City Drafts Plan to Spend First $40M in GO Bonds for Infrastructure Projects
KANSAS CITY, MO With a vote of confidence from residents firmly in place, city Manager Troy Schulte is revealing the first wave of projects needed to start repairing the crumbling infrastructure that Kansas City, Missouri, citizens have complained about for years.
Schulte has sent a letter to Mayor Sly James and the City Council that details the plan to spend the first $40 million over the next year. The list has projects from each council district and includes $6 million devoted to sidewalks.
Voters approved an $800 million comprehensive capital improvements program to use revenue created by issuing general obligation bonds each year for 20 years. The money will pay for infrastructure improvements across the city that has long been deferred.
"Since the election, we haven't stopped working on the plan to spend the first $40 million," Schulte said. "We want to get the shovel-ready projects rolling, and we have to tackle the backlog of spot sidewalk repairs. I know councilmembers are also anxious to get going, so this gives them a chance to review the list and provide us with the feedback we need to finalize the plan."
The ballot contained three questions with each needing at least 57.1 percent of the vote to pass.
Question one passed with 68 percent support. It calls for issuing $600 million in bonds to repair streets, bridges and sidewalks. This includes trails, as well as a new city-funded sidewalk repair program that eliminates homeowner assessments. About $150 million will be dedicated to sidewalks.
Question two passed with 64 percent support. It calls for issuing $150 million in bonds to improve flood control to prevent floodwaters from backing up into homes and businesses. Approval of this question is expected to bring in additional federal funding for several projects.
Question three had 68 percent support. Some $50 million in bonds will be issued to repair public buildings. This includes replacing the outdated animal shelter, in partnership with private fundraising, and renovating public buildings to satisfy federal ADA requirements.
To ensure transparency, the city will issue an annual report card to show its progress for the previous year and the projects selected for the upcoming year. The preliminary report card next fall will show what bids have been issued to get construction started.
Additionally, the performance management team will create an interactive dashboard to allow residents to track overall progress of the projects and to review the details of any project citywide or in their own neighborhoods.