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The City Haller - March 2, 2012

Highlights from the Hall

Conversations on the 2012-2013 budget move forward. Observers note some of the public budget sessions have been spirited and garnered a lot of discussion, especially on cuts to public safety personnel.

The budget resolution was introduced at Thursday’s business session. It was referred the Finance, Ethics and Governance Committee, where it stays for the next two weeks and public comment is also heard. Department heads continue to update the council on the effect the budget has on their programs. The report garnering the most attention was presented by Fire Department Chief Smokey Dyer as he discussed plans and major concerns cut $7.6 million from his department’s budget. Read more here from The Kansas City Star.

Business Leaders Lend Support to Manager and Mayor on Budget Issues

As the mayor, city manager, and council continue tough and tedious budget deliberations, The Chamber’s Board of Directors decided Monday to lend its support on the major issues.

The Chamber supports a strong fiscal policy position for the city of KCMO and specifically supports the following in the proposed budget by the city manager and response from the mayor.
  1. Reform the city’s four pension systems as called for by the Mayor’s Pension Review Task Force.
  2. Reduce the fire department budget by six percent.
  3. Add the Kansas City Police Department to the city’s health insurance plan.
  4. Support continued conversation on the mayor’s enhanced capital restoration program.
The board’s decision followed the review and recommendation of key business leaders participating in The Chamber’s Kansas City Missouri Business Leadership Council. The Chamber applauds the mayor, city manager, and council for their hard work on this budget.

Chambers Converge on Jefferson City

Chamber Chair E. Frank Ellis and Chamber staff Kristi Wyatt and Chelsey Smith joined Chamber leaders from Springfield, St. Louis, and the Missouri Chamber Wednesday in Jefferson City to lobby for important business related issues. The group met with key staff members in Governor Jay Nixon’s office including Chief of Staff John Watson and Policy Director Jeff Harris, Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer, and Assistant Majority Floor Leader and Speaker Elect Tim Jones.

Topics of discussion were the tax credit stalemate in the Senate; the fate of MOSIRA (Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment act) after last week’s repeal; making the initiative petition process more transparent; worker’s compensation, and tort and employment law reform.

Greater KC Chamber representatives were encouraged when they found out Kansas Senate President Pro Tem Steve Morris had visited the capitol and discussed businesses jumping the Kansas/Missouri border and incentives. The Chamber continues to encourage further discussion between the two states leaders.

Leaders Focus Efforts on Urban Neighborhoods

Two announcements this week focused on efforts to make improvements to Kansas City’s urban neighborhoods.

First, civic and community leaders, including Terry Dunn and Dianne Cleaver, and Greater KC Chamber leaders announced the first area of focus for the Urban Neighborhood Initiative will be the Troost Corridor. See the boundaries, get more info, and find out how to get involved here.

Also, the city announced Tuesday a donation from Bank of America of 75 houses, many of which would be located on the city’s east side, and up to $875,000 to rehabilitate or demolish those structures. Read more from the city and Mike Hendricks of the Kansas City Star.

The Buzz
  • A stellar panel today at The Chamber’s Missouri State Affairs Committee luncheon—House Minority Leader Mike Talboy (D-Kansas City) served as moderated fired questions lobby core experts Bill Gamble, Nancy Giddens and Mark Rhoads. House Budget Chairman Ryan Silvey (R-Kansas City) and Representative Noel Torpey (R-Independence) also provided their thoughts. Discussion centered on legislation affecting Kansas City such as economic development, what will happen with Kansas City Public Schools, changes in the initiative petition process, and redistricting.

  • Kansas City Star columnist Yael Abouhalkah comments and outlines three big challenges facing Mayor Sly James. They include critics on the downtown streetcar project, the fire chief and fire union, and KC taxpayers. Read the Kansas City Star article here.

  • The Kansas City Business Journal reports Helix Architecture, currently located at 16th and Walnut, is contemplating a move across the state line.

  • A bill removing the two-year window for the state to take over the Kansas City Public Schools has passed the House. Read more from Michael Mahoney.

  • Kudos to all the council aides and their hard work! All council aides deserve and huge thank you from City Hallers. Mayor Pro Tem Cindy Circo’s aide Gina Boucher received a resolution in appreciation for her work Thursday at Council legislative session. She is taking a position at Rockhurst University.

  • The KC Business Journal reports on Federal Reserve and an improving economic outlook for KC region.

  • Mark your calendar for Tuesday, March 27 for the next KCMO Committee luncheon. Planned is a discussion on how the city is preparing for the MLB All-Star Game. E-mail for details.

  • Please find this week’s current docket in the left margin of this page under Mayor and City Council.

The City Haller is a publication of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce

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