Voters say “Yes” to $800 million infrastructure program; City Manager lays out implementation strategy
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 5, 2017
The approval of an $800 million plan to repair Kansas City’s crumbling infrastructure means residents want to move quickly to improve sidewalks, streets and buildings – a directive that’s being taken seriously at City Hall.
City administrators and planners were already working Wednesday to start implementing the bond program, as the city manager puts final touches on a first year plan so that construction can start this summer.
“The goal is to submit to PIAC and the City Council by the first week in May a balanced plan for the first $40 million,” City Manager Troy Schulte said. “We’ll start with shovel-ready projects, the backlog of spot sidewalk repairs and the design work and construction needed for the animal shelter.”
Voters on Tuesday supported the comprehensive capital improvements program to use revenue created by issuing approximately $40 million in bonds each year for 20 years. The money will pay for maintenance and infrastructure improvements across the city that have long been deferred.
A “Yes” vote of a least 57.1 percent on each question was required.
Question #1 passed with 66 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 #2 passed with 61 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 #3 had nearly 67 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 This includes replacing the outdated animal shelter, in partnership with private fundraising, and renovating public buildings to satisfy federal ADA requirements.
Much of the prioritizing for the initial projects is being based on the existing Citywide Five-Year Capital Improvements Plan. A list of possible street and bridge projects was approved by the council in January.
The spot repair backlog for sidewalks is at the top of the priority list. There is a $6 million backlog and Schulte said he wants to devote $7.5 million to clear the backlog and targeted improvements in priority areas.
City staff will then start overlaying the backlog list and, with the Council’s approved priority criteria, set up the program that will coordinate the new sidewalks replacement system. The city also will forgive current assessments.
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 comes next fall to show what has happened over the summer.
Additionally, the performance management team will use the newest data visualization tools to create an interactive dashboard to allow residents to track overall progress of the infrastructure projects and to review the details of any project citywide or in their own neighborhoods.
The first bonds will be issued next spring, Schulte said. The first tax impact comes in November 2018.
Media inquiries should be directed to City Communications Director, Chris Hernandez, by email or by phone at 816-513-3474.