts planned in three notable areas.

Every year, city officials face the challenge of balancing the Kansas City, Mo. budget. On this edition of Up To Date, Steve Kraske speaks with the city's Budget Officer Scott Huizenga and Director of city communications Chris Hernandez about what goes into— and comes out of— the Kansas City budget.

Kansas City, Mo., residents had one of their last chances to speak out about the city's proposed budget for the 2015-2016 fiscal year Saturday.

The biggest issues were incoming cuts to cultural facilities like the American Jazz Museum and safety net health clinics. The Jazz Museum alone stands to lose $125,000 in funding.

Kansas City Manager Defends Proposed Wage Freeze

Feb 20, 2015

Kansas City, Missouri officials have made their first public comments on the proposed city budget for next year, including the proposed one-year wage freeze.

With a 3.5 percent spending increase in the plan and millions more for the fire department, some are asking why there won't be employee raises. 

City Manager Troy Schulte said it comes down to dollars and cents: raises vs. jobs.

Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Sly James and City Manager Troy Schulte have unveiled their proposal for next year's city budget. 

The mayor and city manager would increase city spending 3.5 percent next year, with the largest area of increase  for the fire department. 

That roughly $10 million is primarily to cover costs of operating the city ambulance system. City communications director Chris Hernandez said more than $700,000 of that is for installing new equipment on fire trucks to create a larger force for medical emergency response. 

Kansas City Mayor Sly James and the council are having their final meetings this week and next over the city's budget, which is more than a billion dollars.