Kansas City, Mo. – The Kansas City, Missouri city council made it formal Thursday: They endorse the idea of a regional rapid rail transit system proposed by Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders.
There was no mention of Clay Chastain's latest petition drive for a competing Kansas City only light rail plan as the council endorsed Sanders' tri-county transit system proposal. Sanders says his can be done less expensively by routing commuter rail trains along existing unused or under-used right-of-way.
Kansas City, Mo. – The first phase of Kansas City Mayor Mark Funkhouser's "Schools First" program was sidelined in a council committee meeting yesterday. A number of citizens testified for the infrastructure improvement plan, and the mayor put in his pitch, including that the only expense next year would be $2 million in debt service.
"When you're spending $3 to $5 million a year and need to be spending many multiples of that, when you have a $1.6 billion backlog, which is what they tell us we have in sidewalks, you have to start somewhere," says Funkhouser.
Kansas City, Mo. – Kansas City, Missouri will create a city department in charge of overseeing city construction projects after all.
The ordinance to create a city Capital Improvements Management Department failed last week on a tie vote with 12 council members present. Councilman John Sharp brought it up for reconsideration yesterday with the tie-breaking vote present.
Supporters, including the mayor and city manager said it will speed up backlogged city construction projects.
Kansas City, Mo. – The Kansas City city has tentatively agreed to support Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders' transit plan.
Sanders and TranSystems consultant Jim Terry told the council Thursday that by using existing and abandoned rail routes, the tri-county Missouri side of the metro area can have a 134-mile rail-based transit system for about a billion dollars - 8 million a mile.
The system could be expanded to include Johnson and Wyandotte Counties, and would be based on a Union Station hub.
Kansas City, Mo. – Mayor Mark Funkhouser talked with reporters Wednesday about Kansas City's efforts to save its red light cameras from being banned by an amendment to the transportation bill sponsored by State Senator Jim Lembke.
Kansas City, Mo. – Mayor Mark Funkhouser saw his plans for an office of school support sent back to committee yesterday.
The underlying theme of most objections seemed to be unwillingness to let a vote for a study of creating the office be taken as a vote for the office as conceived by the mayor and the his proposed "schools first" program. Council member Cindy Circo went so far as to suggest that the main purpose of the office was to enhance the Funkhouser's reelection chances.
Kansas City, Mo. – Mayor Mark Funkhouser got a start on his "schools first" initiative Wednesday.
The city council finance and audit committee approved a resolution to designate a School Support and Public Engagement person at City Hall.
That person would be responsible for coordinating with all schools and school districts in the city - for example, to coordinate information on snow removal and school closings and to get the word out on recreational activities the city already offers for young people.
Kansas City, Mo. – Mayor Mark Funkhouser will fight efforts to repeal the Kansas City earnings' tax. The mayor has been mum on the issue until now.
Hizzoner concedes he has been slow and deliberative deciding his stance, as signature collectors have been gathering support for an earnings tax referendum, statewide. Today he brought members of organized labor and other petition opponents to his office.
Kansas City, Mo. – Kansas City, Missouri will not get a new city department to manage construction projects. The city council voted that down 7 to 6 yesterday. But the city Human Relations Department was re-empowered in a last-minute move.
The Human Relations Department has always been a department according to the city charter. But former city manager Wayne Cauthen gave it division status within his office. That means HRD didn't have its own separate budget, and some council members also said it "degraded the status" of HRD.
Kansas City, Mo. – Kansas City, Missouri's city council continued hearing from departments on next year's budget yesterday. They discussed items including public health, public works and the city's convention and tourism efforts.
Oscar McGaskey, who is in charge of the city's convention facilities told the council that in addition to declining major convention business, the city continues to be saddled with a large deficit for Kemper Arena, projected to lose $1.6 million next year.
Kansas City, Mo. – Kansas City Public Works Director Stan Harris told the council Finance and Audit Committee Wednesday that the full year's 2.5 million snow removal budget was no match for the series of storms that ushered in 2010.
Harris said as of January 3, at the end of that storm, his department had expended a total of roughly 2.8 million dollars, about 300,000 dollars over the budget for the full year.
Kansas City, Mo. – The Kansas City city council wasted no time in approving a lease on the overhaul base at KCI. The proposed deal with Jet Midwest was first announced last week, and today the contract is ready for the inking.
What can you say when you come up with a deal to fill most of a space due to soon become vacant for about $700,000 a year... with the possibility of up to 600 good-paying jobs within three or so years?