KC Council kills public vote on higher billboard fee
The Kansas City Star
With Mayor Sly James leading the way, the City Council has just killed an effort to put a new $100 fee to fight billboard blight on the Nov. 6 ballot.
So voters will not get the chance to weigh in on that issue.
I’m against billboard blight.
But I see the point the critics made: The city needs to have a really good idea how it’s going to fight blight, and at the end of the day, the pro forces in this argument did not succeed in making that point.
James also said that carving out a new fee for the billboard industry, and then letting it get out of paying its business license taxes, would be exactly opposite of what he and the Citizens Municipal Revenue Commission have been trying to do: setting up fair, uniform tax rules for all biz.
However, it was encouraging to see and hear that James - along with everyone speaking on this issue - said they want to do something to make sure the billboard industry pays for the blight it causes.
As James noted, the $100 fee idea came from the billboard industry. So maybe not embracing it could be the right move in the end - especially if the fee ought to be higher to do any good in cleaning up blight, as council member Jan Marcason hinted at one point.