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Kansas City sends GO Bond to voters in April

$800 million dollar infrastructure plan to be voted on April 4, 2017

On Thursday, the Kansas City City Council gave a green light to send an $800 million dollar infrastructure bond to voters in April. If residents approve the measure, Kansas City will issue approximately $40 million dollars in bonds each year for a total of 20 years.

Kansas City residents will see three ballot questions. Each measure must receive a yes vote of at least 57.1% of voters to be approved.

Question #1 calls for approving the issuance of $600 million in bonds to repair streets, bridges and sidewalks. This would include trails, as well as create a city-funded sidewalk repair program that would eliminate homeowner assessments. Some $150 million would be dedicated to sidewalks.

Question #2 calls for approving the issuance of $150 in bonds to improve flood control to prevent floodwaters from backing up into homes and businesses.

Question #3 calls for approving the issuance of $50 million in bonds to repair public buildings. This would include replacing the outdated animal shelter, in partnership with private fundraising, and renovating public buildings to satisfy federal ADA requirements.

A key feature of the plan calls for a complete change in the way the City repairs sidewalks. The bonds would create revenue to allow the City to pay for residential sidewalks repairs, rather than charging homeowners. The city would create a program to systematically evaluate, repair and replace sidewalks. The goal is to make it through two citywide cycles over 20 years.

The plan does feature some cost to the taxpayer. Residents of Kansas City will see their property taxes increase. For a household with a $140,000 home (assessed value, not market value) and a $15,000 car, the property tax would average an additional $8 in the first year, rising to an $160 average additional payment in year 20, the final year of the bond program.

Graphic courtesy Kansas City City Hall Press Release

The Council also passed a companion resolution that outlines specifics of the process for prioritizing projects through the existing Citywide Five-Year Capital Improvements Plan, as well as the annual reporting requirements for the program.

Here is a list of possible street and bridge projects submitted with the resolution:

103rd Street Bridge over Indian Creek (East of State Line Road)
107th Street from Blue Ridge to James A Reed
12th Street Bridge over the Big Blue River (between Crystal and I-435 outer road)
135th Street – Wornall to Hwy 150
20th Street Improvements
Admiral Boulevard Improvements
23rd Street Reconstruction from Prospect to Indiana
27th Street Reconstruction from Troost Ave to Prospect Ave.
31st/Linwood/Van Brunt Intersection
39th Street Reconstruction from Elmwood to Emanuel Cleaver II Blvd.
43rd Street and Pittman Road Bridge (and intersection improvements)
63rd Street Reconstruction from Prospect to Troost
75th Street – Swope Industrial District
Benton Blvd. Bridge over Brush Creek
Blue River Rd. Landslide Issues – 87th St. to Red Bridge Rd.
Briarcliff Parkway/NE 42nd Street – N. Oak Trafficway to Davidson
Broadway/West Pennway Bridge over KCTRR
Brookside Plaza Street Improvements
Byrams Ford Bridge over Round Grove Creek (between Raytown Rd. and 47th Terrace)
Cleveland Bridge over Brush Creek
Front Street from I-35 to I-435 (City Obligation)
Frost Road Bridge
Gillham Road Corridor Improvements
Grand Blvd. from 14th to 27th Street
Gregory Boulevard – Eastern Avenue to Blue Ridge Blvd.
Hillcrest Road Bridge (200′ south of Oldham)
Holmes Road Bridge over Indian Creek Rehab (north of 100th Terrace)
Holmes Road Improvements – Minor Drive to 137th Street
JC Nichols Parkway Bridge over Brush Creek
Lee’s Summit Road from Anderson Dr. to Lakewood Blvd. (Hardin Curves)
Lee’s Summit Road from Lakewood Blvd. to Gregory
Line Creek Parkway – NW 62nd Street to NW 68th Street
Line Creek Parkway from NW 68th Street to NW 72nd Street
Maplewoods Parkway from M-1 to N. Antioch
Meyer Blvd. from Wornall to Baltimore
N Antioch Road Bridge over small creek
N Brighton – N Pleasant Valley Rd. to NE 72nd Street
N Coventry from NW 68th Street to NW 76th Street
N Green Hills Rd. from NW 78th Street to Barry Road
N Green Hills Rd from NW Old Tiffany Springs Rd to NW 108th Street
N Hampton Rd. Bridge (just south of NW Tiffany Park Rd.)
N Woodland/Maplewoods Parkway from Shoal Creek Parkway to Cookingham
NE 45th Street Bridge
NE 79th Street from N Oak to Oak Park High School/Troost
NE Industrial Trafficway Bridge and Street Improvements Cherry to Nicholson
NE Parvin Rd. Improvements from NE Davidson to N Brighton
NE Pleasant Valley Rd. from N Brighton to N Searcy Creek Pkwy.
North Oak Trafficway Reconstruction
NW 108th Street/Shoal Creek Pkwy. from Cosby to Platte Purchase
NW 108th Street Single Lane Bridge Replacement
NW Tiffany Park Drive Bridge (west of Hampton Road)
Old Bannister Road over Big Blue River and over Blue river Road (2 bridges)
Oldham Road Bridge 500′ south of KCSRR
Paseo Gateway (Paseo Blvd. and Independence Ave.)
Prospect MAX
Red Bridge Road from Blue River Road to Grandview Road
Red Bridge Road Reconstruction from Holmes Rd. to Wornall Rd.
Roanoke Pkwy. Bridge over Brush Creek Deck Rehab
Rockhill Road Improvements
Searcy Creek Pkwy. from NE 48th Street to Maple Park Middle School
West Pennway Improvements to Summit Street intersection
Westport Triangle Improvements
Wornall Road Reconstruction from 63rd Street to 79th Street
Wornall Road Reconstruction from 85th Street to 89th Street

The list of projects will be prioritized based upon several factors that include: are shovel-ready, already in the current Five-Year Capital Improvements Plan, leverage grants or private resources, promote new development, improve public safety and/or address state or federal mandates.

Back in June of 2016, TheNorthlandNews.com published a Citizen Voices column by Northland Kansas City activist Jason Withington. Inside of that editorial Withington expressed concerns about the first annexed neighborhoods of Kansas City. He called for numerous projects to be included inside of the GO Bond. Several of those projects have ended up on the Kansas City GO Bond list of projects. We reached out for comment from Withington:

I am pleased with the list of projects. This is a once in a generation opportunity for the city to improve roadways that have been waiting nearly 50 years for improvements (Parvin Road, Pleasant Valley Road and North Brighton Avenue). The projects listed also help to ensure our kids will have safe routes to school with improvements to Searcy Creek Parkway, Maplewood Parkway, NE 79th Street, and Briarcliff Parkway/NE 42nd Street. This is a good plan and I’m optimistic that the voters of Kansas City will approve the bond in April. I would like to say thank you to Mayor Pro Tem Scott Wagner and Councilwoman Heather Hall for voting to put this on the April ballot.

The proposal was unanimously approved by the Kansas City Council. Councilwoman Heather Hall issued a statement yesterday regarding the passage of the bond.

Today as we vote on putting the GO Bond in the April ballot, my two greatest concerns are specificity and transparency.

Should this pass on April 4, we need to be specific and transparent on how we spend the $800 million taxpayer dollars, status updates, and project timelines over the next 20 years.


About Andrew Palmer