Cordial tone at city’s first budget hearing

Margaret May of the Ivanhoe Neighborhood asked the council to add something to this year’s budget. She said the city needs to market itself to its residents, in an effort to keep current residents and attract new ones. The council said it will consider ideas like this as it refines its proposed 2013-14 budget.

The tone of Kansas City’s first public hearing on the budget was unusually friendly this year, with residents thanking council members for recent improvements and council representatives praising their colleagues and city staff for working together well.

The first hearing, held Saturday at the Robert H. Mohart Multipurpose Center at Linwood and the Paseo, attracted far more residents from the city’s Eastside and Westside than Midtown. Two additional hearings will be held north of the river and in the south part of the city.

Council budget committee chair Jan Marcason explained that the council is using a new process to develop the budget.

“Elected officials have worked hard at setting priorities,” she said. “We also have performance measures for each priority. Then we are aligning resources to meet each of those priorities.”

See if you agree with council priorities 

See an overview of the budget

The purpose of the budget hearings, Marcason said, is to allow the council to hear feedback on the plan from residents.

Nearly 20 residents spoke at the hearing. Almost all thanked the council for improvements they have seen recently including the new land bank, the volunteer inspection program, attention to nuisance and gateway crimes, legislation around sale of scrap metal, removal of nuisance signs, and waste management services.

Several residents asked the council keep a focus on attracting and retaining residents, especially in aging areas of the city.

“What will make us a world-class city is our people. We must invest in people and neighborhoods,” Allen Norman told the council, “Our quality of life doesn’t start and stop at the Kauffman Center or the Plaza. Google won’t do it for us.”

He encouraged the city to focus on refurbishing older housing and to invest in people and neighborhoods. Others said there was a growing need for minor home repairs since many people don’t have enough money to keep up older homes. Another theme was the lack of services in the 3rd District and the need for small business assistance.

Several speakers asked the council to restore funding to the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, as required by a 2010 ordinance. The proposed budget calls for $23.5 million but the Transit Action Network is asking for that to be increased to $29 million.

Margaret May of the Ivanhoe neighborhood said the city needs to do a better job of marketing itself to its own residents. “People come here from out of town and marvel at what is going on,” she said. “But we as residents only talk about what is bad. We need to lift up the city.”


  • Additional hearings:
    • Saturday, Feb. 9, 9-11 a.m.. Northland Neighborhoods, 4420 Choteau Trafficway
    • Saturday, Feb. 23, 9-11 a.m., KCPD South Patrol Division, 9710 Marion Park Drive
  • Review the budget online

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