$1.73 billion budget includes $4.8 million to fund free bus rides
Mayor Quinton Lucas and acting City Manager Earnest Rouse on Thursday submitted to the City Council a fiscal year 2020-2021 budget that focuses on improving basic services, while proposing to use revenue growth to increase spending on public safety so that we can hire more police officers and firefighters.
The $1.73 billion submitted budget amount, virtually identical to the 2019-2020 adopted budget, includes $4.8 million to fund the City’s zero-fare transit program. This provides more than half of the total funding needed to make sure public transportation is free to all Kansas City passengers. RideKC and private partners will provide the remaining efficiencies and resources within the system to make this dream a reality. This submitted budget reflects the priorities of our residents and emphasizes our commitment to improving trash collection and repairing more roads. “This budget is the most equitable budget many of us likely have ever seen in this city,” Mayor Lucas said. “It tells everybody in this city that they matter, and their neighborhoods, their issues — and, for our workers, their pay — matter. But, it’s only a beginning of our work to invest better in our neighborhoods throughout Kansas City. I encourage all to attend our public budget forums and share their feedback over the coming weeks.” Revenue growth is projected to increase 3.7 percent citywide for non-enterprise funds, while Water Services and Aviation increase by 1.5 percent. The growth, $41.8 million, is driven mainly by earnings taxes, property taxes and sales taxes. Public Safety is the largest expense, totaling $486.5 million. That represents an increase of $16.8 million from last year. Public Safety accounts for about 73 percent of the operating budget. This submitted budget boosts Public Works to $144.2 million, an increase of $8 million to repair more streets, repaint more crosswalks and improve garage maintenance. Street resurfacing funding is $17 million, which is a 70 percent increase from two years ago, with funding from a combination of sources. The Neighborhood and Housing Services budget increases to $79.5 million to support our efforts to operate trash collection citywide, increase funding for recycling, animal shelter operations, leaf and brush disposal and nuisance abatement. “I’d like to thank the hard work of our budget office staff who have spent long days and nights putting together this proposed budget for the City Council and our residents to consider,” said Rouse. “We also appreciate the input from residents who attended the workshops last fall as we started the annual budget process.” The budget transmittal letter is available online, along with the entire proposed budget. Elected officials and city staff want your feedback. You can comment online by using the budgeting tool we like to call the Balancing Act. You're also invited to attend our citywide budget hearings:
Saturday, Feb. 22, 9-11 a.m..; Northgate Middle School, 2117 NE 48th St. (previously scheduled for March 7)
Saturday, Feb. 29, 9-11 a.m.; Southeast Community Center, 4201 E 63rd St.
Tuesday, March 3, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.; KC Health Department, 2400 Troost Ave.
For budget information, visit kcmo.gov/budget and don’t forget to follow them on Twitter @KCMO and the Budget Office @KCMOBudget.