No reduction in essential services result from pandemic-induced financial crisis
Mayor Quinton Lucas and City Manager Brian Platt on Thursday submitted to the City Council a fiscal year 2021-2022 budget that addresses a $70 million shortfall without staff layoffs or furloughs while maintaining essential city services and even investing additional resources in key areas.
The financial crisis spawned by the COVID-19 pandemic had a negative impact on the $1.73 billion submitted budget amount, which is $36.8 million less than the 2020-2021 Adopted Budget. Still, we have included targeted investments in priority areas like:
Expanded snow removal operations
Improving equity to help build a more inclusive workplace by hiring our first Chief Equity Officer and additional staff to both expand professional development and employee training as well as to improve accountability and transparency within Human Resources
Creation of our first Transportation Director and other resources to help us aggressively redesign our streets to reduce traffic deaths and serious injuries
“In preparing arguably one of the most challenging municipal budgets of our lifetime, we thoroughly reviewed every single service we provide, every third party contract and agreement, and every resource we allocate to find unique and innovative ways to reduce costs with no impact to essential city services” Platt said. “We had a lot of tough decisions to make but I look forward to working with the city council and residents to continue discussions on how to best prioritize our spending in the wake of the COVID-19 budget crisis.”
The proposed budget closes the budget shortfall with strategic and surgical cuts and adjustments, which include:
Transitioning to “in-house” waste removal and leaf and brush collection services
Negotiating reductions in healthcare costs for the city and auditing existing coverage to ensure cost effectiveness
Converting streetlights to lower cost, energy-efficient LED lights
Hiring and salary freezes for some positions
Right-sizing the KCPD budget to match current staffing and consolidating services to improve efficiencies
Voluntary retirement incentive
Sale of unused city property
Reducing contracts with outside vendors including security guards, jail contracts, and lobbyists
Identifying new ways to increase revenue collections through EMS, courts, and tax offices
Closing the Hale Arena, which costs the city $1.7 million a year to maintain
“As a child of a long-time government employee, I know that taking care of the people who keep this city running each day is one of the most important things we can do,” Mayor Lucas said. “That’s why it was essential to me that no City employees will be laid off due to budgetary concerns. No public works staff, no parks and recreation staff, no fire fighters or EMS, and no one in the Kansas City Police Department — despite what you’ve perhaps previously heard. No officers will need to lose their jobs due to budget cuts, and no stations need be closed. Instead we will right-size budgets in all our departments, eliminating wasteful spending, leaving most currently vacant positions unfilled.
“Every day, 7,000 people go to work for this great city and we will not leave them behind, even at this challenging time.”
The Submitted Budget focuses on funding public safety, capital improvements and transportation – priorities reflected in the Annual Resident Survey.
The budget transmittal letter is available online, along with the entire proposed budget. Elected officials and city staff want your feedback, so please make plans to attend at least one of our citywide budget hearings:
Saturday, Feb. 20, 9 a.m.- Noon (Virtual)
Saturday, Feb. 27, 9 a.m. - Noon; Municipal Arena, 301 W. 13th St.
Tuesday, March 2, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. (Virtual)
For budget information, visit kcmo.gov/budget and follow us on Twitter @KCMO and the Budget Office @KCMOBudget.