KCMO City Hall

Government
2:32 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Kansas City Councilman Resigns Amid Violence Accusations

Mayor Sly James says the Kansas City, Mo., City Council could have a new person in resigning Councilman Michael Brooks' seat by the end of January 2015.
Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR

Updated, 5 p.m. Wednesday:

In the wake of Kansas City, Mo., Councilman Michael Brooks' resignation, Mayor Sly James says his focus is on filling the empty 5th district seat. 

"We're not looking for someone who can warm a chair. We're going to look for someone who can do the job," James said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

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Government
7:04 am
Fri December 12, 2014

Compromise: Put Leon Jordan's Name On Campus, Not Police Station

The Kansas City Council has come up with a compromise they hope will satisfy those who wanted the new East Patrol police station named after Leon Jordan, a former police officer and the founder of Freedom, Inc, while also satisfying those who opposed it.

Councilman Jermaine Reed explained the idea: name the campus, not the police station.

A parade of black community leaders and former council members spoke in favor of the naming to the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.  All cited the historic contributions made by Jordan to the city and to law enforcement.

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Government
7:20 am
Thu December 11, 2014

Kansas City To Extend Pension Benefits To Same-Sex Couples

Update, 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 11:

The Kansas City, Mo., City Council voted Thursday to extend city pension benefits currently offered to couples in conventional marriages to legally-married same-sex couples.

“So this is just one more example of our commitment to being inclusive to all of our citizens in Kansas City,” Councilwoman Jan Marcason said before the unanimous vote.

The original post continues below.

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Election 2014
7:00 am
Wed October 29, 2014

Both Sides Abandon Kansas City Sales Tax Ballot Questions

There have been no ads promoting the taxes and no campaign opposing them, but there are two questions going before Kansas City, Missouri, voters on Nov. 4.

So why are they on the ballot? Questions 1 and 2 are the legacy of a transit activist and a 3-year court battle. The 1/4-cent and 1/8-cent sales taxes are the ruins of Clay Chastain's successful 2011 light rail initiative petition drive.

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Government
7:47 am
Sun October 19, 2014

Residential Development A Poser For Committees Revising Incentives

Two Kansas City council committees are facing difficulties coming up with hard numbers as they delve into the mayor's request for a more consistent process in determining how large incentives for property developers.

Some school and library districts and many taxpayers complain that the city gives up tax revenues that could be put to good use. Some contend that for-profit businesses should pay their own way, without any tax abatement.

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Government
10:23 am
Sun October 12, 2014

Kansas City Mayor's Proposal To Cut Development Incentives Meets Resistance

A Kansas City council committee began debate this week on Mayor Sly James's proposal to reduce tax abatement for developers. The ordinance he proposed would reduce the maximum for developers from 100 percent to 50 percent.

Concerns were immediately raised by some business and economic development leaders and several council members that cutting back on tax breaks would cast a pall over development, and businesses would build in competing communities.

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Government
7:43 am
Fri October 10, 2014

Missouri Open Carry Law Forces Local Change

The Kansas City, Missouri City Council modified the city's ban on open carry of firearms Thursday to bring it into compliance with a new state law. That law was passed by the Legislature over the veto of Gov. Jay Nixon.

Presenting the changes for a final vote, Councilman John Sharp explained that to continue to prohibit open carry for most people, the city now must exempt some persons.

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Sports
7:38 am
Fri October 10, 2014

Kansas City Officials To Change Baltimore Avenue To 'Royals Avenue'

Councilman Dick Davis and Mayor Sly James show off a new "temporary street sign" for Baltimore Ave.
Credit City of Kansas City, Missouri.

Baltimore Avenue in Kansas City has a new name ... for now.

Mayor Sly James explained the temporary blue and white street signs to his fellow council members during Thursday's business session.

As his colleagues chuckled, James declared, “There are a number of people who live on Baltimore Avenue that do not want to live on Baltimore during the playoffs and they have asked that we try to rename it – so we will be introducing a resolution temporarily renaming Baltimore Avenue to "Royals Avenue.”

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Government
7:55 am
Thu October 9, 2014

Kansas City Council Still Pondering Kemper Arena Future

Credit City of Kansas City, Mo.

A Kansas City Council Committee continues to debate the future of Kemper Arena. And this week's developments included a staff report, a consultant's opinion and a letter with a lot of signatures.

A consulting firm hired by the city filed a report saying a Foutch Brothers proposal to convert Kemper to a youth sports facility was dynamic and achievable, though challenging in part.

From those who side with the American Royal Association and would tear down the arena came a letter of endorsement signed by 75 business and civic leaders.

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City Council
5:14 am
Mon October 6, 2014

Kansas City Council Resolves To Consider Taxi Cab Industry Discrimination

The Kansas City, Mo., City Council wants to know if current city rules regulating the taxi cab industry are unfair to women- and minority-owned businesses.

At issue is an agreement Yellow Cab has to act as an exclusive operator with most of the major downtown and Crown Center hotels. Councilman Dick Davis says that contract is keeping small taxi cab companies from operating in large swaths of the city.

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Government
5:41 am
Fri October 3, 2014

Kansas City Spent $1.1 Million On Thwarted Streetcar Expansion

The bills are totaled up on what the city of Kansas City, Mo., spent on the voter-rejected Phase 2 of the downtown streetcar system. 

The city council approved contracts with two engineering firms, HDR and Burns and McDonnell, for route planning, studies of construction obstacles and communication with the public.

In total, the two contracts came to about $8.1 million.

Streetcar Project Director Ralph Davis says spending stopped with the defeat of the streetcar expansion at the polls.

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Government
5:37 am
Thu October 2, 2014

Kansas City Ordinance Targets Persons Intimidating Bike Riders, Walkers

A Kansas City City Council committee has finalized an ordinance making it illegal to intimidate walkers and bike riders on Kansas City, Mo., streets.

Maggie Priesmeyer, who volunteers for an organization that helps provide bikes to needy people, was among those who shared stories about rude, intimidating and inconsiderate motorists.

She told the Public Safety Committee the story of a homeless, jobless veteran named Joe who came in for for help with bike repairs wearing a sling and brace of the type used to support a broken collarbone.

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Government
4:47 am
Fri September 12, 2014

Kansas City Council Toughens Domestic Violence Enforcement

Kansas City, Mo., toughened its protections against domestic violence Thursday, giving city prosecutors the power to take violators of ex parte orders of protection to court.

The ordinance was back on the floor after a revision to address Councilman Ed Ford's insistence that it be modified to make it clear that persons could only be prosecutors if they had received notice of the protection order. He still objected that the revised ordinance could make it difficult for estranged couples to communicate about children or other important matters.

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Government
4:43 am
Fri September 12, 2014

Council Approves Tax Abatement for Kansas City Research Park

A biotech research park in south Kansas City and 25-year property tax abatement to support it gets the go-ahead from the Kansas City council.

The idea of the research park and rezoning to allow it sailed through on Thursday. But the council wrangled over the tax abatement for Oxford on the Blue for about an hour and a half.

Councilman Russ Johnson tried to convince the group it was time to stop - as he put it "giving away the farm."

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Government
8:13 am
Thu September 11, 2014

Tax Breaks Advance For Biotech Research Park

Tax abatement for a 344-acre biotech office park south of the Cerner Three Trails Campus has cleared committee and advances to the city council floor.

The Plans Zoning and Economic Development Committee on Wednesday agreed with PIEA development authorities that Oxford on the Blue merits 26-year property tax abatement.

The proposal calls for 100 percent abatement for 10 years and 50 percent for an additional 15 year, but Councilman Ed Ford explained that not every part of the project is expected to get the full 25-year break.

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Government
7:48 am
Thu September 4, 2014

Kansas City Ordinance Will Let Municipal Courts Enforce Ex Parte Orders

Updated Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Kansas City City Council is seeking to further curb domestic violence by letting the municipal courts enforce orders made by judges without all parties present, also known as ex parte orders.

The ordinance the public safety committee approved Wednesday makes violating any ex-parte order a municipal offense.

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Government
8:00 am
Fri August 29, 2014

Kansas City Council Repeals Outsourcing Of Ambulance Billing

Faced with a successful referendum drive that could force the repeal of plans to outsource Kansas City ambulance service billing, the city council has repealed the plan.

The issue was contentious from the start. City Manager Troy Schulte proposed having a private company manage the billing because, he said, it would increase revenues from insurance collections while saving money. 

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Transportation
11:56 am
Mon August 18, 2014

Transit Benefits Could Become Condition For KC Companies Seeking Incentives

The Kansas City Council could rule to make public transit benefits a requirement for large companies seeking incentives from the city.
Credit Stephen Rees/Flickr-CC

The Kansas City city council is considering making group public transit benefit plans a requirement for companies to get economic development incentives. 

"UMKC —All the students have through their student ID a bus pass. That actually where this idea started," says transit chair Russ Johnson.

Johnson says companies with more than 100 employees would have to provide employee bus passes to get the incentives. The cost would be up to 0.1 percent of company payroll.

The plan, he says, would help support public transit, thereby boosting economic development.

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Government
7:35 am
Fri August 8, 2014

Kansas City Council Committee Hears Plan To Save Kemper Arena

A Kansas City council committee responded favorably Thursday to a proposal to convert Kemper Arena into a youth sports complex, but it's too early to declare the aging arena safe from the wrecking ball.

Developer Steve Foutch told the council committee: there's no need to tear down Kemper to make way for a new, smaller American Royal complex, there's plenty of room for two separate arenas to coexist.

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Government
7:50 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Kansas City Council Passes Open Carry Ban

The Kansas City, Mo., city council voted Thursday to ban open carry of firearms. 

Delivering the pitch that sealed the ban's passage, Mayor Sly James told the council that openly carrying exposed guns is intimidating, invites accidental shootings and killings out of rage, and is particularly undesirable because unlike concealed carry it requires no permit or training.

Government
7:56 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Kansas City Council Committee Endorses Open Carry Ban

The public safety committee of the Kansas City city council unanimously endorsed Mayor Sly James's proposal to ban the open carry of firearms Wednesday.

Citing a recent move by the town of Lake Ozark, Mo., to ban open carry because of its negative effect on tourism, the mayor said that if a Missouri city makes its gun ordinances exactly mirror state law, there is no reason open carry can not be outlawed by a local community.

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Government
11:36 am
Fri June 27, 2014

Kansas City Loosens Liquor License Rules For Some Felony Offenders

Finding a job may be getting a little easier in Kansas City, Mo., for some people convicted of crimes.

Some of them will no longer have to wait four years to get a “liquor card.”

In Kansas City, all people involved in the sale of alcoholic beverages in restaurants, bars and retail stores have to be licensed by the city.

People convicted of violent crimes are not eligible.  And until now, those with nonviolent felony convictions, including drunk driving, had a four-year wait after they had served any time involved.

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Government
6:59 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Kansas City To Outsource Ambulance Billing

City manager Troy Schulte and finance chair Jan Marcason said signing up with

Advanced Data Processing Inc., a company that already does billing for several cities in the metro, would save $800,000 and increase collections.

“For the taxpayers and for the city this is a good deal and I think we should approve it today,” Marcason told her council colleagues.

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Government
7:57 am
Thu June 19, 2014

Kansas City Council Approves Zoning For Plaza Office High-Rise

New high-rise office building proposed for north edge of Country Club Plaza
Credit Courtesy: Hoefer Wysocki Architecture

A Kansas City council committee approved zoning changes for a 14-story office tower on the north edge of the Country Club Plaza on Wednesday. There appears to be no organized effort to stop its construction.

In recent years, plans for a North-Plaza law office high-rise and a luxury hotel were derailed by opposition. But this time there is no business opposition and Dan Cofran of Friends of the Plaza says his group does not want to stop or delay the Block Real Estate project.

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Government
6:32 am
Fri June 13, 2014

Kansas City Ordinance On Food For Homeless Fails

A Kansas City council ordinance would have regulated food distribution from service agencies homeless populations.
Credit درفش کاویانی / Wikimedia-CC

Kansas City's city council turned down an ordinance regulating the distribution of food to the homeless Thursday after it was opposed by social services organizations, including the Salvation Army.

A frustrated Councilman Scott Wagner insisted throughout the debate that the ordinance he spent a year putting together was simply what it appeared to be on the surface – a matter of food safety and sanitation.

But colleague Ed Ford said the discussions that began the process may have doomed the ordinance before it was written.

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Government
8:07 am
Thu June 12, 2014

Homeless Advocates Question Kansas City 'Food Sharing Permit' Plan

A number of organizations that help feed the homeless were heard but not heeded Wednesday as a city council committee revisited an ordinance requiring setting standards for charitable food sharing.

The plan would require all individuals and organizations providing food for the homeless to have a city food sharing permit, that all food preparation areas meet city standards. The organizations would be responsible for trash disposal and other sanitation matters.

The pleas of the two dozen people who spoke against the food sharing permit ordinance were often impassioned.

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Government
7:40 am
Fri May 30, 2014

Kansas City Adopts Point System For Development Incentives

Kansas City's development incentives policy becomes more structured under a measure passed by the city council Thursday. The city will adopt a scorecard system to determine which projects get incentives and how large those incentives are.

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Government
7:58 am
Fri May 23, 2014

Kansas City Council Approves $8 Million In Phase II Streetcar Planning Contracts

Freshly returned from Thursday's ground breaking for phase one of the streetcar system, the Kansas City city council committed $8 million to getting started on phase two.

Two area firms – HDR Engineering and Burns and McDonnell – were chosen to plan southward and eastward extensions of the streetcar line.

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Government
7:48 am
Mon May 12, 2014

Kansas City Council Considers August Ballot For Sales Tax Issue

Kansas City, Mo., residents can expect to be asked to renew a sales tax in August. But meeting fire department needs may take more than that.

The quarter-cent sales tax created 14 years ago currently funds less than 14 percent of the fire department's $145 million budget. Personnel costs account for 90 percent of that budget.

City Finance Director Randall Landes says renewing the tax is essential, but even with the renewal the department won't be able to replace aging fire stations and equipment.

 

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Government
7:50 am
Fri May 9, 2014

Kansas City Council Closes Lyft Loophole

The city council says the ride-providers with the big pink mustaches are a rogue taxi company.
Credit Via Tsuji / Flickr / Creative Commons

Transportation company Lyft says it will find you a friend with a car via mobile device app. But, the Kansas City, Mo., City Council says the company is running a taxi cab service and trying to loophole its way out of city regulations covering drivers, vehicles and insurance.

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