What's really changed at KC City Hall?
The Kansas City Star
I’m still trying to get excited about the KC sales tax initiative on the Aug. 7 ballot.
Not happening yet, partly because of these facts:
KC’s costly pension system? Unchanged, despite 2011 citizens report calling for changes.
KC police health care costs? Unchanged, and now opposed in courts by cops.
KC fire tax renewal in 2016? Still on pace to happen, because City Hall buckled to fire union, including no ability to reduce workforce in next three years. Unbelievable, given the city’s finances.
KC TIF plans? Still overboard, with egregious giveaway to Freightquote, Hilton hotel on Plaza as just the latest examples.
No 5- or 10-year financial plan, which Civic Council of Greater Kansas City (top business leaders) has been demanding for months.
Mayor Sly James has done his very best to change the culture at City Hall into a more positive environment. He’s certainly counting on his personal popularity - and the belief that people have in him to lead the city in the right direction - to help pass this tax. I get that.
And as I tell people, I think City Manager Troy Schulte and most City Council members are working on positive things for the city.
However, that doesn’t mean I or KC voters should automatically embrace a new $34 million sales tax - with $4 million of it whisked away to TIF projects.
I’m hoping in next few weeks to get more details on how the parks department would really spend the extra money they are slated to get from the sales tax. And how the millions extra it would raise could be spent for better roads.
I want positive things to happen in KC, and sometimes giving more money to City Hall can make that happen.
But the jury is still out on this one.