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Kansas City Council adopts budget that stresses public safety

The Kansas City City Council on Thursday adopted a fiscal year 2017-2018 budget that devotes millions to public safety – priorities laid out by residents through the Citizen Satisfaction Survey and the City Council’s 5-year Citywide Business Plan.

The $1.59 billion budget includes increased public safety expenditures by $19 million, or 4.6 percent over the current year. Public safety accounts for 76 percent of the General Fund operating budget.

The budget also provides for the continuation of basic services, modest raises for all city employees and lower projected increases in water bills.

The Citywide Business Plan originally called for water and sewer rate increases of 3 percent and 13 percent. In response to the concerns of residents, the council had lowered the rate increase to 1.5 percent for water and 9.5 percent for sewer.

The City will seek relief from the unfunded federal mandates that are causing the rate increases by asking for a longer timeline to fulfill the obligations of the Overflow Control Program.

The City Council’s adoption of the budget comes less than two weeks ahead of the proposed $800 million infrastructure maintenance bond issue that is on the ballot April 4. While the bond program is separate from the adopted budget, which maintains annual infrastructure spending at current levels, city officials have been sharing information about the differences between the two at various public meetings.

The entire budget can be found at kcmo.gov/finance. This includes a line-item detail on funding for each of the City’s many departments and programs.

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